Montreal-based photographer Lynne Cohen, a celebrated artist known for her large-scale images of unpopulated interior spaces, has won the inaugural  Scotiabank Photography Award.

Cohen received the $50,000 prize, which celebrates established Canadian photographers, on Wednesday night at a ceremony in Toronto.

As part of her win, Cohen's work will be showcased in an exhibit at the 2012 edition of the CONTACT Photography Festival and be featured in a book by art photography publisher Steidl.


A detail of Spa, 2006, one of prize-winner Lynn Cohen's large-scale images. (Scotiabank Photography Prize)

The American-born Cohen, who immigrated to Canada in the 1970s and spent time living in Ottawa, is known for her images of domestic and institutional interiors. Her work has depicted living rooms and spas, laboratories and military installations, factories and retirement homes.

Though usually devoid of humans, her images can invoke many different themes and moods, such as etherealness, anxiety or whimsy. In her photos, ordinary spaces can take on an otherworldly quality.

"Lynne mines the cultural geography of our times," Jane Nokes, the award's executive director, said in a statement. She also hailed the artist's "commitment to her art, her global vision and her extraordinary oeuvre."

Cohen's work has been exhibited and is represented in collections around the globe. In 2005, she also won the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

The two other finalists, Toronto's Robin Collyer and Vancouver's Roy Arden, will receive $5,000 each.