Israeli-Palestinian conflict title wins Best Photography Book prize

Israeli-Palestinian conflict title wins Best Photography Book prize

Fazal Sheikh has won the Kraszna-Krausz Best Photography Book of the Year award for The Erasure Trilogy (Steidl).

The Kraszna-Krausz Foundation announced the winner for the Best Photography Book Award and the Best Moving Image Book Award of 2016, during an awards ceremony at Photo London. 

The winning trilogy is the culmination of a five-year documentary project which saw Sheikh explore the links between landscape, conflict, memory and loss in Israel’s Negev desert, seen through "the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.  

Judges Anne Lyden, in the role of chair, Mark Power and Julian Stallabrass, said: “The Erasure Trilogy poetically deals with memory loss and the desire to preserve memory through Fazal Sheikh’s systematic documentation of a region of the world where land rights and national boundaries are constantly in contention. Fazal Sheikh has produced a fascinating account of the geo-political situation of Arab-Israeli relations in an innovative way that sets the bar for documentary photography today. The strong conceptual underpinning of this documentary project and the innovative design approach in creating a compendium to reveal the nuances of Israeli-Palestinian relations makes this particular publication stand out.”

An image from The Erasure Trilogy

The award of the Best Moving Image Book meanwhile went to L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (University of California Press), edited by Allyson Field, Jan-Christopher Horak and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, charting the history of the influential black film-making movement at the UCLA between the 1960s and 1990s. The judges called it "a groundbreaking and highly readable compendium”.

The awards, which are worth a combined £10,000, celebrate “excellence in publishing” and are made to books that have made "an outstanding, original or lasting contribution to the literature of photography and the moving image" each year.

During the event photographer Don McCullin was also announced as the recipient of The Kraszna-Krausz Fellowship, which recognises photographers whose careers exemplify the highest standards of photography book production. With a compassionate focus on documenting the plight of victims of war, poverty and shifting political landscapes across the globe, books have been central to McCullin’s practice for much of his fifty year career. Irreconcilable Truths, a three-volume boxed set marking the definitive retrospective of his life and work, is published by Provocateur Press later this month.

The full longlists for the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Best Photography Book Award and Best Moving Image Book Award were on exhibition as part of Photo London at Somerset House over this weekend.