- Hide menu

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.


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.


Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.