First awarded back in 1985, the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Best Photography Book prize is one of the oldest in the business. Previous winners include Sergio Larrain (with Vagabond Photographer in 2014), Susan Meiselas (with In History in 2009), Boris Mikhailov (with Case History in 2000), and Eugene Richards (with Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue in 1994); this year three contemporary image-makers have made the shortlist – Stephen Gill, Chrystel Lebas, and Dayanita Singh.
Gill has been nominated for the book Night Procession, which he self-published through his imprint Nobody Books. Shot using motion-sensor cameras in rural southern Sweden, where Gill moved with his family in 2014, the book reveals nocturnal animal activity in the dark forests. The book also includes an essay by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgȃrd, who is best-known for his series of six autobiographies, Min Kamp [My Struggle].
Chrystel Lebas won a place on the shortlist with Field Studies: Walking through Landscapes and Archives, which is published by Dutch organisation FW: Books). Her work retraces the steps of British botanist Sir Edward James Salisbury, creating new images in the same landscapes of his archival collections. Published in a format evoking a scientific journal, it also includes a moving image element.
Dayanita Singh has been nominated for her multi-book publication Museum Bhavan, which was published by Steidl. Including nine individual miniature ‘museums’, it’s a new translation of Singh’s travelling exhibition of the same name. Each title contains accordion-fold pages with small printed tritone images, and the collection also includes a booklet of interviews between Singh and respected publisher Gerhard Steidl.
The winner will be announced on 17 May in London, at a ceremony that also includes the Mack First Book Award. The winner will be awarded £5000. In total 10 books were longlisted for the Best Photobook prize, and all ten books will be exhibited at Photo London from 17-20 May in Somerset House. The specialist photography jury was made up of Karen Knorr, Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts; Christiane Monarchi, the founding editor of the online magazine Photomonitor; and Jonathan Watkins, director of Ikon Gallery since 1999.
The other seven longlisted photobooks are: Photography in Argentina: Contradiction and Continuity by Idurre Alonso and Judith Keller, eds. (Getty Publications/Yale University Press); Survivor: A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust by Harry Borden (Cassell); Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain by Margaret Courtney Clarke (Steidl); Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay by Debi Cornwall, Moazzam Begg and Fred Ritchin (Radius Books); Istanbul New Stories by Paola De Pietri (Steidl); The Japanese Photobook 1912-1990 by editor Manfred Heiting; text by Ryuichi Kaneko, Duncan Forbes, Matthew S. Witkovsky (Steidl); and Songs of the Walés by Patrick Willocq (Kehrer Verlag).
The Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Book Awards also include a prize for the Best Moving Image Book, which was first awarded in 1993. The books that have made the 2018 shortlist are: Split Screen Nation: Moving Images of the American West and South by Susan Courtney (Oxford University Press); Cinema by Design: Art Nouveau, Modernism and Film History by Lucy Fischer (Columbia University Press); and Agnès Varda: Between Film, Photography and Art by Rebecca J. DeRoo (University of California Press).
Andor Kraszna-Krausz, who was known as K-K to his friends, was born in Hungary in 1904. After studying photography and cinematography at Munich University he began his publishing career in Germany in 1925 as the editor of Filmtechnik magazine. In 1937 he fled Nazi Germany for Britain, and a year later founded Focal Press – an influential specialist publishing house for books on photography which is still going today. K-K set up the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation and the Book Awards in 1985, and died in 1989.