PhotoBoox Award 2019

Mayumi Suzuki, The Restoration Will, ceiba editions, 2017 | vincitore PhotoBoox Award 2017
by Chiara Ruberti

PhotoBoox Award 2019 is an international contest dedicated to the photobook, promoted by Photolux, ceiba editions and Grafiche dellArtiere.
The winning project will be produced and published by ceiba editions with the contribution of Photolux and Grafiche dell’Artiere. The award is realized with the cooperation of Miami Photo Fest and the media partnership of Eyes Open! magazine.
We met Eva Maria Kunz, founder and artistic director of ceiba editions and member of the jury.

How did you start the collaboration with Photolux and what sparkled the idea of ​​your publishing house to step in as a partner of the PhotoBoox Award?
The idea of ​​setting up a prize, of giving photographers the opportunity to see their projects published, in a context where publication was not a dead end result, has been our own since the foundation of ceiba.
Doing things on one’s own is difficult and limiting, so we asked for the help of those we knew (the EyesOpen team!) of those well established realities with which we were already working (Grafiche dell’Artiere), to understand if they were open to collaboration, each one according to their specificity and skills. Manuela Cigliutti immediately put us in touch with the Photolux team, which launched the first edition of the Photolux Dummy Award in 2015. We met, we talked about it and we were on the same wavelength.

Yoshikatsu Fujii, Incipient Strangers | winner Photolux Dummy Award 2015

So, on the practical side, Photolux added an important financial, but not only, contribution, joining us, in charge of production,  Grafiche dell’Artiere for printing, and EyesOpen! for distribution. It was vital to the success of the award to have the opportunity to present the project during an exhibition and to launch the book during a festival like Photolux, which is part of an international circuit. The award no longer meant just having the book printed, but also offering visibility to the project and represented an important recognition to the photographer himself.
The synergy between all the partners involved and the excellent collaboration with Photolux has confirmed that together we can do it. And we’ll do it again!

During the last edition the jury gave their preference to the work of Mayumi Suzuki, who received many important international awards in 2018. Can you tell us about the work, carried out side by side with the author, which followed the transformation of the dummy into a book? What were the main steps and goals achieved?
For us, as a publishing house, the primary objective is that the author is happy and satisfied with the final result. If this then translates into acknowledgments from third parties, maybe even internationally, then it is a big plus, confirming that the jury saw right, and that our work has been done well. It is a risk to get your hands on something already well done and try to improve it (and not to break it). Having to respect the limits and rules of printing in a typography, like the series binding, or the need to keep the final price as affordable as possible for the public, makes everything, let’s say, more interesting.

Mayumi Suzuki, The Restoration Will (dummy), winner PhotoBoox Award 2017

After an important debate within the jury we knew that we had to smooth down the dummy, make the access to the story more intuitive and bring out the motivations of the author in a more convincing way. Working with Mayumi Suzuki was gratifying, we have found an author who was very open to our proposals and to the changes we thought necessary, but also firm and determined when necessary. We spoke at length with her, it was an all-round collaboration, a three ways work (the photographer, the publishing house and the book) and with the aim of bringing the latter a step higher. I can’t deny that it was a lot of work; traditional publication has its limits, which we try to overcome with manual labour. Mayumi also gave us a great help in exchange for a rich Mediterranean diet, as she is a big fan of regional food, always looking for new tastes and recipes.

Mayumi Suzuki, The Restoration Will, ceiba editions, 2017 | winner PhotoBoox Award 2017

What kind of projects would you like to see this year?
I hope to see new, different ideas, quality photography, convincing concepts, strong motivations, points of view, involvement. I want to feel a punch in the stomach, I wish I could lose myself into the projects, I want to be forced to think. It would be nice to see more of south of the world, Africa, the south of the Americas and Asia, meaning more photographers from those areas, not stereotypical photography about Africa for example, of that there is too much.
I would love “small” personal stories, the ones that can be found in everybody’s back yard, designed and shot in such a way they could touch many viewers. I would like to see photography that is simply beautiful, which can take us somewhere else and makes us dream, that can show me my own film, regardless of what the next person sees. I wish I could laugh. And cry. Even simultaneously.

Shortlist PhotoBoox Award 2017: the dummies

What advice can you give to those who want to apply? How should they structure the dummy they want to send?
Simplicity. Less book, more dummy. It is not necessary to use the final materials or expensive ones, or to have a perfect print or a perfect binding, to spend tens (or hundreds) of euros for a dummy. What matters most is the motivation behind an idea, a concept, a story, and photography. The design of the book comes later, to highlight and elevate the work, and can be changed as we go along. We are looking for a dummy with an idea of ​​how the project could be presented, but not necessarily a definitive version.
Paper (copy paper), scissors, not rock but glue and, for those who know how to do, needle and thread, otherwise tape, they all work fine. A printer like the one we all have at home is enough. There are also paper mills that provide blank samples, or just take a notebook and fill it. The printing shops that work with degree thesis could help you without having to spend a fortune. More than searching for perfection in the dummy, take care of the photography, text if any, their connection, the sequence and the placing of photos in the page, the other components if necessary.

What do you think about the jury?
I am very happy that with the jury we cover such a large base. There are those who edit books, those who produce them, those who sell and distribute them, and even those who collect and exhibit them, all at an international level. But the most important thing is that we have very different set of eyes, this guarantees that any kind of work will be taken into consideration. The entire jury lives and breathes books and photography every day, this reassures me.

Is there any news for the 2019 edition?
As said, on one’s own everything is more difficult and limiting. Therefore we are happy that with the 2019 edition of PhotoBoox Award we can expand, and, in February 2020, bring the winning project to the Miami Photo Fest and offer a presentation of the book and a personal exhibition, and where you can also see the shortlist. A further opportunity for the winning photographer to be known by a wider audience. Another open door.


DEADLINE: March 31st, 2019
info: PhotoBoox Award 2019
tel: +39 0583 53003


January 22, 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *