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Three Days Left to Enter!

“From the moment I started making the photographs that became Driftless, I said I was going to make a book. And it’s such a difficult thing to do. . . . I put that in front of me; it was my goal. When I look back it almost seems an insurmountable task, but I got lucky and it happened.”—Danny Wilcox Frazier, 2006 prize winner

Want to be the one telling this story? Get your application in! There are only a few days left until the 2016 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition entry period ends (deadline is September 15). (Click here to learn more about entering the competition.)

For those needing a little extra time: There is a grace period through midnight (EST) on September 25 for applicants who started their submissions before the deadline. Please write Caitlin Johnson, caitlin.johnson@duke.edu, with any questions.

2016 FBP.Document spread

Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be this year’s prize judge. Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation, will chair the selection committee that chooses the finalists

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.

Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

 

Countdown to the First Book Prize # 7

“I spent, probably a better part of my life learning how to take photographs, learning how to be a better photographer, and that doesn’t necessarily translate into designing a book, or knowing who to contact, or distributing, or any of that. Any of those multitude of things that you need to do to put a book together. It’s pretty difficult to have a book published in today’s industry; I know that it’s very expensive, and it’s an arduous process. . . . The First Book Prize is an incredible opportunity to work with people who are very knowledgeable and also very helpful.” —Nadia Sablin, winner, 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

Take it from Nadia Sablin, the most recent winner on our CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography previous award recipient countdown; this is an opportunity not to be missed! There is just over a week to get your applications in! The deadline is September 15.

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Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library. Each year a significant and innovative artist, curator, or writer in photography is chosen to judge the prize and write an introduction to the winning book.

Freelance photographer Nadia Sablin was chosen by renowned curator and historian Sandra S. Phillips to win the 2014 First Book Prize for her color series Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila, which captures, as Sablin writes, “the lives of my aunts who live in Northwest Russia. Alevtina and Ludmila are in their seventies but carry on the traditional Russian way of life, chopping wood for heating the house, bringing water from the well, planting potatoes, and making their own clothes.”

“The photographs are warm with an aroma of the magical. In these pictures it is always spring or summer, the garden flourishes, the women enjoy the span of the seasons. . . . [Sablin] chooses to show their way of living as almost enchanted: we can hardly believe that what we see in these pictures will ever disappear.”—Sandra S. Phillips, judge, 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

Scroll down to watch a video and interview with Nadia Sablin about her prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

Sablin coverAunties.Guardian.BestBook2015

“I took pictures during my first visit—I had an idea to shoot a ‘little story,’” said Sablin. “But once I started, I knew I had to keep going, that I wanted to capture the larger experience of being with them, in the house, in the village. . . . My aunts’ life is so bound to the cyclical nature of things. The photographs need to have a beginning, middle, and end. They are story. That needs to be tangible, that you can hold in your hands and feel. An exhibit isn’t intimate or friendly. That’s what a book is for.”

A strong, serious community of photographers, editors, curators, and publishers reviews your work. This year’s Selection Panel Judge is Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is the judge of this eighth biennial competition.

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.

 

Countdown to the First Book Prize # 6

“I respect the idea of the book and often re-read the photography books on my shelf. This award offers photographers a new way to share their work, their singular way of seeing, and encourages me to imagine what will follow. There is an absence of new voices in photography books; all of us need this prize to expand our experiences in looking and understanding.”—Deborah Willis, judge, 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

It’s September! We’re nearing the end of our past winner and prize judge countdown, and the 2016 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography deadline is right around the corner on the 15th. There is only one more week to get your applications in!   

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Vanessa, Milan Ball, Manhattan, 1997. Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin.

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Giselle, Latex Ball, Manhattan, 2008. Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin.

Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

Each year a significant and innovative artist, curator, or writer in photography is chosen to judge the prize and write an introduction to the winning book. In 2012, renowned curator, historian, and photographer Deborah Willis selected Gerard H. Gaskin to win for his black-and-white and color photographs in Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, which document the African American and Latino house and ballroom community over a twenty-year period in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. “The balls were born out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves,” writes Gaskin. “My images try to show a personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that have been painfully challenged by mainstream society.”.

Scroll down to watch a video and interview with Gerard H. Gaskin about his prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

Gaskin.Legendary cover

“Gaskin’s awareness of the effect the performers have on the audience is a crucial aspect of his vision. Through his lens, he conveys the showmanship these actors and artists exude, their knowingness of the spectacle created by their flair. . . . He shows us the power the performers have to reveal themselves through spectacle, to challenge viewers to recognize this display of selfhood. Regardless of our walks of life, we are all looking for safe spaces to express ourselves. Legendary allows us to bear witness to a group of people who are courageous enough to create their safe space.”Deborah Willis, from her introduction

“When I was being trained as a photographer, I was taught that book was the culmination of any long-term endeavor, to really complete the project,” said Gaskin. “I also love photography books, I love to just sit and look at pictures, to look at book covers over and over again. I believe that a good book is a book you want to return to. I always wanted to see my images in book format. When you told me I had won, I started to cry like a baby. I just started to think about my life and how hard I had worked to make this happen.”

Submissions for the eighth CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography are now being accepted through September 15, 2016. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be this year’s prize judge. Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation, will chair the selection committee that chooses the finalists

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.

 

Countdown to the First Book Prize #5

“A book lasts. It becomes something more. . . . A book, for photographers, is the ultimate legacy.”—Benjamin Lowy, winner, 2010 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

We only have a few more weeks in our countdown to the September 15 deadline for the 2016 First Book Prize competition. Whether you’re putting the final touches on your application or just getting started, we’re back with more inspiration from past winners! (Click here to learn more about entering the competition.)

Untitled, from “Night Vision,” Iraq|Perspectives. Photograph by Benjamin Lowy.

Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

Iconic photographer William Eggleston selected Benjamin Lowy as the 2010 prizewinner. Reflecting on what drew him to Lowy’s photographs, Eggleston said, “These images were practically asking to be in a book together. Everything about them—the conception, the subject, the fact that we’re still at war, the way the pictures were taken. Benjamin’s work is an opportunity to see as an American soldier sees when in Iraq. Nobody I know of has ever shown that, especially through night vision goggles.”

Scroll down to watch a video and interview with Benjamin Lowy about his prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

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Lowy shot the arresting color photographs in Iraq | Perspectives over a six-year period through Humvee windows and military-issue night vision goggles. “Iraq was a land of blast walls and barbed wire fences,” he writes. “These pictures show a fragment of Iraqi daily life taken by a transient passenger in a Humvee; yet they are a window to a world where work, play, tension, grief, survival, and everything in between is as familiar as the events of our own lives.” The acclaimed book was widely reviewed and was chosen as a top photo book of 2011 by Time Magazine and the British Journal of Photography.

“If you look at photojournalism in the last ten years,” says Lowy, “a lot of people have been pushing the envelope to create a new way of seeing because we’re so inundated with images day in and day out. It’s not like how it used to be, where a very few people had cameras. Now everyone has one, and you have to find a unique way of photographing something that’s different than what other people see, and expect to see. . . . A book lasts.”

Each year a significant and innovative artist, curator, or writer in photography is chosen to judge the prize and write an introduction to the winning book. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is the judge of this eighth biennial competition. This year’s Selection Panel Judge is Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation.

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.

 

Countdown to the First Book Prize #4

“Certainly, a first book makes people take you much more seriously.”—Mary Ellen Mark, judge, 2008 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

There’s less than a month to go before entries are due for the First Book Prize. In the weeks preceding the deadline, we’re taking a look at past winners—photographers who have experienced the joy, and career boost, that comes with seeing their work in print. Hoping to join this cohort? Get your submission in! Click here to learn more about entering the competition.

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Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography—with an introduction by that year’s prize judge—and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

Bathers cover.FBP Blog

Jennette Williams was selected by celebrated photographer Mary Ellen Mark to win our 2008 competition. Over a period of eight years, Williams traveled to Hungary and Turkey to photograph women, young and old, who inhabit their bodies with comfort and ease. She drew on gestures and poses found in iconic paintings of nude women to create her stunning platinum prints for The Bathers.

Scroll down to watch a video and interview with Jennette Williams about her prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

“This was the third or fourth time I applied for this prize, and I’m glad I did,” said Williams. “I wanted to honor the subjects that I was photographing. . . . The Bathers questions what makes for beauty in women. I don’t really have an answer to that, but I know that it has something to do with an acceptance of one’s form, being within a community of women, and living in, rather than fighting against, your body.” The acclaimed book was widely reviewed and was featured in Elle, The New Yorker, and Photo District News, among other publications.

Submissions for the eighth CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography are now being accepted through September 15, 2016. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be this year’s prize judge. Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation, will chair the selection committee that chooses the finalists.

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.

 

Countdown to the First Book Prize #3

Our countdown to the September 15 deadline for the 2016 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography continues! (Click here to learn more about entering the competition.) For those of you elbow deep in your application materials, we’re continuing our series on past winners and the judges who selected them—hopefully you’ll find some guidance and motivation in their stories!

Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner also receives a solo exhibit and the photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library. Each year a significant and innovative artist, curator, or writer in photography is chosen to judge the prize and write an introduction to the winning book.

Grain elevator and abandoned train, Lake Park, Iowa. Photograph by Danny Wilcox Frazier.

Danny Wilcox Frazier was selected as the 2006 prizewinner by Robert Frank, one of America’s most important and influential photographers, who described Frazier’s work as “passionate photographs without sentimentality.” The native Iowan’s black-and-white photographs in Driftless: Photographs from Iowa show a changing Midwest of vanishing towns and transformed landscapes in the wake of failing rural economies and a vast exodus of people, resources, and services to the coasts and cities, taking viewers into the lives of the individuals who have stayed behind and continue to live there. Poetic and dark but illuminated with flashes of insight, Frazier’s Driftless was a New York Photo Award finalist for Best Photography Book of the Year and was featured in photo-eye, Photo District News, and Lens, the New York Times photo blog. In 2010, Frazier’s film version of Driftless won a Webby Award and was nominated for an Emmy in the “New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming” category.

Scroll down to watch a video and interview with Danny Wilcox Frazier about his prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

Driftless cover

“I always had this desire to leave, not necessarily to know where I was going but to leave,” said Frazier. “That tension is still there, and that tension has influenced my work, is a big part of it. I hope people recognize the tension as something that a lot of people who are from rural communities, it’s not just rural Iowa, it’s rural communities around the country, what they wrestle with—the connection to community, the connection to the culture, the connection to one’s family, but at the same time the challenges that the lack of economic opportunity, or just the influence of popular culture and mass media, has on that life. . . . Still, it’s my home. It’s where I’m from. . . . Knowing that it was going to become a book, this story that I cared so much about . . . and have that recognized by someone like Robert Frank? I mean, it’s unbelievable.”

A strong, serious community of photographers, editors, curators, and publishers reviews your work. This year’s Selection Panel Judge is Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is the judge of this eighth biennial competition.

Books in the First Book Prize in Photography series are copublished by the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University Press.