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The winner of the 2012 Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography is Gerard H. Gaskin for his black-and-white and color photographs that document, as Gaskin writes, “the performative and aesthetic history of the African American and Latino house and ballroom community.”
Renowned curator, historian, and photographer Deborah Willis judged the competition and chose Gaskin to win the prize. She says that she found Gaskin’s photographs “innovative and spirited,” the images filled with both hope and struggle as “they explore ideas of longing, beauty, and desire.”
Deborah Willis wrote an introduction to the book, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, published in November 2013 by Duke University Press in association with CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. This collection of photographs made over a twenty-year period is Gaskin’s first book.
Gerard H. Gaskin interview with Alexa Dilworth, March 12, 2013
Gerard H. Gaskin, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, earned a B.A. from Hunter College in 1994. As a freelance photographer based in the greater New York City area, his work has been widely published in such publications as the New York Times, Newsday, Black Enterprise, OneWorld, Teen People, Caribbean Beat, and DownBeat; other clientele include record companies Island, Sony, Def Jam, and Mercury. His work has also been included in the books Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers (2001) and New York: A State of Mind (2000). Gaskin has received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, a Center for Photography at Woodstock artist residency, and a Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artists Initiative Award. Gaskin’s photographs have been seen in solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and abroad, including the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum of Art, and Black Magic Woman Festival in Amsterdam. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others.
Gaskin’s work was selected from two hundred entries to win the sixth biennial First Book Prize competition.
Gerard H. Gaskin’s website