Paris Photo and Aperture announce winners of prestigious photobook awards

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Mohamed Bourouissa wins Photobook of the Year; Sabiha Çimen wins First Photobook; Catalogue of the Year goes to Makeda Best; and Tokuko Ushioda receives the juror’s special mention

The 25th edition of Paris Photo – a colossal meeting of almost 200 international galleries – is well underway at the Grand Palais Éphémère, bustling with buyers, sellers, and enthusiasts alike. With just 32 publishers, the book section of the fair is comparatively small – but its booths are as busy as ever, reflecting the growing demand and appreciation of the photobook medium. 

This afternoon, the winners of one of the most anticipated photobook awards have been announced. Established in 2012, the Paris Photo X Aperture PhotoBook Awards celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, once again recognising the photobook’s contribution to the evolving narrative of photography.

The final jury met at Paris Photo yesterday to select the best photobooks in three categories – First Photobook, Photobook of the Year and Photography Catalogue of the Year – out of 35 shortlisted titles. The jury included photographer Sunil Gupta; Curiosa curator Holly Roussell; historian Pauline Vermare; director of the Institut pour la Photographie Anne Lacoste; and sociologist Alain Quemin.

Discover each of the winning titles, and the juror’s special mention, below.

Photobook of the Year: Périphérique by Mohamed Bourouissa

Published by Loose Joints, Marseille, France

Deutsche Börse award-winner Mohamed Bourouissa wins Photobook of the Year for an important work that revisits the artist’s theatrical images of marginalised lives in Paris’ outskirts. Made between 2005 and 2008, the images appropriate the codes of historical paintings by staging scenes with friends and acquaintances in the Paris banlieues, challenging the misperceptions of these communities.

The photobook is published and designed by Marseille-based imprint Loose Joints. Juror Anne Lacoste, director of the Institut pour la Photographie, commented on the book’s informal format and thoughtful design choices as “very supportive of the subject matter… [requiring] the direct engagement of the viewer, with its use of the gatefolds, dynamic sequencing, and multiple paper choices.”

Mohamed Bourouissa, Le téléphone, 2006. Périphérique by Mohamed Bourouissa is published by Loose Joints. © Mohamed Bourouissa 2021 courtesy Loose Joints.

First Photobook: HAFIZ by Sabiha Çimen

Red Hook Editions, New York

Depending on the context, ‘Hafiz’ – literally meaning ‘memoriser’ – is a term used for Muslims who know the Quran by heart. Sabiha Çimen’s HAFIZ, which has been awarded the $10,000 First Photobook prize, is a rare glimpse into Turkish schools for girls, which focus on the study of the holy book. Including scenes of birthday parties, girls at play, and dreamy, colour-saturated portraits of the students, the jury commended the images for their quiet yet graphically arresting quality. Juror Alain Quemin commented: “It is quite daring — it looks somewhat classical, and yet it is also very personal and very poetic.” 

HAFIZ by Sabiha Çimen; Red Hook Editions, New York.
Sabiha Çimen, A plane flies low over students at an amusement park. Istanbul, 2018. From HAFIZ.

Photography Catalogue of the Year: Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 by Makeda Best

Yale University Press

Makeda Best’s winning catalogue considers how contemporary photographers have responded to the US military’s impact on the domestic environment since the 1970s. The exhibition, which was on show at Harvard Art Museums from September 2021 to January 2022, brought together 60 contemporary artists who explore the intersection of environmental degradation, activism, and the military-industrial complex. Juror Pauline Vermare summarised the jury’s decision: “This is a different kind of catalogue from the usual hardcover, monumental tome; the design is highly original, effective, and the content is substantial. The approach is very contemporary and environmentally sensitive, echoing the spirit and intent of the show.”

Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 by Makeda Best; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Per Brandin, Brookhaven National Lab, Control Room, Nuclear Reactor, From Long Island Project, 1979. From Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970.

Juror’s Special Mention: My Husband by Tokuko Ushioda

Torch Press, Tokyo

Tokuko Ushioda’s set of two books presents photographs of her husband, their daughter, and the interior of their densely packed apartment in Japan. Made over the course of five years, since the birth of her daughter in 1978, it captures the artist’s busy yet fulfilling early years of motherhood. The jury commended the artist for her  tender and unsparing gaze, coolly inventorying their shared domestic space.

My Husband by Tokuko Ushioda; torch press, Tokyo.
Tokuko Ushioda, from My Husband.

Paris Photo runs from 10 to 13 November 2022 at the Grand Palais Éphémère.

Marigold Warner

Deputy Editor

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Deputy Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Elephant, Gal-dem, The Face, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.