Aperture recently announced its 2010 Portfolio Prize. The winner is Swiss photographer David Favrod, whose photographs explore his mixed Swiss-Japanese identity. We are, however, more interested in the work of one of the four runners-up Julian Röder. Röder’s series, “Lagos Transformation,” is “… centered around a simple concept—the interchange of chaos and order. Röder’s cityscapes depict the complicated expansion of Nigeria’s largest and fastest-growing city.”

More from his artist statement:

Though the concept is simple, the resulting images show a complex relationship that is part landscape, part document. Paying close attention to color and scale, Röder summarizes multi-tiered landscapes into singular, factual photographs, offering viewers an intimate examination of a society that could not otherwise be experienced. Upon first glance, Röder’s photographs impart the appearance of order. There are hundreds of cars parked in neat rows, workers’ shanties mimicking a city grid, and new public buses, bright red and ready to depart. But look closer and chaos begins to emerge. Amongst the rows of new buses are haphazard piles of tires, electricity generators are scattered on roofs, and there are no roads for the hundreds of cars to drive on. We find a city bursting and ready for expansion, but with no place to go. And while infrastructure is overloaded, Röder’s work also reveals that Lagos is a city full of engineers. Everyone builds, tinkers, and welds, creating their own order out of chaos. In a complex culture, says Röder, “Chaos is not evil, it is simply the way things are.”

You can view the whole series of photographs at his website, here.

Further Reading

Our turn to eat

Reflections on Malawi’s recent election rerun, false starts and the hope that public representatives in Africa become accountable to their electorates’ aspirations.

The culture wars are a distraction

When our political parties only have recourse to the realm of identity and culture, it is a smokescreen for their lack of political legitimacy and programmatic content. It is cynically unpolitical, and it’s all bullshit.