“Books are a tangible record of work and storytelling, unlike any other print publication or digital platform,” says Mark Lubell, director of the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. “This new award is not just about work by emerging photographers, but also unseen work from photographers at any stage of their careers. We are providing a unique opportunity for photographers to present their work, whether it has been a lifelong project or emerging storytelling.”
A collaboration between London-based publisher GOST and ICP, the First Photobook Award invites unpublished photographers to submit 35-100 digital image files in an open call that runs until 02 September 2019. The winner, selected by a jury yet to be announced, will have their book designed, edited and distributed by the ICP/GOST imprint, and their work featured in an exhibition at ICP’s new space in the Lower East Side, New York.
Awards of a similar structure, run by other organisations – including MACK’s First Book Award and LUMA/Recontres’ Dummy Book Award – have proved popular. They provide a platform for emerging photographers to get noticed, and gives the winners the opportunity to collaborate with a respected publisher.
What is different about ICP/GOST’s new award is that rather than asking applicants to submit a physical dummy book, as with the aforementioned awards, it invites digital submissions only. “Design is an integral part of any photo book we produce. We see the final publication as a collaboration between the photographer, designer and editor, which means it’s more helpful for us to see projects in their ‘raw’ form, rather than as a pre-designed dummy book,” says Stuart Smith, director of GOST.
“We’re aware that producing dummy books takes time and money and may be a barrier to many entrants,” he continues “We’re charging an entry fee to cover the costs of the award, but hope that the digital submissions will mean the competition is more accessible to a wider pool of photographers and artists.”
The ICP/GOST First Photobook Award open call for entries will run from 15 April until 02 September 2019. To apply visit www.gostbooks.com/bookaward