Three winners and one special mention have been announced for the 2018 Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles – and in all four cases, the books use archival or found photography. The Author Book Award went to Laurence Aëgerter’s Photographic Treatment, which is published by Dewi Lewis; the Historical book award went to The Pigeon Photographer, a collection of images by Julius Neubronner published by Rorhof; and – controversially – the Photo-text Book Award went to Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s War Primer 2, which was first published by MACK in 2011 but reissued in paperback this year. A special mention went to Giorgio Di Noto’s The Iceberg in the Author Book Award, which is published by Édition Patrick Frey.
Photobooks have been booming for the last ten years or so but one prize has been there for the last 49 years – Les Prix du Livre at Arles, which was set up at the same time as the Rencontres d’Arles festival. With its long history and prestigious jury, which is this year overseen by FOAM director Marloes Krijnen, the Prix du Livre are some of the best-respected in photography.
Three Prix are up for grabs in three categories this year – the Historical Book Award, the Author Book Award, and the Photo-text Book Award, each of which come with a €6000 prize to be shared between the photographers and their publishers. The books are on show at Arles until 23 September, and the winners will be announced in the opening week.
Late in 2010, Michele Sibiloni left the sleepy town in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy where he had lived all his life and moved to Kampala in Uganda, a city eight times larger. He had come to cover the lead up to the 2011 general election in the country, which many had predicted might depose its leader, following the lead of the Jasmine revolution in North African countries. But, despite the jitter, all Sibiloni witnessed once the voting had ended was the swearing-in of President Yoweri Museveni for his fourth term in office since he helped overthrow Idi Amin in 1979. Even so, Sibiloni was hooked. “It’s so different to where I come from,” he tells me, by telephone from his apartment in Kampala. “At the beginning I found it really chaotic, but the more time I spent here, and the more I got to know about the surrounding region of East Africa, the more fascinated I became. In fact, I got really excited.”
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Christian Boltanski’s After in Amsterdam’s Oude Kerk This recently-opened exhibition in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam is a real must-see. It’s a radical and site-specific exhibition by Christian Boltanski, who is known as one of the greatest artists in the world, with a ouevre that deals with the way we remember and commemorate. In the Oude Kerk, with its eight centuries of history and 2,200 memorial stones, his work is very much at home. The artist is creating a site-specific composition consisting of seven different works that address the existential question of what happens after our life has come to an end. Considering Boltanski made a bet on his own life, a bet which expired this year, this work is very much autobiographical. After is an exhibition that is expected to have a profound impact on the audience. The installations, which are in proportion to the size of the centuries-old church, are invasive and they address the visitor even in a literal sense. Over 50 black tombs, varying in size and height, arise from the …
“They are places you go to when you’ve lost everything – but not before,” says Klaus Pichler of the Viennese bars that feature in his latest book, Golden Days Before They End, released in June and now in its third reprint. It’s one of two books Pichler shot in 2016. The other, This Will Change Your Life Forever, currently in the design stage and due to be published in October, is a sarcastic critique of the esotericism industry and the photography that feeds it. Pichler collaborated on Golden Days with journalist Clemens Marschall, who was familiar with Vienna’s rapidly disappearing old dive bars and the often ‘colourful’ patrons that clung to them. “Clemens has always gone to these bars,” explains Pichler. “He doesn’t like to go to fancy places. Five years ago he noticed that these bars are beginning to close down because of increased regulation, an inability to adapt to a changing city, and a dying clientele.”