Douglas was declared winner Thursday at Toronto’s Ryerson Image Centre, coming ahead of two other finalists — Angela Grauerholz and Robert Walker, both of Montreal.
In addition to his cash prize, Douglas will have a collection of his work published internationally by art publisher Steidl and have a solo exhibition at the CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto in 2014.
Douglas is known for turning his lens on particular locations and events — including exploring B.C. events such as the Gastown riot of 1971 and a 1996 landslide at McBride Bay. He often examining issues such as race or poverty that seem to arise from his images. Douglas uses photography, film, storytelling and public spectacle, and soon plans to incorporate mobile apps in his work.
His influences include classic literary works by Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville, and Franz Kafka and his works appropriate existing Hollywood genres (including murder mysteries and the Western) to comment on technologies he considers obsolete, such as cinema.
"Stan Douglas has helped define and enrich the Canadian art and photography landscape with his outstanding artwork,” said Edward Burtynsky, chair of the jury and co-founder of the award.
“He has pushed the limits of contemporary photography and will continue to have an incredible impact on the world of photography both here in Canada and abroad. “
Douglas was selected from a group of three finalists by a jury of experts including curators William Ewing, Karen Love of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Ann Thomas of the National Gallery of Canada.
There have been two previous winners of the award — Lynne Cohen and the late Arnaud Maggs.