The first photo books which made it – winners of ViennaPhotoBookAward 2017

Mariya Kozhanova 3 place of the book dummy competition of Vienna Photobook Festival 2017 for the dummy “Sisters”

1. Where are you from? Where and when did you study photography?

I come from Kaliningrad — the most western city of Russia. I am considering myself as a self-thought photographer, because I only took classes of analogue printing techniques at the Kaliningrad Union of Photographers in the early days when I just started to get interested in photography, and last year, I was nominated for Joop Swart Masterclass organized by World Press Photo, my first real photography class.

2. Is it your first photo book? If not the first one, please give the links to the others

It is my first book.

3. Have you ever received photographical prizes? Have your books been shortlisted?

I am a winner of Fotomania (2011), Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards (2016) and I received the Grand Prix at Faith Love Youth competition (2016). I am also winner of the Portfolio Review at 4th Singapore International Photography Festival 2014, Kaunas Photo festival 2015 and PhotoVisa 2015.

4. What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about the project: how has it started, how have you worked on your dummy and why, in your opinion, has it won the prize?

My book Two Sisters is a poetic story about youth at its most powerful and fragile stage. It is a visual poem. The moment of full blossoming in nature or in human life is very short and is like a change of seasons. In my book, I capture this moment so we could come back to reside it over and over like a looped moment of the most vulnerable stage of beauty. As many things in life, this book happened for me as a chain of coincidences that took place. I photographed this body of work quite a long time ago, but it rarely was presented, because I couldn’t find for myself the perfect way to present it. And after some printing experiments earlier this year with tracing paper, I saw the pile of images as a final book, as a sequence that you are taking as one piece and I just couldn’t isolate individual images.

“Two Sisters”
2017
3 copies
210x148mm
30 pages

Viacheslav Poliakov, 3 place of the book dummy competition of Vienna Photobook Festival 2017 for the dummy “Lviv – God’s Will”.

1. Where are you from? Where and when did you study photography?

I am from Kherson, Ukraine. Now I am based in Lviv, Ukraine. Have no photography education, Internet education, I guess.

2. Is it your first photo book? If not the first one, please give the links to the others.

It is. And it’s not even a book, it’s a dummy, I have to find a publisher to make a book. Some other projects you can find here – via-poliakov.com. But I never tried to promote them. It’s the first time.

3. Have you ever received photographical prizes? Have your books been shortlisted?

I’m laureate of the Krakow Photofestival Showoff 2017 and Lodz Photofestival Grand Prix 2017. And shortlisted to the Prix Levallois 2017 with “Lviv – God’s Will” project. This dummy was also presented at Odessa Batumi Photofestival 2017 and as a part of “Ukrainian Dummy Award” selection by “Rodovid” publisher at Polycopies (Paris, France).

4. What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about the project: how has it started, how have you worked on your dummy and why, in your opinion, has it won the prize?

This story is about those of us with whom life just happens. It takes place when the connection between cause and consequence is no longer coherent. I am documenting a naïve visual subculture of public space, which has become widely spread throughout Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union faced globalization. For me, a central peculiarity of the culture is the absence of conscious author. The objects of city environment are formed by means of accidental interaction of unrelated people, by mistakes, destructions, wild vegetation. Finally, by no one. Everything is God’s will. All the objects collected in the book were photographed without any interference on my part. However, in most photographs, I сut off the background in order to isolate the subjects from all that chaos, which usually surrounds them. “Lviv – Bozha Volya (literally God’s Will)” – a bus route, which connects a city with a small village lost in the forests on a very border with the European Union. “Bozha Volya” in Ukrainian derives from the same word root as madness. The name is an artistic image and has nothing in common with geography.

The project takes its roots in works of artists of my hometown Kherson. They have been ever interested in strange things. But it is too deep. The project started from my rejection of the surrounding urban culture. Thanks to Internet, everyone can start perceiving oneself and ones’ culture as something exotic. I took photos of things which I don’t like. What made me emotional (in negative sense). In first sequences of pictures I had a desire to describe the real urban area. While working I understood that I don’t need to describe anything. I need to make something. Something which could help me to accept the reality. When I got a feeling that it is starting to happen, I started working on the book dummy. A half year ago I began sending the dummies to the competitions. I have no idea why my book was selected. Maybe after ten more revues I will understand it.
(It has been recently announced that Poliakov is among the winners of FOAM Talents 2017. His works will be published in the Talent Issue of FOAM Magazine and exhibited in Amsterdam. Congratulations!).

 

Libuše Jarcovjáková 2 place of the book dummy competition of Vienna Photobook Festival 2017 for the dummy “Praha, Berlin, Tokyo”

1. Where are you from? Where and when did you study photography?

I was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, nowadays Czech Republic. With the exception of several years which I spent in Berlin I was always living there. I started to study photography at the age of 15 on the Prague Graphic School and later in the early eighties on the FAMU – The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

2. Is it your first photo book? If not the first one, please give the links to the others.

The Black Years is my first photo book. Although I was intensively photographing almost the whole my life I have rarely published and exhibited my work. Approximately ten years ago I started to work with my archive and step by step I am revealing what I have done in the past .

3. Have you ever received photographical prizes? Have your books been shortlisted?

No, never.

4. What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about the project: how has it started, how have you worked on your dummy and why, in your opinion, has it won the prize? 

The book “The Black Years” introduces my authentic photographic and literary journals . Spanning the years 1971–1987, the journals wring out the black-and-white everydayness of Prague, Berlin and Tokyo, uncovering the beauty of the era as well as its decay. The book offers a combination of photographs, journals and letters mapping out 17 years of my raw young life. I have always moved in extremes. I have lived in bars, worked graveyard shifts at a printing company, gone through dozens of lovers of both sexes, photographed at semi legal gay clubs, even taught the Czech language to Cubans and Vietnamese – while, at the same time, moving through respected artistic circles. I was acquainted with the Czech photographic elite. I photographed in Japan, working for global brands, and then dove straight back down to the bottom, into the black-and-white everydayness of the Communist regime. I was continuously overstepping the borders and social stereotypes, pushing through the era’s stiff manners and morals.

The Black Years documents the real life of people living in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s – or, perhaps, the life they were afraid to live. And when I moved further, after my emigration to West Berlin I continued in the same direction there. I photographed and documented everything I saw – and The Black Years is the living proof. The book was published in the December 2016 by Czech publisher “wo-men”. For the portfolio review I prepared the light version of the book in English “Praha, Berlin, Tokyo”, which was more like monograph with almost no text, just images. I am still on my way seeking the publisher who will publish my book in English.

 

p.s The winners of the dummy competition Robert Pufleb and his colleague Nadine Schlieper (both come from Dusseldorf) unfortunately didn’t find time to answer the questions for the blog telling that they are too busy at the moment with the work on their book publishing (btw, it is also their first book dummy ever). The idea of their winning book project “Alternative Moons” one can get here.

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