Surprisingly, there didn't seem to be too much hoopla over the Blurb Photography Book Now competition this year. Was I absent, did they tone down the advertising, or is the thrill just gone? Anyway, going over the 1,947 entries is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. Fortunately, my review methods are less than fair or objective, and more like entirely subjective and arbitrary, which tends to speed up the process somewhat- if the cover don't grab me... next!
Although the judges came up with a couple of genuine winners, there seemed to be very slim pickings indeed. In fact, things got so genuinely boring as I failed to focus on even one entry on successive pages of twenty books, that I started to concentrate on nominees for worst title- something I should have done since the beginning with nom de guerres like: 40 Bird Shots, Hey Kids Don't Smoke Cigs, Etchings In Shades Of Grey, and the ever faultless classic, The Eye Of The Beholder!
So... what was worth gawking at this year? Most of these are already known, like Tom Wiks' domestic dysphoria, his suburban house landscapes that always make me smile. If I could afford his damn book, I'd be tempted to cut the pages out and hang them on the walls just to make me happy. Then there's Miska Henner's No Man's Land, the masterfully innovative Google landscape hookers that has already garnered much due attention. My sentimental fave, of course, is WTC by Brian Rose, which features photos of The World Trade Center throughout the years and boroughs.
|Photo: Valerio Spada|
As for the official winners, I have no problem with Valerio Spada's brilliant combination of original photographs and police documentation called Gomorrah Girl that won Grand Prize. And Travel Winner, Sunshine and Noir by Thomas Michael Alleman is perhaps my all time favorite Holga essay.
Perhaps we need less photo and Photoshop workshops, and more title and artist statement writing classes, and contests... Did I mention the unforgettable- A Way Of Seeing Is Also A Way Of Not Seeing. I think The Riddler shot that one.