The 2015 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards winners were announced in Paris, with Daniel Mayrit receiving the $10,000 top prize for First PhotoBook. Other winners included Diane Dufour and Xavier Barral, Thomas Mailaender and Will Steacy.
Launched in 2012, the international photography contest celebrates “the book’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography,” according to their website.
Daniel Mayrit’s You Haven’t Seen Their Faces explores the restrictions of digital imagery in light of the 2011 London Riots, after which Metropolitan Police delivered leaflets with photographs of youngsters who were presumed guilty of taking part in the events on little grounds. Through photos that resemble security images of political powerhouses—from London Mayor Boris Johnson to Aberdeen Asset Management CEO Martin Gilbert—Mayrit reminds us that the photo doesn’t always tell all. “We could not possibly know if the youngsters portrayed by the police were actually criminals,” he says on his website. “We cannot assume either that the individuals here featured are all involved in the ongoing financial scandals….but aren’t they?”
One of the jury members, Fraenkel Gallery president Frish Brandt says surveillance is part of the ongoing conversation regarding the ubiquity of the camera today. “There is a compelling tension in this project that causes one to page through the book with increasing questions and diminishing answers.”
Diane Dufour and Xavier Barral’s Images of Conviction: The Construction of Visual Evidence looks at how the photography has served as evidence of a crime for more than 150 years. The book examines 11 cases, from the famous Shroud of Turin images to the Nuremberg trial evidence to cell phone shots of drone strikes in Afghanistan. The book was selected for this year’s Photography Catalogue of the Year for “its autonomy in relation to the exhibition,” says jury member Christophe Boutin, co-founder of onestar press. “This book is an instant classic—well-done, with outstanding material.”
PhotoBook of the Year was awarded to Thomas Mailaender’s Illustrated People for photographing 23 models while projecting a UV lamp over them followed by a shot of each model before the image disappeared in the sun, revealing a fleeting image on the skin’s surface. Combined with photographic documents from the AMC’s collection, the book offers a stunning perspective on the human form through the combination of art and photography.
Will Steacy’s Deadline delves into the challenges and realities faced by the newspaper industry today, through a close examination of the newsroom and printing plant of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Without the human investment to provide news content it becomes a zero sum game on the information highway to nowhere,” he says on his website. “The fibers of the paper and the clicks of the mouse are worthless unless the words they are presented on have value.”
The awards were announced by Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation. After reviewing thousands of entries, the jury announced in September 35 books selected for the shortlist. This year’s winners were selected by Fraenkel Gallery president Frish Brandt; cofounder of onestar press Christophe Boutin; Centre Pompidou photography curator Clément Chéroux; author and editor Donatien Grau; as well as Enea Righi Collection curator Lorenzo Paini.
The 35 shortlisted books are currently on display at Paris Photo until Nov. 15. they will then tour to Aperture Gallery in New York from Dec. 12 to Feb. 8, and then on to Tokyo and other venues. The work will also be featured in the Fall 2015 issue of The PhotoBook Review and exhibited at Paris Photo.
Paul Moakley is the Deputy Director of Photography at TIME and you can follow him on Twitter @paulmoakley.
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