The 17th Deutsche Börse Photography Prize exhibition returns this year with a resounding bang. Featuring a range of work by four finalists, the 2013 show is sharp, at times even acerbic in its critique of both current affairs and subjugated historical narratives. Mishka Henner, Chris Killip, Cristina de Middel and duo Broomberg & Chanarin offer us a range of perspectives that veer between the mischievous and the somber: we are treated to their take on issues ranging from sex workers in Central American and Mediterranean countries to a satirical, semi-fictional documentation of Zambia’s attempt to send the first Africans to the moon.

Henner’s series No Man’s Land is derived entirely from Google Street View – he tracks down the addresses of prostitutes as they are shared on website forums, and presents the images taken by Google of these unsuspecting women as they stand forlornly underneath highways and by the roadside. What results is a troubling array of vignettes highlighting the pervasive and dehumanising dominion of Internet surveillance. On the other hand, Killip’s What Happened – Great Britain is gently lyrical in its documentation of the UK’s difficult transition from industrialisation to post-Fordism, showing us communities that were devastated but resilient. 

Afronauts by Cristina de Middel mixes myth and reality, presenting her almost folkloric representations of Zambia’s space programme alongside technical sketches and fashion illustrations. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin come together to produce War Primer, a publication that superimposes photographs of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” on press images assembled by Bertolt Brecht during WWII. The inclusion of Brecht’s poetry lends the duo’s work a poignant sensitivity.

The winner of the £30,000 Prize will be announced on Monday 10 June. The exhibition runs until 30 June. 

The Photographers’ Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW 

All images courtesy of the artists and the gallery.