The answer lies with John Ruskin himself, who considered the uses of photography to be distinctly limited. Whilst he embraced one early form of 'photography' -- the daguerreotype, which stored images on plates that could not be reproduced -- he was not keen on paper photography which could be endlessly reproduced from negatives. Ruskin valued the daguerreotype as a useful tool for capturing clear images of (often threatened) buildings whose fine architectural details he wanted to record. He sometimes used the images as a source for his own drawings, and encouraged other artists to do the same. Photography was in the early stages of its development when Ruskin was active, and he did not see it as an art form in itself. Although photographers would frame the image, they did not interpret it as an artist would, so the form satisfied the eye but not the hand, and the theme of this year's Prize is Hand AND Eye.

2. i'm not from the uk can i still apply?

Yes.  The John Ruskin Prize 2017 is open to artists, designers and makers, both amateur and professional, of all nationalities, aged 18 and over, resident, studying or currently making work or with work represented in the UK.