Announcing the Winners of the 2015 PhotoBook Awards

Take a look inside the winning titles of the 2015 edition of the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards

Paris Photo and Aperture Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 edition of the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, celebrating the book’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography.

Winner of First PhotoBook ($10,000 prize)

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Daniel Mayrit
You Haven’t Seen Their Faces
RIOT BOOKS • Madrid, 2015
Designed by Verónica Fieiras and Daniel Mayrit

Daniel Mayrit plays with the semiotics of law enforcement in You Haven’t Seen Their Faces. Full-bleed close-ups of the declared “100 most powerful people in the city of London” are printed in the style of grainy CCTV footage, with condemning information against them scrawled on every image. The book is a response to police fliers handed out after the 2011 riots in London, when surveillance images of alleged rioters’ faces were publicly distributed in a presumption of guilt. Mayrit flips this visual language on those believed responsible for events that are arguably far more damaging: the recent economic crises that have wracked Europe. Yannick Bouillis calls the design “streetwise”; held together by screws at the top, the images are printed on lightweight brown pages akin to butcher paper, and fastened to stiff cardboard. A map of the suspects’ headquarters is tucked into the back.


Winner of Photography Catalogue of the Year

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Diane Dufour and Xavier Barral
Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence
LE BAL and Éditions Xavier Barral • Paris, 2015
Designed by Coline Aguettaz and Xavier Barral

In this meticulously designed catalogue, photography itself is put on the witness stand. Published to accompany an exhibition of the same name that originated at LE BAL, Paris, Images of Conviction is a fascinating historical survey of the ways photography has shaped official versions of truth—from the Shroud of Turin to crime-scene photography of the freshly dead, to video evidence of drone strikes. The design is sedate but never boring, alternating between pale gray and clean white paper. The images are all reproduced in black and white, with a chilling negative image printed on the cover. “Everything is made so that the catalogue stays neutral, but not cold,” says Julien Frydman, who also praises the diverse, well-edited texts. The volume offers a variety of answers to the question posed by editor Diane Dufour in her introduction—“How does the image take shape in truth-seeking scientific and historical discourse?”—without losing its sense of mystery.


Winner of PhotoBook of the Year

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Thomas Mailaender
Illustrated People
Archive of Modern Conflict and RVB Books • Paris, 2014
Designed by Thomas Mailaender and Rémi Faucheux

When artist Thomas Mailaender was given access to the Archive of Modern Conflict’s photo archives, he decided to “print” some of the negatives he found onto a whole new medium: the human body. Using a UV lamp, Mailaender projected these negatives onto models’ pale skin, leaving sunburnt imprints of the images. Full-color documentation of this performance alternates with archival images in Illustrated People, a playful softcover book encased in a translucent red plastic jacket. While the archival images have a faded appearance, printed in black-and-white on plain matte paper, the “sunburn” pages are bright and glossy. “What’s interesting to me is the relationship between the immaterial archive and the living bodies,” says Yannick Bouillis. “He made something that goes beyond just the selection of images—he’s putting pure culture onto something natural, the body.”


Special Jurors’ Mention

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Will Steacy
b.frank books • Philadelphia, 2015
Designed by Will Steacy

Will Steacy’s Deadline is a newspaper about a newspaper: the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he spent five years photographing the newsroom, employees, and printing plant. Thanks to the Internet, most newspaper staffs are a fraction of what they once were. The Inquirer is no exception, and Deadline chronicles its history—with texts by current and former staff, and archival photographs alongside Steacy’s own—through to its very uncertain future; the final pages see the formerly prominent newspaper moved into a much smaller office. For Steacy, who comes from a family of newspapermen, this story is personal—his father was an editor at the Inquirer for nearly thirty years, till he was laid off while Steacy was working on this project. The materials, design, and printing quality of his son’s contribution are all in line with family tradition (it was even printed at the Inquirer’s own press), but the focus has been turned inward. As Christoph Wiesner comments, “it serves both as a history of the journalism sector and a work of subtexts, revealing a process of deconstruction or mise en abyme.” Deadline is less a case study than it is a eulogy.


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This year’s shortlist selection was made by Yannick Bouillis (founder, Offprint Projects), Julien Frydman (LUMA Foundation), Lesley A. Martin (creative director, Aperture), Mutsuko Ota (editor-in-chief, IMA), and Christoph Wiesner (artistic director, Paris Photo).

The shortlist was first announced at the NY Art Book Fair on September 18, 2015. All the shortlisted books are profiled in issue 009 of The PhotoBook Review, Aperture Foundation’s biannual publication dedicated to the consideration of the photobook. Copies will be available at Aperture Gallery and Bookstore, as well as through other distribution partners. Subscribers to Aperture magazine receive free copies of The PhotoBook Review with their summer and winter issues.

Shortlist Exhibition On View

Paris Photo: November 12–15, 2015

Aperture Gallery, New York: December 12, 2015–February 8, 2016

Huis Marseille, Amsterdam: December 2015–January 2016

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto: May 1–31, 2016

Self Publish Riga, Riga Photomonth, Latvia: May 12–June 3, 2016

15th International Festival of Photography in Łódź, Fotofestiwal 2016, Poland: June 9–19, 2016

Landskrona Foto Festival, Landskrona, Sweden: August 19–27, 2016