Welsh photographer Jack Latham has won the Bar-Tur Photobook Award, for his project Sugar Paper Theories. Latham will work with The Photographers’ Gallery and Here Press to produce his first photobook, a prize worth £20,000.
The winning project traces an infamous true crime case in Iceland. Known as the Reykjavik Confessions, it involved the testimonies of six people, who confessed to two murders they had no apparent memory of. Latham employed a mix of archival images, ephemera and his own photographs to convey the sinister ambience of a horrific, yet hazy collective memory.
Latham tells BJP, “the Bar-Tur Award will really enable us to be as ambitious with the project as possible. The case itself is so complicated and trying to retell it through photographs alone wouldn’t be enough. I’m working with writer Sofia Kathryn Smith and now, continuing the project with a book in mind means we’re able to collaborate fully in a symbiotic way. Working with an exciting publisher like Here Press goes hand and hand with the work, it’s different and hopefully the book will reflect that also.”
The four runners-up are: Sebastián Bruno, Eugenio Grosso, Nikolas Ventourakis and Luisa Whitton. They will all receive £1,000 each towards the realisation of their proposed photobook project.
This year’s judging panel consisted of Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery; Armon Bar-Tur, entrepreneur and philanthropist; Harry Hardie & Ben Weaver, co-publishers, Here Press; Celia Davies, Director, Photoworks; Chloe Dewe Mathews, artist; Cheryl Newman, Photography Editor and Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books.
Latham, one of the co-founders of Welsh photographic collective A Fine Beginning, has been steadily building a promising body of work and the award caps off a fine year. In May he won the IdeasTap/Magnum Photos Photographic Award for the same project and one of his photographs is in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery.
Last year, entrepreneurs and philanthropists Amnon and Armon Bar-Tur partnered with The Photographers’ Gallery to launch the award, offering an emerging photographer the chance to publish their first book with the Gallery and Trolley Books. “this Award builds upon the Gallery’s ongoing commitment across all its programmes to champion the photobook,” Rogers said last year, “and acknowledges its significant contribution to the medium, which has been especially pronounced over the past few years.”
The annual award sees The Photographers’ Gallery collaborating with a different UK-based independent publisher each year. Last year’s winner Angus Fraser worked with Trolley Books to produce his documentary project Santa Muerte, which followed members of the eponymous Mexican cult.