08/22/2012 01:01 EDT | Updated 10/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto, Montreal photographers compete for $50K prize

Two British photographers will compete against finalists from Toronto and Montreal for this year’s Grange Prize, the $50,000 photography award created by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

A jury of British and Canadian photography experts selected the shortlist, announced Wednesday.

The nominees are:

- Jason Evans of Holyhead, Wales, who created the online project The Daily Nice.

- Emmanuelle Léonard of Montreal, whose photos include a series on citizen protests.

- Jo Longhurst of Essex, U.K., who has photographed elite gymnasts and show dogs.

- Annie MacDonell of Toronto, a conceptual artist who works in video, sculpture and sound as well as photography.

The four finalists have radically different approaches to their work.

MacDonell, an instructor at Ryerson University, believes images are exhausted in the 21st century and stages objects to encourage viewers to examine how they look at photographs.

Léonard says there is always a “political aspect” to photography and likes to explore the relationships between pictures and the justice system.

Evans has been a fashion and record cover photographer and uses saturated colour in images that put unusual subjects on a pedestal.

Longhurst first gained international renown for her images of whippets and her more recent photos strive to capture physical perfection in the human form.

A jury nominates two photographers from a different partner country each year to compete against two Canadians for the prize. Canada House in London will host an exhibition of the photographers’ work in September.

The public chooses the winner of the Grange Prize, with voting online or at an exhibit of the artists’ work at the AGO. The winner will be announced Nov. 1.