A study of paparazzi photography in 1970s Italy and a book exploring representations of death in Western cinema have been awarded two of the most prestigious prizes in visual arts publishing, with a £10,000 prize split between the two awards.
The Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards are the UK’s leading prizes for photography and moving image books. Judged by a panel of prominent experts, they celebrate the books which have made original and lasting educational, professional, historical and cultural contributions to the field.
Sir Harold Evans, editor-at-large of Reuters, former president of Random House and prolific writer on photojournalism was presented with the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation’s Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Award, while South African photographer David Goldblatt has been named as the first ever Kraszna-Krausz Fellow in recognition of his extraordinary work in books throughout a distinguished career.
Conventionally associated with celebrity and fashion from the golden age of la dolce vita, paparazzi photography of a turbulent period in Italy’s recent past is the focus of Amore e piombo: The Photography of Extremes in 1970s Italy (Archive of Modern Conflict). Seeking to reappraise Italian photo-reportage, editors Federica Chiocchetti and Roger Hargreaves curated a selection of press photographs from the archives of Rome-based agency Team Editorial Services to capture the manifold aspects of the era, as the photographers oscillated between pursuing film stars at play and capturing the violence on the streets.
Mark Sealy MBE, Director of Autograph ABP and chair of the judges for the award, said: ‘Once discussed in competition against the other titles it was obvious that Amore e piombo represented a refreshing and engaging project that held attention through both design, content and its contribution as an object to the field of photography publishing.’
Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography and I provides the first in-depth study of the representation of death and dying in mainstream Western cinema from its earliest to its latest renditions. Dedicated to the popular, to the political and ethical implications of mass culture’s themes and imperatives, this book takes mainstream cinema to task for its mortal economies: for its adoration and absolution of some characters and expendability of others.
Francine Stock, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme, said: ‘If art wrestles with mortality, then cinema among the arts is bound in the most complex way. Characters in film are perpetually vital, however many times the picture runs, long after the actors are dead. Yet death is also everywhere - from the sensational, swift despatch of action films to the lingering expiry of melodrama. Michele Aaron's ambitious, original study seemed to us outstanding, a work that provokes profound thought about cinema's treatment of the inevitable human experience.’
As Irish photographer Ciarán Óg Arnold received the First Book Award 2015 for his project I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again, Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum said: ‘Selecting one outstanding book from these was challenging, but Ciarán Óg Arnold’s work was fresh, direct and involving and he is a deserved winner. The National Media Museum is also excited that all the shortlisted books and the works by the Award winner will be gifted to the National Collection of Photography.’
The Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards and the First Book Award 2015 is open until 28 June 2015 in the Virgin Media Studio, Media Space, Science Museum, London. The display presents a unique opportunity to look through copies of the nominated and winning publications in this year’s awards, alongside prints by previous First Book Award winners. Entry to the display is free. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/mediaspace
I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again
by Ciarán Óg Arnold
is published by MACK and is available to buy online and from the Science Museum shop. RRP £20. www.mackbooks.co.uk
Image: Michael G Wilson presents Sir Harold Evans with the Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Award © Science Museum