The winners of the 2016 – 17 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship Program were selected by a jury of three: Sandra Brewster, multi-disciplinary artist; Julie Crooks, the AGO’s Assistant Curator, Photography; and Sophie Hackett, the AGO’s Curator, Photography and lead juror of the 2017 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.

Said the jury of the winners’ work:

The calibre of the 15 national finalists was impressive. Of this group, Seamus, Curtiss, and Alessandro stood out for their strong grasp of the possibilities of the medium and their conceptual maturity: Seamus’ playfulness and material exploration, Curtiss’ richly developed sense of drama and performance and Alessandro’s evocative ability to capture the grit of the every day. We look forward to seeing more from these emerging artists in the years to come.
- Sandra Brewster, Julie Crooks and Sophie Hackett

The winners are:

Seamus Gallagher

Seamus Gallagher, Playhouse Series, 2017, Digital Photography

Seamus Gallagher, born 1995 in Moncton, New Brunswick, is a queer photographer and multimedia artist currently finishing their Bachelor of Fine Arts at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Their work explores themes of identity and performativity with a focus on self-portraiture. Through the use of constructing sets for each of their images, and focusing on the body language of the subject, Gallagher creates colourful photographic work in which they and the environment are given equal weight. Originally an English Literature major at McGill University, Gallagher often weaves text into their photographic work through the use of clothing, paper, and temporary tattoos. Gallagher’s work has been featured in exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, and across Canada.

(NSCAD University)

Curtiss Randolph

Curtiss Randolph, The Bathurst Theater, 2017, Gelatin Silver Print

Curtiss Randolph was born in Toronto in 1994. Currently, he is studying at Ryerson University pursuing a BFA in Photography. Curtiss constructs scenes as either tableau or staged documentary narratives and merges the plains of realism, surrealism, and gonzo journalism together. Having grown up in a theatre, the elements of stage production crept into his working process early on and helped set up a foundation for himself. Using the viewers’ preconceived notion of documentary style images to his advantage, Curtiss is able to question ideas of fact and fiction in the photographic medium. Semi-autobiographical storytelling has taken the lead role in Curtiss' work. Artist's such as Moya Garrison, Stan Douglas, Park Chan-wook, and Taiyō Matsumoto all offer inspiration for Curtiss' creative process.

(Ryerson University)

Alessandro M. Seccareccia

Alessandro M. Seccareccia, Untitled, 2016, Inkjet print from 35mm scan

Alessandro M. Seccareccia is a Canadian of Italian descent, born in 1992 in Gatineau, Quebec. He is completing a Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in photography at Concordia University, Montreal. Alessandro is a documentary photographer whose work is a visual/poetic response to his social surroundings. His work gravitates around the idea of socio-economic rejection by documenting some of the most remote parts of Canada as well as the world, including disparate communities in central Asia. His approach is noted for displaying moments of eeriness in society. Some of his work is permanently displayed at the Carleton University Library in Ottawa and has been part of several group exhibitions during the last few years in both Montreal and Ottawa.

(Concordia University)