Winner 2015

2015 Winner: Wild Pigeon – Carolyn Drake

Excellence distinguishes itself by the purity of its ambition and clarity of its truth.

Arriving separately at a unanimous decision, the jury finds Carolyn Drake’s extraordinary photobook Wild Pigeon to be the clear winner of the first edition of the Anamorphosis Prize.

Of the moment, intimate in scale yet broad in scope, the artist has elevated the form of the photobook with this enduring, original work. Wild Pigeon is uncompromising and unflinching in the highest expression of self-publishing. Here is a book that takes risks but is never careless, elucidates with an uncommon light without forsaking the beauty of mystery, speaks in a language foreign yet is clearly understood. Drake demonstrates a true and tireless dedication to her practice and a fearless pursuit of veracity with this authentic testament to her experiences and engagement within Uyghur culture. We are grateful for the ways in which this book honestly and creatively iterates her approach and puts her imaginative exchange with the Uyghur people at its center. Wild Pigeon tells an old story in a new way, not an easy thing to do. Our perceptions are changed and our imaginations heightened because of the originality of Drake’s pursuit.

Wild Pigeon

Carolyn Drake


2015 Jury Special Mentions

Anouk Kruithof

Beautiful Pig

Ben Schonberger

Beautiful Pig is a straightforward book as object, but it’s layeredness in design shows the complexities of identity through narrative mixed with questions about violence and lets us travel to bigger issues of great importance. I see this book as evidence of an investigation, which has been done by the artist into the life of a retired former Detroit Police officer, Marty Gaynor. Most of the pages of the book show Gaynor’s old photos in grids, where one can see his personal investigations during his employment; photos taken by Gaynor of almost all black criminals accompanied by handwritten instructions, personal findings and somewhat critical stereotypical notes. Subsequently, the artist did his investigation of the police officer through photographs he took and the quirky ways that he worked together with a: the retired man himself and b: his photographic archive. The book is extraordinary because it manifests Schonberger’s unraveled quest for social collaboration that lead to this book, which I see as a detection to a much more complex problem, one which is accurate and current. It’s like a loaded puzzle that cannot be resolved. I see this book as a metaphor, which provokes my spinning mind into the current enigma of violence and stimulates me to further thinking, therefore deserving my special jury mention.

John Phelan

Red String

Yoshikatsu Fujii

The human heart is a muscular organ.

Yoshikatsu Fujii’s Red String is an exquisite book.

From cover to content, the dual nature of love and family is beautifully and brilliantly explored. Fujii’s depiction of divorce is compellingly original in its design, composition, and voice. The lush, cream colored felt cloth jacket, so soft and soothing to the touch can also be imagined as a smothering blanket, too warm for comfort, stifling. The delicate, precise, hand stitching terminates in three loose red threads, like cut open veins, flowing and vulnerable. One each for mother, father and son, who, once connected are now apart. A life, unraveled. Inside, two books. Father on one side, mother, the other. An unbridgeable physical gap between the two. A life, marriage and childhood examined in a parallel manner, the son appearing on both sides. The slick re binding acts as a blood-glue, an artificial plasma holding together seemingly banal snapshots, drawings and keepsakes. Everything now tinted with the smudge of dissolution, each photo a slide examined under a microscope with a broken lens. We know the ending. This family album is clotted, the flow interrupted, the beat stopped, silent. No more pages will be added. This remarkable work demonstrates a rare, seamless integrity where the physical form perfectly mirrors the emotional tone, each serving the other. A harmonic study of dissonance.

Charlotte Cotton

2005

Thora Dolven Balke

Thora Dolven Balke’s book 2005 is something to treasure both the physical rendering – designed by Young Professionals – and the experience.  Dolven Balke’s Polaroid photographs – each a pungent residue of the ‘temperature’ of each photographic encounter – is wonderfully paced as an elliptical story that has a palpable sense of sentiment and fragility.  I love the arc of the book’s narrative and how that is supported by its design.  The printing perfectly aligns, with its powdery, on-the-edge-of- insubstantial quality. It’s one of those rare books where you remember exactly where you were standing when you first engaged with it.

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