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Sandra S. Phillips to Judge 2014 First Book Prize Competition

From the summer 2014 issue of Document, a quarterly published by the Center for Documentary Studies

From the summer 2014 issue of Document, a quarterly published by the Center for Documentary Studies

The judges for the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography are among the most significant and innovative artists, curators, and writers in contemporary photography—Robert Adams, Maria Morris Hambourg, Robert Frank, Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston, and Deborah Willis.


Sandra S. Phillips, the senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will judge this year’s seventh biennial First Book Prize in Photography competition.

“I am very pleased, and honored, to participate in the First Book Prize competition. A photographer’s first book is an amazingly potent object. Today we are very casual about pictures: we see too many of them, in a way they have replaced words as our most significant form of communication. We see photographs in our cellphones, on the web; we see fewer of them in books, printed the old-fashioned way, on paper. The technology of the book is ancient and still has advantages—we can re-see the pictures at will, we can pick up the book and sit comfortably with it, we can read it in a certain order, we can contemplate what an author has written of the pictures—that contribute to the reverberant meaning of the pictures. Picture books, books of photographs, are not being lost to the digital revolution; if anything they have become only more meaningful, more treasured.”—Sandra S. Phillips


The most recent exhibitions that Phillips has organized and curated for SFMOMA are South Africa in Apartheid and After: David Goldblatt, Ernest Cole, Billy Monk (this photograph by Ernest Cole, ca. 1960–66); Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective (photo here: Coney Island, N.Y., USA, June 20, 1993); and Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870 (above, Mamie Van Doren by Doris Banbury, ca. 1950s).


Joshua Chuang, Chief Curator of the Center for Creative Photography (CCP), will serve as panel judge for the selection committee that chooses the semifinalists and finalists for the prize. Read an interview with him about leaving his position at the Yale University Art Gallery to join CCP.

Submissions for the 2014 prize will be accepted from June 15 to September 15, 2014. Click on these links to find out why you should apply and how to enter.


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