The jury prize was announced Wednesday in Toronto.
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"For decades, Angela Grauerholz has been consistently building a body of work that evokes place, memory and archives, time past and present," said photographer Edward Burtynsky, co-founder of the award. "Many of her images feel as if they were plucked from a dream."
Grauerholz, who was born in Germany and has been based in Montreal since 1976, has been named a finalist in two of the five years the prize has been handed out. In 2013, she was a runner-up to Vancouver-based Stan Douglas.
This year, Chile-born, Toronto-based Rafael Goldchain and Montreal artist Isabelle Hayeur were also named 2015 finalists, and receive $10,000 each.
Next year, the Ryerson Image Centre will mount a solo exhibition of Grauerholz's photography in connection with the prize, and a book of her work will be published worldwide.
The National Gallery presented 40 of her images in a 2010 exhibition. Last year, Grauerholz won a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, valued at $25,000.