History confirms it – the first photobook was made by a woman, with British photographer Anna Atkins publishing Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843, a year before Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature. Still, many historians, including Allan Porter in his introduction to The Photobook: A History, dismiss Atkins’ work as “photographic prints” rather than photography.
“Unfortunately, this is far too often emblematic of the uphill battle women photobook-makers still encounter when we talk about their history,” says Russet Lederman, co-founder of 10×10 Photobooks. “As we conducted research for the How We See project, we discovered that although women photographers produce relatively equal numbers of photobooks to men, their representation in the higher-profile sectors was, and still is, disappointing.”
Laia Abril, Nina Berman, Sohrab Hura, and Carmen Winant are all in the running for the prestigious Paris Photo/Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year Award, which will be announced on 09 November at Paris Photo.
In total ten books have been shortlisted for the award; in addition, 20 books have been shortlisted for the First Photobook, and five for the Photography Catalogue of the Year. All the shortlisted books will go on show at Paris Photo and at the Aperture Foundation in New York, then tour to various venues across Europe, as well as being featured in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Photobook Review. In addition the Photobook of the Year winner will receive $10,000.
Federica Chiocchetti, the writer, curator, lecturer, and founding director of the photo-literary platform Photocaptionist picks out her top five of the year – including Giorgio Di Noto’s The Iceberg, published by Edition Patrick Frey
The founder of Firecracker and Global Business Development Manager of Magnum Photos picks out her top five of 2017 – including Megan Doherty’s Instagram feed
The Dutch photographer’s epic Imperial Courts project, which was shot over 22 years, impressed the judges with its “affirmation of photography’s power to address important ideas through pure image”
Questions of truth and fiction, doubt and certainty, and the relationship between the observer and the observed are the key themes of the £30,000 prize – which rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a body of work felt to have significantly contributed to photography