Aperture Photobook Awards 2019 – Our Pick of the Shortlist
2019 has once again been a great year for new photobooks, and this years shortlist demonstrates how the world of photobook publishing has become much more open and inclusive in recent years. Last years winners, On Abortion by Laia Abril (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2018) and One Wall a Web by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (Roma Publications, 2018), saw the judges celebrating politically-conscious photobooks, and both were among our favourite photobooks of last year. Judging by this year's shortlist, there seems to be a heavier focus on conceptual photobooks this time around.
The winners of this years competition will be announced Friday 8th November. Check out our selection from the books shortlisted below.
Gift by Mari Katayama (United Vagabonds, 2019)
'Gift' is the first book by photographer and artist Mari Katayama, who was born with tibial hemimelia, a rare deficiency that prevented growth in the lower legs and caused a cleft left hand that resembles a crab’s pincers, amputated her legs at age nine. Through her work, she explores the possibilities of her own body, juxtaposing organic and inorganic materials such as tattooed prosthetics or mannequins limbs to manipulate the way we see her.
Christopher Street 1976 by Sunil Gupta (Stanley/Barker, 2019)
Christopher Street 1976 documents New York City's burgeoning gay scene during the heady days after Stonewall and before AIDS. While studying at the legendary New School, Gupta would spend his weekends cruising on Christopher Street with his camera, capturing the evolution of a gay public space the likes of which the world had not yet seen. The resulting photographs have become both nostalgic and iconic for a very important moment in history.
Pillars of Home by Csilla Klenyanszki (Self-Published, 2019)
In 'Pillars of Home', Hungarian-born visual artist Csilla Klenyánszki creates 98 sculptures that reach from the floor to the ceiling using everyday objects found in her apartment. The delicate sculptures, hastily constructed during her son’s nap, somehow balance on the border between the virtual world and reality.
Dyckman Haze by Adam Pape (MACK Books, 2019)
Adam Pape’s photographs utilise New York City's parks in Washington Heights and Inwood as the backdrop for a narrative that unfolds in between day and night. Here, young people have a public stage where they can try on different roles in the dark, while animals lurk in the urban fringes. The artificially-lit monochrome images in 'Dyckman Haze' present an alternative city in the furthest reach of Manhattan, where history and myth are at play.
American Origami by Andres Gonzalez (FW: Books, 2019)
The first of two photobooks from Dutch publisher FW: Books, 'American Origami' is the result of six years of photographic research by Andres Gonzalez. The project closely examines the epidemic of mass shootings in American schools, interweaving first-person interviews, forensic documents, press materials, and original photographs. The book takes its reader through a visual journey of shared grief and atonement to illuminate moments of beauty and pose moral questions embedded in acts of collective healing.
The Parallel State by Guy Martin (GOST Books, 2019)
The Parallel State by Guardian and Observer Hodge Award-winning photographer Guy Martin is a multi-layered project which began life as an examination of the Turkish soap opera and film industry, but evolved over the course of five years, into a semi-fictional study of truth, reality and lies in contemporary Turkey.
This World And Other Like It by Drew Nikonowicz (FW: Books, 2019)
‘This World and Others Like It’ by Drew Nikonowicz investigates the role of the 21st century explorer by combining computer modelling with analogue photographic processes. In a world where explorable realities exist through rover and probe based imagery, virtual role-playing, and video game software, robots have replaced photographers as mediators, producing images completely dislocated from human experience. Nikonowicz questions the role of explorers in this contemporary wilderness.
Elf Dalia by Maja Daniels (MACK Books, 2019)
The second MACK book nominated for the award, Elf Dalia by Maja Daniels weaves together a narrative born out of the Swedish valley of Älvdalen and the isolated community living there. Daniels combines photographs taken between 2011 and 2017 with curious pictures from an archive amassed by a man named Tenn Lars Persson (1878 –1938), a local inventor, mechanic and photographer. The resulting photographs are an eerie exploration of this community’s unique eccentricity and how the myth and ritual of its past is compromised by contemporary living.
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