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The Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards, established in 1985 by Andor Kraszna-Krausz, the founder of Focal Press, have announced the long and shortlisted titles for the 35th edition of the prize. The books in the running for the 2020 Photography Book Award and Moving Image Book Award address diverse global issues related to race, justice, identity, and the construction of truth, history and memory. Ranging from illuminating artist monographs and anthologies to in-depth critiques of photography or filmmaking, to photobooks reconstructing hidden stories, and much more, the lists reflect the Foundation’s enduring recognition of rigorous and original books that will likely have a lasting impact on their field.

Quil Lemons, “Purple,” South Philadelphia, 2018, from The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion by Antwaun Sargent (Aperture, 2019) © Quil Lemons

Photography Book Award judge Professor Elizabeth Edwards comments: “The significant themes that emerged from this year’s submissions clustered around identity, environment and the uses of history and memory. Overall the entries demonstrate the centrality of photography as a major articulation of submerged, contested but vital histories.” In lieu of an Awards Ceremony which usually takes place during Photo London, the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation has teamed up with The Photographers’ Gallery to announce the winners in September. A live stream event hosted by the Gallery will feature conversations about the two winning books.

La Toya Ruby Frazier, Mr. Yerby, Mom and Mr. Yerby’s Hands, 2005, Gelatin silver print, Pinault Collection. From LaToya Ruby Frazier (Mousse Publishing, 2019)

Brett Rogers OBE, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to partner with the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards which, over the past 35 years, have established an international reputation for recognising the most significant contribution in photography and moving image within the book-making field. From our earliest days, we have supported and championed the importance of the photo-book for photographers – as well as for photographic culture more widely – and regard its many brilliant and innovative variations of form as essential to the medium.”

‘Swimming Pool in Wiesbaden’ (1934) © Dr Paul Wolff and Alfred Tritschler. From Dr. Paul Wolff & Tritschler, Light and Shadow – Photographs 1920 bis 1950 edited by Hans Michael Koetzle (Kehrer, 2019)

Among the shortlisted titles for the Photography Book Award is LaToya Ruby Frazier published by Mousse Publishing and Mudam Luxembourg. With its commentary on poverty, racial discrimination, post-industrial decline and its human costs, this work leaves a lasting historical legacy and forms a pertinent contemporary commentary about the American condition. The almost magazine-like production values add to this sense of a historical ‘first draft’. Also in the line-up is Melissa Miles’ Photography, Truth and Reconciliation. Taking case studies from Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Canada and South Africa, Miles explores the dynamics through which artists have explored these compelling and difficult histories, raising questions of memory, identity and justice.

Masquerade No. 2 (Looking for Langston Vintage Series), by Isaac Julien. 1989/2016. Ilford classic silver gelatin fine art paper mounted on aluminium and framed. (Courtesy the Artist)

Sir Brian Pomeroy CBE, Chair of the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation said: “In this, our 35th anniversary year, the submissions have maintained an extremely high standard of image-making and authorship, carrying forward our mission to encourage and celebrate outstanding photo-books and books about the moving image. We are very pleased to be partnering with The Photographers’ Gallery in presenting the awards this year.” For both categories, the shortlist selected by the judging panel aims to showcase innovative and coherent bodies of work with a focus on cultural relevance for our current times and in the years to come. The judges also put precedence on each publication’s design, texture, and haptic qualities, aspects that are particularly poignant during this period of digital focus.

Figure 1.4, Portrait of Hiawatha and Minnehaha from 1908 filming of Hiawatha, Crow Reservation, Montana. From Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film by Allyson Nadia Field, Marsha Gordon, eds (Duke University Press, 2019)

In the Moving Image Book category, among other intriguing titles, discover Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film by Allyson Nadia Field and Marsha Gordon. Through its focus on the ways in which filmmakers developed and audiences encountered ideas about race, identity, politics, and community outside the borders of theatrical cinema, this essential examination of nontheatrical films reevaluates basic assumptions about American film culture and the place of race within it. Moving Image Book Award judge Dr Andrew Moor comments: “The longlist contains work that pushes at the boundaries of the cinematic. It is a set of books that aims to reinterpret the past, reflecting how moving images mediate our lives, animate our memories and vitally record our presence.”

Feature image: Micaiah Carter, Adeline in Barrettes, 2018, from The New Black Vanguard (Aperture, 2019)

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