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November 13th, 2015

Daniel Mayrit Wins $10K First PhotoBook Award from Aperture, Paris Photo

© Riot Books

You Haven’t Seen Their Faces by Daniel Mayrit, © Riot Books

Daniel Mayrit has won the First PhotoBook Award and a $10,000 prize at the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. The award, which is given for an outstanding monograph, was announced today at a ceremony at the Paris Photo festival. Mayrit’s book, You Haven’t Seen Their Faces (published by Riot Books) features photos of “the most powerful people in London” that have been rendered in grainy black and white by the artist to imitate closed-circuit TV footage this is used by police during criminal investigations.

The prize for PhotoBook of the Year was awarded to Illustrated People by Thomas Mailaender (published by the Archive of Modern Conflict/RVB Books). Maileander laid negatives, pulled from the Archive, over the bodies of his models, then projected a UV lamp onto them: “Maileander then photographed each of his models before the sun made the image disappear,” according to the publisher’s description of the book.

A special Juror’s mention was awarded to Deadline by Will Steacey, a tabloid-sized, newsprint publication which chronicles the decline of The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence won Photography Catalogue of the Year; it was published in connection with an exhibition at Le Bal in Paris of photos and video used as crime evidence.

The winners and all the shortlisted photo books are currently on display in Paris. The jurors who selected this year’s winners were: Frish Brandt, president of Fraenkel Gallery; Christophe Boutin, cofounder of onestar press; Clément Chéroux, curator of photography at Centre Pompidou; Donatien Grau, author and editor; and Lorenzo Piani, curator of the Enea Righi Collection, Bologna.

The shortlist was selected by Yannick Bouillis, founder, Offprint Projects; Julien Frydman of the LUMA Foundation; Lesley A. Martin, creative director of Aperture; Mutsuko Ota, editor-in-chief, IMA and Christoph Wiesner, artistic director of Paris Photo.

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October 24th, 2015

PhotoPlus Expo 2015: Photo Book Editors on How to Publish Your Photo Book

There may not be much money in photo book publishing, but is money a photographer’s only reason to publish a book? As Aperture book program publisher Lesley Martin said, “Books have become an integral part of photographic practice.” So for the legions of  photographers driven to publish a photo book despite the costs, a panel of experts gathered at PhotoPlus Expo to explain the how-to. Besides Martin, panelists included Abrams publisher Michael Sand, veteran book editor and agent Robert Morton, and photographer Lauren Henkin. PDN Editor Holly Stuart Hughes moderated the discussion.

The panelists discussed how to conceptualize a book project, how to pitch it to publishers, how to raise funds for publication, and how to market your book once it is published.

As veteran book editor and agent Robert Morton explained, technology has dramatically changed the photo book business. On the one hand, it’s easier than ever for photographers to create a book themselves thanks to online, on-demand publishing. On the other hand, photo books are much harder to sell because independent bookstores have closed by the hundreds, so potential buyers of photo books have no good way to browse. “Amazon doesn’t show you what’s inside the book,” he said.

The editors on the panel strongly advised against publishing albums of personal work. “Your material has to have a subject,” Morton said. “If it’s purely personal work, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with a subject. Fine art books that are purely and simply a photographer’s vision of the world are almost impossible to sell, [and were] even in the days when there were 4,000 bookstores.”

Hughes directed the audience to the Princeton Architectural Press submission guidelines for authors interested in pitching book ideas. Its questionnaire requires authors to figure out who the primary and secondary audiences are for their proposed book, to research comparable titles to the books they are proposing and answer other tough questions. The questionnaire had been recommended by Mary Virginia Swanson, co-author of Publish Your Photography Book.

“It gets to the heart of [the question]: Why does the world need your book?” Quoting Swanson, Hughes said, “If you can answer the questions, you can [pitch your book project] to any editor.”

Sand ran through his list of “14 thoughts on placing your book with a commercial publisher.” The list underscored the difficulty of getting a commercial trade publisher to publish and market photo book. Some of the items on Sand’s how-to list included:

1. Be famous. (Sand pointed to Drew Barrymore’s books of snapshots titled Find It in Everything)
2. Be famous and dead (e.g., Ansel Adams)
3. Be famous, live a complicated life, and write about it. (e.g., Sally Mann)
5. Get in a helicopter for a fresh perspective (e.g., George Steinmetz)
6. Associate with interesting people (e.g., Todd Selby, creator of The Selby)
9. Animals make good subjects
10. Consider food [cookbooks]

Martin explained that the two critical issues for publishers and self-publishers alike are how to pay for the production, printing, and distribution of a book, and how to find potential buyers in order to sell the book. A non-profit publisher, Aperture has traditionally raised funds through grants and print sales, but has recently worked with photographers by running Kickstarter crowd-funding campaigns —a strategy that not only raises money, but also helps to pre-sell copies of a book. For instance, a Kickstarter campaign for Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers book raised $80,000 in pre-publication book sales. Another Kickstarter campaign for Robin Schwartz’s Amelia & the Animals raised about $30,000.

Martin advised the audience that “the photo book community is a self-organized, highly networked, international community. So be part of it.” For instance, web sites such as offer resources and ideas for marketing a photo book–at festivals, book fairs, meet up, and through photo blogs. She also referred the audience to The Photobook Review, a free, twice-a-year publication from Aperture about book publishing. And Martin noted that “one of the myths of self-publishing is that have to do [everything] yourself. You don’t.” She added that the most successful books are the result of a collaborative effort.

And that has been the experience of Henkin, who has self-published several successful fine art books since 2010.

Having studied architecture, Henkin is as much concerned with materiality and scale of the books as she is with the content. Her books, which she has produced in editions of a few hundred,  are collectible as objects, as she discovered when she set about figuring out who might be interested in buying her first book. She found interest among a community of special collections librarians, who led her to private rare book dealers and collectors.

“I banged on a lot of doors to build that audience,” she said.

Her third (and most recent) book, Still Standing, Standing Still, is a sculptural object. It contains just 14 images of a single tree, place in a wooden box. The images are mounted on a stiff backing, and bound so they can be displayed radially on top of the box. Viewers can then walk around and view the images as if they’re walking around the tree Henkin photographed.

Henkin made 300 copies of the book, and priced it at $500. It sold out in a day.

by David Walker

You’ve Published Your Photo Book. Now How Do You Market It?
How to Pitch Your Photo Book to Publishers
Leveraging an Online Audience to Atrract Book Publishers
Lauren Henkin: How (and Why) to Hand-Make Your Photo Book

July 10th, 2015

JH Engström, Wiktoria Wojciechowska Win 2015 Leica Oskar Barnack Awards

© JH Engstrom

© JH Engstrom

Swedish photographer JH Engström has been awarded the Leica Oskar Barnack 2015 Award, which comes with a 25,000 Euro prize, for “Tout Va Bien,” a project consisting of landscapes, portraits and diaristic snapshots. Engström’s award, announced this week at the Rencontres D’Arles in France, also includes a Leica M camera and lens.

Wiktoria Wojciechowska, who is Polish, has been named the winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. She will receive 5,000 Euros and a Leica M camera and lens. Her winning project, “Short Flashes,” consists of street photos she made while living in China in 2013 and 2014.

The festival Rencontres D’Arles continues through this weekend and includes the announcement of several other awards.

The LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award, supporting the production of proposed photo book, was announced July 7. Yann Gross will receive 25,000 Euros towards the publication of his book titled The Jungle Book.

Yesterday photographer Tommaso Tannini’s book H. Said He Loved Us (published by Discipula) was named the winner of the Author Book Award, which comes with an 8,000 Euro prize. The juried award honors an outstanding contemporary photography book. Honorable mentions were given to Miguel Angel Toneron for his book The Random Series (published by Dalpine) and to Dima Gavrysh for his book Inshallah (published by Kehrer Verlag).

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June 15th, 2015

LOOK3 2015: David Alan Harvey’s Reunion with a Long-Lost Subject (and Other Surprises)

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey greets Lois Liggins on stage at the the 2015 LOOK3 festival, in front of a portrait of Liggins that Harvey shot in 1966. ©Jessica Earnshaw

David Alan Harvey’s artist talk on the main stage at LOOK3 in Charlottesville on Saturday included several surprises: a peek at some of Harvey’s precocious early work, images from his latest project (called Beach Games, an exploration in black and white of beach sports culture in Rio), his insistence (against much evidence to the contrary) that he doesn’t consider himself a color photographer or an extrovert–and a heartwarming guest appearance by a long-lost subject from a project he shot when he was 22. (more…)

May 21st, 2015

Winner of Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015 Has Best Title We’ve Seen This Year

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold's award-winning book.

The cover of Ciarán Óg Arnold’s award-winning book.

Irish photographer Ciarán Óg Arnold‘s book, I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again, has been named winner of the Kraszna-Krausz First Book Award 2015. The award is presented by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation in partnership with MACK Books.

It was one of three prizes awarded at a ceremony on Tuesday by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation. The prizes celebrate books which have made “original and lasting educational, professional, historical and cultural contributions to the field.”

Also awarded Kraszna-Krausz prizes were Amore e piombo: The Photography of Extremes in 1970s Italy (published by Archive of Modern Conflict), a reappraisal of reportage from Italy in the period associated with paparazzi documenting La Dolce Vita. A 10,000 pound award accompanies the prize. The book was chosen by jurors from among a short list that included The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip (published by Aperture) and Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful (published by Yale University Press).

The judges for the 2015 prizes were publisher Michael Mack, Polly Fleury of the Wilson Centre for Photography and the National Media Museum’s Greg Hobson, along with guest judges Simon Baker, photography curator of the Tate Museum, and Lucy Kumara Moore of Claire de Rouen Books.

The winners and finalists for the Kraszna-Krausz books are being exhibited at the Media Space at the Science Museum in London through June 28.

March 13th, 2015

Blake Little’s Preservation: Dipped in Honey

© Blake Little

© Blake Little

Photographer and artist Blake Little’s new project, Preservation, kicked off a run at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles (March 7 – April 18) with a book also available now. The behind-the-scenes video on YouTube (NSFW) drew over 2 million views in a little over a month and a deluge of comments (690 as this was published), including persistent criticism about the use of honey and a dog as a subject. We reached out to Little via email for his thoughts on the project and the reaction it sparked online. (more…)

February 18th, 2015

Gerd Ludwig Wins POYi’s Best Photo Book of the Year Award

Gerd Ludwig has won the 2015 POYi Best Photo Book of the Year honors for The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, his book about the lingering environmental, social, and economic consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The award, part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition, was announced on the POYi web site.

Ludwig’s book stands out as a case study in the challenges of photo book publishing. Not only did he pursue the project at great personal risk, as he explained in this PDN video interview last year, but he struggled to find support. He undertook two separate Kickstarter campaigns to fund his travel to Chernobyl, as well as the printing and distribution of the book.

Gerd Ludwig: The Long Shadow of Chernobyl from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

The project dates back to 1993, when Ludwig first visited Chernobyl while working on a story for National Geographic. “From that point on, I always wanted to return,” because he didn’t get as much access as he had hoped for, he told PDN last year.

He  returned in 2005, after Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution enabled him to gain better access. He planned to return again in 2011, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the disaster. “The general media was not interested,” he said, so he collected funds for the 2011 trip through a Kickstarter campaign.

Ludwig left for Chernobyl while his Kickstarter campaign was still underway, and while he was there, the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in Japan. That stimulated more contributions to Ludwig’s Kickstarter campaign–a total of $23,316, which was almost twice his goal of $12,000. After his return, he used the extra money to publish an iPad app titled The Long Shadow of Chernobyl.

With plans to produce a printed book in time for the 30th anniversary of the disaster, in 2016, Ludwig made another trip to Chernobyl in 2013 on an $8,200 grant from Kulturwerk der VG Bild/Kunst, a German artists’ rights organization.

Meanwhile, publisher Lois Lammerhuber of Lammerhuber Editions (Austria) had approached him at the Lumix Festival of Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany. “He said, ‘I want to do your book,’but then the  distributor said to him, ‘Bad news doesn’t sell and Chernobyl is bad news,'” Ludwig recounted.

So he and Lammerhuber turned to Kickstarter once again in the spring of 2014, and managed to raise $45,571–well over twice his goal of $20,000–in pre-order book sales.

In a telephone interview today, Ludwig emphasized that the total funding he raised on Kickstarter “sounds like a high number” but only covered his expenses for the production and printing, and helped promote the project “It’s not a money maker,” Ludwig says. “If I count all my time, I definitely didn’t make money on this project. It’s a labor of love and an important piece of history that should be told. It’s a warning, a document to human hubris.”

Ludwig says he is continuing work on the project, and most recently had a story published in National Geographic about tourism inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. “There are constant surprises” at Chernobyl, he says, and it stands as an archetype of nuclear disaster. “From Chernobyl, you can see what’s going to happen to these other areas” like Fukushima, he says.

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors

January 14th, 2015

Nadia Sablin Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

"Two-handed Saw." © Nadia Sablin

“Two-handed Saw.” © Nadia Sablin

Nadia Sablin has won the 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for her series on her aunts who live in northwest Russia. The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, which administers the prize with The Honickman Foundation, announced the award today. Sablin’s book will be published in November 2015 by CDS Books and Duke University Press.

The prize, which is awarded every two years, supports North American photographers who have never published a book-length work. Past winners have included Gerald H. Gaskin, Benjamin Lowy and Danny Wilcox Frazier.

Sablin, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, has been making color photographs documenting the lives of her aunts, Alevtina and Ludmila, for more than six years. Sablin says in her description of the project that  the women, who are in their seventies, “carry on the traditional Russian way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes and making their own clothes.”

Sandra S. Philips, curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Photography, was the judge for this year’s prize. Joshua Chuang, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, chaired the selection committee that chose the finalists for the prize. The finalists are: Victor Blue, Scott Dalton, Cate Dingley, Hannah Kozak, Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman, Joseph Michael Lopez, Diana Markosian, Jeanine Michna-Bales, Chrystie Sherman, Jeffrey Stockbridge and Donna Wan. Their images will be featured on the first Book Prize blog this year.

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November 14th, 2014

New Book Explores the Rich and Wacky History of Toy and Novelty Cameras


The Charlie Tuna camera,  manufactured in 1971.

The Charlie Tuna camera, manufactured in 1971, could be had for three StarKist tuna labels and $4.95. Photo by J.K. Putnam.

Early in his career, renowned fine-art photographer Stephen Shore made a project using a Mick-a-Matic, a snapshot camera shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse. True story.

It’s funny to imagine one of America’s foremost photographers out in the world making art with a Mickey Mouse head hanging from his neck. But many artists have used toy and novelty cameras. For Shore, the Mick-a-Matic allowed him to explore snapshot photography as a concept and phenomenon at a time when photography as an art form was formal and almost exclusively shot in black-and-white.

Other artists are drawn to the unpredictability of toy and plastic cameras. Photographers “love these toys, they love the authenticity of the unexpected,” says Buzz Poole, co-author of Camera Crazy, a new book that recalls the history of mass-market cameras, from the Eastman Kodak Brownie Camera, released in 1900, up through present day toy cameras. The book is a delightful look at the fascinating and, at times, ridiculous forms cameras have taken. In addition to popular and well-known cameras from Diana, Holga and Lomography, there is a Fred Flintstone camera, soda and beer can cameras, a Charlie the Tuna camera, a Looney Tunes camera that talks, and a spy camera shaped like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package. “That is just a weird product,” Poole laughs. “[The manual] tells you how to trick people into stopping so you can get a clear picture of them without them knowing.” (more…)

November 14th, 2014

Nicoló Degiorgis Wins $10k Paris Photo-Aperture First PhotoBook Award

Nicoló Degiorgis received the First PhotoBook prize from the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, the Aperture Foundation announced today. The award, which is given for an outstanding first monograph, comes with a $10,000 prize. Degiorgis’s first book, Hidden Islam (Rorhof, 2014), depicts semi-permanent and makeshift Muslim places of worship in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The book is made entirely of gatefold pages. Black and white depictions of unassuming buildings like garages, shops and warehouses open to reveal color images of the interiors of these places of worship.

In other prize categories, Christopher Williams won Photography Catalogue of the Year honors for his exhibition catalogues Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness and Christopher Williams: Printed in Germany (Art Institute of Chicago, 2014).

PhotoBook of the Year went to Oliver Sieber for his book Imaginary Club (Editions GwinZegal and BöhnKobayashi, 2014), an assemblage of years of work depicting the places and people that define various music subcultures.

Vytautas V. Stanionis received a special mention for his book Photographs for Documents (Kaunas Photography Gallery). To create the book, Stanionis printed photographs from negatives his father shot as passport photos for residents in a small Lithuanian town who were applying for Soviet passports.

Judges for the awards were Alkazi Foundation for the Arts curator Rahaab Allana; MoMA chief photography curator Quentin Bajac; designer and director Cléo Charuet; curator Sebastian Hau; and gallerist and publisher Pierre Hourquet.

Via Aperture.