Announcing the Winners of the 2019 PhotoBook Awards
Paris Photo and Aperture Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 edition of the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, celebrating the photobook’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography. “At Paris Photo, the photobook is thriving, and in the eight years that we have partnered with Aperture Foundation, we have seen a tremendous evolution in the field with a multiplicity of new forms and diverse content,” said Paris Photo director Florence Bourgeois and artistic director Christoph Wiesner. “We are proud to play a role in the recognition of these authors and publishers, and to bring together the photography community in celebration of this art form.”
Winner of Photography Catalogue of the Year
Enghelab Street, A Revolution through Books: Iran 1979–1983
Spector Books, Leipzig, Germany, and LE BAL, Paris
Iranian artist Hannah Darabi’s catalogue Enghelab Street, a Revolution through Books: Iran 1979–1983 (Spector Books, Leipzig, Germany, and LE BAL, Paris), winner of Photography Catalogue of the Year, is a comprehensive and smartly designed book about books, pinpointing the burst of photobook production in Iran between the fall of the Shah’s regime in 1979 and the postrevolutionary introduction of the Islamic State in 1983. Irene Attinger described the book as an important addition to the narrative of the photobook with its focus on underground protest and propaganda books in Iran. “It’s a critical work by a female artist and scholar; it brings together specialized research and an artist perspective with a very strong design.”
Winner of PhotoBook of the Year
UGLY DOG (self-published), New Delhi, India
The Coast (UGLY DOG [self-published], New Delhi, India), winner of PhotoBook of the Year, is Indian photographer Sohrab Hura’s fourth photobook. The unsettling and graphic nature of the images alludes to rampant violence—religious, caste, sexual, or otherwise—and the increasing normalization of it. The images follow a propulsive, if elusive, narrative that guides the book using the structure of repetition. Nina Strand spoke highly of The Coast for its presentation “almost as a novel or a thriller in its format, cover, and design; it’s a photobook that works on the same level as a challenging work of fiction.” The jury was also impressed with the adept use of repetition in the sequence and structure of the book; Emma Bowkett praised it as “a lyrical, political narrative with a strong, determined voice.”
Winner of First PhotoBook ($10,000 prize)
The Eighth Day
Imageless, Wuxi, China
Gao Shan is a Chinese photographer who was adopted eight days after he was born. The Eighth Day (Imageless, Wuxi, China), winner of the First PhotoBook Award, was born out of his desire to connect with his adoptive mother, who he shares a roughly-seventy-square-meter apartment with. Shan was praised for the simple yet thoughtful and emotionally potent design and sequence. Takashi Homma observed that while the work appears on one hand to be straightforward documentary, it also employs “performative and conceptual approaches in a sophisticated way.” As Homma noted, “This is someone who seems to know their history of photography and photobooks. I would like to see his next book!”
Juror’s Special Mention
This World and Others Like It (Fw:Books, Amsterdam, and Yoffy Press, Atlanta), the Jurors’ Special Mention, showcases Drew Nikonowicz’s ongoing exploration of the divide between traditional and emerging modes of photography. Osei Bonsu described it as “a strong example of an artist working at the interstices of art and science, asking pertinent questions about photography in the contemporary world.”
A final jury at Paris Photo selected this year’s winners. The jury included: Irene Attinger, curator; Osei Bonsu, curator of international art at Tate Modern; Emma Bowkett, director of photography at FT Weekend Magazine; Takashi Homma, artist; and Nina Strand, editor and founder, Objektiv Press.
This year’s shortlist selection was made by Amanda Maddox, associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Joanna Milter, director of photography at the New Yorker, Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum, Lesley A. Martin, creative director of Aperture Foundation and publisher of The PhotoBook Review, and Christoph Wiesner, artistic director of Paris Photo.
The shortlist was first announced on Aperture Online and at the New York Art Book Fair. The thirty-five selected photobooks are profiled in issue 017 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. Subscribers to Aperture magazine receive free copies of The PhotoBook Review with their summer and winter issues.