Winners announced: Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2020

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Joined by new partner DELPIRE & CO, Paris Photo and Aperture have announced this year’s PhotoBook Award winners

With International audiences unable to attend the Grand Palais this year, the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist has exhibited at DELPIRE & CO, the new bookshop and artistic space in the heart of Saint-Germain- dés-Prés in Paris.

The final jury selecting this year’s winners included Damarice Amao (Centre Pompidou), Lucy Conticello (M le magazine du Monde), Laurel Parker (Laurel Parker Book), Nicolas Poillot (creative director  and image consultant), and Stéphanie Solinas (artist). 

Buck Ellison won First PhotoBook of the year and $10,000 for Living Trust, with Gloria Oyarzabal winning PhotoBook of the year for Woman Go No’Gree. Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography, edited by Tina M. Campt, MarianneHirsch, Gil Hochberg, and Brian Wallis became the winning photography catalogue, while Ryan Debolski’s LIKE gained a Special Mention by the Jurors.

First Photobook : Living Trust by Buck Ellison

Published by Loose Joints Publishing, Ellisons’ winning book examines and questions the visual languages of privilege. Addressed through both personal writings and a series of photographs, Ellison investigates the shared and gatekpet experiences of White privilege. Ellison does not just rely on portraits to illustrate the world of the white middle class, but demonstrates their lives through everyday items such as clothing, food, pets, all in meticulous detail. In this first monograph by the LA-based photographer, Whiteness cannot just be found on the colour of one’s skin, but through their whole life, publicly and privately.

From the series Living Trust, © Buck Ellison.

PhotoBook of the Year: Woman Go No’Gree by Gloria Oyarzabal

Merging archives, found imagery and her own photography, Gloria Oyarzabal’s photobook questions the possibility for universal feminist discourse in the face of colonialism and White feminism. Published by Editorial RM and Images Vevey, the book’s “substance and form are compelling- the artist advances an excellent dialogue around deconstructing the idea of the gaze and ‘the other,’” explains final juror Damarice Amao. Through Woman Go No’Gree, the viewer is questioned, and forced to address their own biases, gaze, and relationship to colonial legacies.

From the series Woman Go No’Gree, © Gloria Oyarzabal.

Photography Catalogue of the Year: Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography by Tina M. Campt, Marianne Hirsch, Gil Hochberg, and Brian Wallis.

A collaboration between the Walther Collection, and Steidl, this photo catalogue brings scholars and critics together to discuss the cultural impact of vernacular images; the mug shots, family photo albums, scientific and architectural images that make up the cultural mass of pictures. Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography asks questions regarding how these images shape our identities and societies. Through both image and essay, the agency of the everyday image maker is examined in relation to a wider cultural lens.

Jury member Lucy Conticello commented “The heft and the depth of the research, its striking and insightful contributions sourced from a great number of archives and collections, and fantastic reproductions make this a reference book on vernacular photography that will be around for a long time.”

Military Stamp Scrapbook Album, ca. 1944–1952, from Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography © Richard H. Bowman

Jurors’ Special Mention: LIKE by Ryan Debolski

Finally, LIKE by Ryan Debolski (Gnomic Book, Brooklyn), nominated for Jurors’ Special Mention for First PhotoBook, documents the lives of migrant workers living in Oman. Instead of documenting the labour of these workers in an expected fashion, Debolksi focuses on the agency and community found by the workmen in the form of each other. “The position this work takes is very singular,” juror Stéphanie Solinas mentions. “A book on migrant workers in Oman, where we find a great presence of bodies with a form of sensuality where we expected to find brick walls and deserts. The weave between text and image, bodies and architecture offers a new, unexpected entry into  the topic.”

Untitled, from the series LIKE, © Ryan Debolski.

The full list of shortlisted titles can be found here.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.