From left to right: The Banda Journal by Muhammad Fadli; What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843–1999; and Untitled by Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Paris Photo and Aperture Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. From the thirty-five shortlisted, a final jury in Paris selected this year’s winners. The jury included Aurélien Arbet, founder and creative director, Études; Daniel Blaufuks, visual artist; Taous R. Dahmani, art historian and author; Fannie Escoulen, head of the photographic department, Ministry of Culture, France; and Tatyana Franck; director, Photo Elysée.

Final juror Taous R. Dahmani commented that the jury chose “books with strong narratives that were able to find the right forms for the stories they were telling; up-and-coming image makers surprising us with transatlantic stories, highlighting the things we have all been missing over these last few difficult years—families and communities, parties, traveling, and being able to connect with each other. Importantly, the selected winners present strong individual investigations and artists whose stories have been untold, using the book form to disseminate those voices more widely.” 

All shortlisted and winning titles are profiled inThe PhotoBook Review, a newsprint publication that accompanies the Winter 2021 issue of Aperture magazine. As well, an exhibition of the thirty-five books shortlisted for the 2021 PhotoBook Awards is currently on view at Paris Photo and will travel to Printed Matter in New York City, January 20–February 27, 2022.

Below, read more about this year’s winning titles.

Winner of Photography Catalogue of the Year

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

The winner of the Photography Catalogue of the Year, What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843–1999 by Russet Lederman and Olga Yatskevich, features a selection of 250 photobooks, including traditional publications (from landmark titles to largely unknown works), as well as items not generally considered “books”—portfolios, personal albums, scrapbooks, and zines. Final juror Fannie Escoulen commented that this project is important to recognize for its “extensive, original research and the contributions it makes to the history of photography,” noting that the photobook is historically grounded in the production of a female photographer, Anna Atkins. “In What They Saw, the design, the research and discoveries come together to make a great book,” Escoulen concluded. 

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

Winner of PhotoBook of the Year

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

The winner of the PhotoBook of the Year Award, The Banda Journal, by photographer Muhammad Fadli and writer and folklore enthusiast Fatris MF, presents the little-known story of the Indonesian Banda Islands, a tiny archipelago that has served an outsize role in global trade and the modern economy. Through incisive and engaging storytelling, the book connects a seemingly distant and brutal past with its contemporary consequences on the islands today.Final juror Daniel Blaufuks noted that, “The Banda Journal is very well-designed; very engaging—a book in which text and image are expertly intertwined, inviting return viewing and reading—and that offers us new perspectives from a region we don’t often have the opportunity to hear from artistically.”

Muhammad Fadli from The Banda Journal
Courtesy the artist

Winner of First PhotoBook

Sasha Phyars-Burgess
Capricious Publishing, New York

The winner of the First PhotoBook Award, Untitled by Sasha Phyars-Burgess, was selected by the jury as a prime example of the fresh perspective mentioned by Dahmani. As a first-generation American born to Trinidadian parents, Phyars-Burgess explores her heritage and its complicated history through photography. Her images are by turns gentle and meditative, expressive and energetically vibrant. Shortlist juror Darius Himes noted that this book “takes a position, states an opinion, and doesn’t pull any punches.” 

Sasha Phyars-Burgess, from Untitled
Courtesy the artist and Capricious Publishing

Juror’s Special Mention

Vasantha Yogananthan
Chose Commune, Marseille, France

The final jury also chose to award a Jurors’ Special Mention to Amma by Vasantha Yogananthan, the final volume of A Myth of Two Souls, a seven-book series the artist started in 2016. In the series, Yogananthan intervenes and reinterprets the Ramayana, creating his own modern retelling of this classic Hindu epic tale. Final juror Tatyana Franck highlighted the overall project as “a very persuasive, visionary, and committed journey by the artist; one which employed a wide range of materials, formats, and approaches to storytelling over the life of the book series”—all of which is clearly manifest in this latest offering, Amma

Vasantha Yogananthan, The Fishermen, Danushkodi, Tamil Nadu, India, 2013, from Amma
Courtesy the artist

Vasantha Yogananthan, Sea Of Trees, Valmiki Nagar, Bihar, India, 2014, from Amma

The 2021 Paris Photo—Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist Exhibition opens on January 20, 2022 at Printed Matter, New York.