It’s a prestigious prize, which earns the winner an exhibition at Photo London plus a photobook published by the well-regraded specialist MACK Books. This year it’s gone to Hayahisa Tomiyasu for his book dummy TTP.
Shot from the window of his eighth-floor student flat in Leipzig, Germany, TTP shows a park with a ping pong table, shot at various times of day and in various seasons, and showing different protagonists each time. The table is used as a tischtennisplatte (table tennis table, as a sun lounger, as a climbing frame, as a skate obstacle, and as much more, and, states MACK Books “thanks to Tomiyasu’s sustained curiosity, we observe the habits, humour, and idiosyncrasies of human behaviour”.
Born in 1982 Kanagawa, Japan, Hayahisa Tomiyasu studied photography at Tokyo Polytechnic University then moved to Leipzig to study under Peter Piller. He’s now based between Leipzig and Zurich, where he teaches. His book has now been published by MACK, with support from the Wilson Centre for Photography, the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation, and optimal media.
Tomiyasu was picked out from a shortlist of ten book dummies, which also included: The Hotel by Dakpa Tenzing; At Night by Lionel Kiernan; American Origami by Andres Gonzalez; Familiarity by Anita Benjamin; Constructed Landscapes by Dafna Talmor; Aporia by Andrew Waits; Flesh Before Body by Diane Severin Nguyen; Vedute Los Angeles by Thomas Locke Hobbs; and The Wall by Véronique Besnard.
The jury for the MACK First Book Award changes every year, and this time comprised of: Hannah Starkey, the photographer and artist; Amira Gad, exhibitions curator at the Serpentine Galleries, London, and commissioning editor for the Ibraaz, an online platform dedicated to visual culture in the Middle East and North Africa; Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) London; Polly Fleury, director of special projects at the Wilson Centre for Photography; and Michael Mack, the publisher and founder of MACK Books.
Set up in 2012, the MACK First Book Award is open to all photographers who have not previously had a book published. Previous winners include Emmanuelle Andrianjafy for Nothing’s in Vain in 2017, Sofia Borges for The Swamp in 2016, and Ciarán Óg Arnold for I went to the worst of bars… in 2015.