Today Photolucida, the non-profit photo organization, announced that Mila Teshaieva won the 2012 Critical Mass Book Award for her documentary series “Promising Waters,” which explores the present-day identity of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, three countries located along the Caspian Sea. Her project will be published as a photo book by Photolucida and German publisher Kehrer Verlag.
The Berlin-based photographer notes on her website that the countries she has photographed “have emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union with immense oil and gas reserves and the enormous challenge of defining themselves as independent nations.”
The winners of the two Critical Mass Solo Show awards were announced as well. Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon, will exhibit Tamas Dezso’s “Here, Anywhere.” This series also focuses on a former Eastern Bloc country, though the subject matter is the photographer’s native Hungary. The second Solo Show was awarded to Heidi Kirkpatrick of Portland, Oregon. Her work turns photography into sculpture and will be exhibited at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Each year Photolucida holds the Critical Mass competition, which permits photographers of all levels to submit a ten-image portfolio for consideration. A committee of approximately 20 jurors selects 200 finalists from all of the submissions, which are then voted on by over 200 members of the photo community. Past Critical Mass Book Award winners have included Jeff Rich, Birthe Pointek, Alejandro Cartagena, Donald Weber, Amy Stein, Peter van Agtmael and Louie Palu.