Mack releases Frowst by Joanna Piotrowska

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Joanna Piotrowska’s publication Frowst won Mack’s First Book Award in April this year, and has just been published by the London-based publisher.

The book features a series of black-and-white staged photographs of members of Piotrowska’s family. Through her images, the Royal College of Art graduate explores the idea of anxiety and the family, touching on themes such as family relationships, which can be both oppressive and rewarding, and dysfunction within the family unit.

Piotrowska’s carefully posed subjects – quite often positioned in close proximity to each other – look almost sculptural. The result is a series of images that are intimate yet claustrophobic, and unsettling at the same time. It is no accident that the meaning of the book’s title refers to a warm but stuffy atmosphere.


Polish-born Piotrowska, who has exhibited her work in countries including Ireland, Spain, France, Poland and the UK, was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2013, and the exhibition Jerwood Encounters: Family Politics, curated by Photoworks.

The First Book Award, now in its third year, is awarded to a photographer who has not yet had a book published by a third-party publishing house.

Industry professionals are invited to nominate photobooks they feel deserve recognition, and a winner is chosen by a jury.

On the jury this year was publisher Michael Mack; Greg Hobson, curator of photographs at the National Media Museum in Bradford; Polly Fleury, director of special projects at the Wilson Centre for Photography; Ben Burbridge, co-editor of Photoworks magazine and lecturer in art history at the University of Sussex; and Fiona Parker of Magnum Photos.

Shortlisted titles for the 2014 Award included: Salvi Danés’ Blackcelona; Emine Gozde Sevim’s Embed in Egypt; and David Hornillos’ Mediodía.

Frowst by Joanna Piotrowska, priced £25, is published by Mack and the National Media Museum.

This story was amended on 20 June 2014. The previous version incorrectly stated that Joanna Piotrowska had just won the Mack First Book Award when she in fact won it in April.

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