American photographer Christian Patterson has won the 2015-2016 Vevey International Photography Award.
The New York-based photographer received the Swiss grant of CHF 40,000 (around $42,000) to realize his project Gong Co, about a closed Chinese grocery store in the Mississippi Delta whose shelves remained stocked with decades-old products. "[The store] had become an unintentional museum, or something like a time capsule," Patterson tells TIME.
“I try to seek out a subject matter that has multiple layers to explore and leads me to ideas not only for photographs but for documents, objects and installations as well," he says. "When these various visual and physical threads are woven together, an 'other' world can be entered through the work, and that is what inspires and excites me right now."
The photographer will have a year to realize the project, which will be previewed at the next Festival Images in the fall of 2016 in Vevey, Switzerland, with an immersive storefront installation, including actual products and objects from the shuttered shop.
Born in Fond du Lac, Wis., the self-taught photographer is most known for his book Redheaded Peckerwood, published by MACK, which won the Rencontres d'Arles Author Book Award in 2012. He was also a 2013 Guggenheim fellow.
“[Since Redheaded Peckerwood], we have all been waiting to see what his next project is, and it’s really exciting that [Gong Co] is going to land here in Vevey,” says Kira Pollack, director of photography and visual enterprise at TIME, who sat on this year's jury.
Patterson was chosen from among 600 projects. “We saw an incredible range of work and a lot of different types of photography,” says Pollack.
The jury, chaired by American artist James Casebere, also included Julien Frydman, development director of the Luma Foundation in Arles, Marta Gili, director of Jeu de Paume gallery in Paris and Ramón Reverté, editor-in-chief of RM publishers in Mexico.