Announcing the 2021 PhotoBook Awards Shortlist

Celebrating the evolving narrative of the photobook, see the 35 shortlisted titles for this year’s Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards.

All photographs by Daniel Salemi

Initiated in 2012, the Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards celebrate the photobook’s contributions to the evolving narrative of photography. Each year, thirty-five selected books are shortlisted in three major categories: First PhotoBook, PhotoBook of the Year, and Photography Catalogue of the Year.

This year’s shortlist selection took place over the course of three days at Aperture’s offices in New York, and involved the review of more than eight hundred submissions. The jury for the shortlist included Emilie Boone (art historian), Sonel Breslav (director of fairs and editions, Printed Matter), Darius Himes (international head of photographs, Christie’s), Lesley A. Martin (creative director, Aperture), and Jody Quon (director of photography, New York Magazine).

“This year’s submissions faced more than eighteen months of unprecedented production challenges in scheduling and labor, access to material, and the uncertainty of another important element in bookmaking—the ability of artists, publishers, and their collaborators to come together,” observed Breslav. “It’s inspiring to witness the resilience of these artists, subjects, and communities. We’ve all had to learn to adapt in order to continue our work, finding new directions along the way.”

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact made itself known in more than one way, as Martin describes, through “the notable number of very strong, introspective projects that brought forth material grounded in the studio, as well as those drawn from archives and older bodies of work.” This year’s shortlist jury also selected three books as a Jurors’ Special Mention, acknowledging the prevalence of catalogues that responded to canceled shows or reduced audience access with publications that can also serve as DIY exhibitions.

A final jury will gather at Paris Photo this November to select the winners for all three categories. From there, the shortlisted and winning titles will be profiled in The PhotoBook Review (a newsprint publication that will accompany the Winter 2021 issue of Aperture magazine) and exhibited in Paris, New York, and tour internationally thereafter.

Below, see the thirty-five selected titles for the 2021 PhotoBook Awards shortlist.

First PhotoBook

Andrea Alessandrini
Piccola Russia
Witty Books, Turin, Italy

Indu Antony
Why can’t bras have buttons?
Mazhi Books (self-published), Bangalore, India

Archivo de la Memoria Trans Argentina and Verónica Fieiras, eds.
Archivo de la Memoria Trans Argentina
CHACO, Buenos Aires

Melba Arellano
Carretera Nacional
Los Sumergidos, Hudson, New York

Wiosna van Bon
Family Stranger
Eriskay Connection, Breda, Netherlands

Deanna Dikeman
Leaving and Waving
Chose Commune, Marseille, France

Jeano Edwards
Self-published, Brooklyn

Nancy Floyd
Weathering Time
GOST Books, London

Will Harris
You Can Call Me Nana
Overlapse, London

Jana Hartmann
Mastering the Elements
Eriskay Connection, Breda, Netherlands

Joe Johnson
Office Hours
There There Now, Columbia, Missouri

Tarrah Krajnak
El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan
Dais Books, Casper, Wyoming

Luke Le
What are you looking for?
Perimeter Editions, Melbourne, Australia

Kanta Nomura 
The Yoshida Dormitory Students’ History
Reminders Photography Stronghold, Tokyo

Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Capricious Publishing, New York

Pacifico Silano
I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine
Loose Joints, Marseille, France

Sebastian Stadler
A Close Up of a Large Rock, I Think
Kodoji Press, Baden, Switzerland

Al J Thompson
Remnants of an Exodus
Gnomic Book, Portland, Oregon

Eva Veldhoen

Self-published, Utrecht, Netherlands

Elliott Verdier
Reaching for Dawn
Dunes, Paris

PhotoBook of the Year

Farah Al Qasimi
Hello Future
Capricious Publishing, New York

Jessica Backhaus
Cut Outs
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany

Alejandro Cartagena
Suburban Bus
The Velvet Cell, Berlin

Bieke Depoorter

Des Palais (self-published), Ghent, Belgium

Isaac Diggs and Edward Hillel
Electronic Landscapes: Music, Space and Resistance in Detroit
+KGP, Queens, New York

Muhammad Fadli and Fatris MF
The Banda Journal
Jordan, jordan Édition, Jakarta, Indonesia

Rahim Fortune
I Can’t Stand to See You Cry
Loose Joints, Marseille, France

Lora Webb Nichols
Encampment, Wyoming
Fw:Books, Amsterdam

Gilles Peress
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing
Steidl, Göttingen, Germany

Vasantha Yogananthan

Chose Commune, Marseille, France

Photography Catalogue of the Year

André Kertész: Postcards from Paris
Elizabeth Siegel
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Bad Ass and Beauty—One Love
Mao Ishikawa
T&M Projects, Tokyo

Mirror with a Memory
Dan Leers and Taylor Fisch, eds.
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

The New Woman Behind the Camera
Andrea Nelson, ed.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843–1999
Russet Lederman and Olga Yatskevich, eds.
10×10 Photobooks, New York

Jurors’ Special Mention­: Catalogue as DIY Exhibition

Pass It On. Private Stories, Public Histories
Daria Tuminas, ed.
Fotodok, Utrecht, Netherlands, and Meteoro Editions, Amsterdam

Propositions for Alternative Narratives
Photoworks, ed.
Brighton, United Kingdom

Take It from Here
Zora J Murff and Rana Young, eds.
There There Now, Columbia, Missouri

The 2021 PhotoBook Award winners will be announced during Paris Photo on Friday, November 12, 2021.