Aesthetica Art Prize Call for Entries Countdown: 23 Days to Go

Laurence Harding is a French photographer who lives and works in Leigh-on-Sea, near London. Throughout her art practice, she not only explores and challenges the nature of the photographic portrait, but also investigates the material qualities of the analogue medium.

Harding was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize with Emilie, a portrait shot on slide film and part of her series House of Cards. The series reflects how the recent global financial crisis highlights the fragile foundations of our economy and personal ambition. Harding deals with the performance of social roles according to pre-packaged lifestyles, which regularly challenges individuality.

The project portrays young people in front of lifestyle billboards scattered around London. The images are reminiscent of Victorian portraiture, but the draperies, Greek columns and painted canvases have now been replaced by photographs of luxurious homes, projecting standardised ideals of a successful life. However, these screens, fixed upon temporary walls, are a metaphor of how it could all tumble in a second, like a house of cards.

Aesthetica Art Prize longlisted and shortlisted artists have gone on to achieve great success, including Jason deCaires Taylor, creator of the first underwater sculpture park in Grenada and recently the artist behind an environmental installation on the banks of the River Thames. Chilean-born photographer Carolina Redondo has since been selected for In Search of the Miraculous at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and French photographer Noémie Goudal has had solo shows at FOAM in Amsterdam and The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

To see more of Laurence Harding’s work, visit

To enter the Aesthetica Art Prize, visit

1. Laurence Harding, Emilie.