March 27th, 2014

Amy Elkins Wins 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize

© Amy Elkins, "Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011," from "Black is the Day, Black is the Night."

© Amy Elkins, “Four Years Out of a Death Row Sentence (Ocean), 2011,” from “Black is the Day, Black is the Night.”

Photographer Amy Elkins has won the 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize for two bodies of work exploring capital punishment. The Aperture Foundation announced the prize today.

For her series “Parting Words,” Elkins utilized the text of the last words of executed prisoners to reconstruct their mug shots and portraits. “These briefest of statements resonate with the micro-narratives of entire lives, tragic crimes, and opportunities and potential squandered,” writes Aperture Books Publisher Lesley A. Martin in a statement announcing Elkins’ award.

To create her second series on capital punishment, “Black is the Day, Black is the Night,” Elkins corresponded with death-row inmates and created images based on those conversations. In her series she combines these images with photographs of the physical letters, and with portraits of the inmates which she obscures digitally according to the amount of time the inmate has been incarcerated. “As viewers, we are invited to puzzle over an assortment of clues, including reenactments, exhibits submitted for our considerations, partial evidence, and statements both leading and misleading,” Martin writes.

The prize, which was judged by members of the Aperture staff and the organization’s work scholars, includes a $3,000 award and an exhibition at Aperture Gallery.

Elkins was chosen from a shortlist that included Matt Eich, Davide Monteleone, Max Pinckers and Sadie Wechsler. More than 1000 photographers submitted portfolios, Aperture said in a statement.

Previous winners of the Portfolio Prize have included Michael Corridore (2008), Alexander Gronsky (2009), David Favrod (2010), Sarah Palmer (2011), and Bryan Schutmaat (2013).

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September 7th, 2011

Cover of French Edition of Franzen Novel Appears to Rip Off Photog’s Book

Coincidence? The covers of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom (left) and Sanna Kannisto's Fieldwork.

The cover of the French edition of Jonathan Franzen’s bestselling novel Freedom bears more than a passing resemblance to Sanna Kannisto’s photo book Fieldwork, which was published earlier this year by Aperture. The similarity led Aperture publisher Lesley A. Martin to accuse the French publisher, Editions de l’Olivier, of creating a “copycat cover” via Twitter.

Both covers feature photographs of flying birds against white backgrounds, and the covers are also laid out almost identically, with the titles and author names at the centers of the covers.

Somewhere in France a graphic designer has some explaining to do.