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Sarah Anne Johnson of Winnipeg, shown with small dolls that feature in many of her photographs, is a finalist for the inaugural Grange Prize. (CBC)

Montreal's Raymonde April and Winnipeg's Sarah Anne Johnson have been named as finalists for the Grange Prize in photography, a new $50,000 award.

Five finalists for the award were announced Thursday, selected from across Canada and a different international region each year. This year the other entrants are from China.

They are Miao Xiaochun and Liu Zheng, both of Beijing, and Huang Yan of Changchun.

The winner of the award, named for the Grange, the historic home on the grounds of the Art Gallery of Ontario, is determined by online voting.

The public can see the artists' work on a website and vote any time between Feb. 25 and April 3.

April, 54, was born in New Brunswick and now works in Montreal where she has taught photography at Concordia University since 1985.

Known for her minimalist style, she has had solo and group exhibits across Canada and internationally, including Gravitas at Galerie Donald Browne in Montreal in 2007.

Johnson is a graduate of University of Manitoba and Yale School of Fine Art. Her Tree Planting Project, shot during her time as a tree planter in northern Manitoba, was exhibited in Toronto and Winnipeg last year.

In 2005, she sold 64 photographs to the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Miao is a teacher of photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Liu is a former photojournalist with the Workers' Daily and Huang is a painter, sculptor and performance artist as well as a photographer.

Nominees for the prize were selected by AGO curators and Aeroplan representatives.

The winner will be announced April 24.