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International Photobook Exhibition 2016

With many thanks to our selectors David Campany, Lucy Kumara Moore and Dewi Lewis. This exhibition would not have been possible without the many hours of volunteer work by the team of Brian Steptoe FRPS (leader), Rod Fry ARPS, Avril Harris ARPS, Tom Owens ARPS and Kate Wentworth LRPS. We particularly thank Avril for giving up large parts of her home to collect, unwrap, store, rewrap and mail books for return. Š 2016, Catalogue by bjs design All photos and book layouts are copyright of the book authors and print photographers


The 25 short-list photobook entries



Carlos Alba, UK, The Observation of Trifles 7 Thom and Beth Atkinson, UK, Missing Buildings 8 Liz Benjamin, UK, Grey 9 James Berrington, UK, The Place of Home 10 Rossella Castello, UK, Sonder 11 Ana Paula Estrada, Australia, Memorandum 12 Alysandra de Gonville Morrison, UK, London-Holyhead A5 13 Chris Gravett, UK, Gravette The Heart of Hometown America 14 Jeff Hutchinson, UK, Five days in Northumberland with Doris 15 continues over page




Kacper Kowalski, Poland, Side Effects 16 Antoine Leblond, France, ressha ga kimasu 17 Alexandra Lethbridge, UK, The Meteorite Hunter 18 Beata Lyky, Germany, Protected View 19 John MacLean, UK, Hometowns 20 Aimée Mae, Wales, UK, Please don’t call me Vodka 21 Mieke klein Obbink, Netherlands, Recollected 22 Arnaldo Pappalardo, Brazil, Entre 23 Max Pinckers & Quinten De Bruyn, Belgium, Lotus 24 Rick Pushinsky, UK, Songs of Innocence and of Experience: A Study Guide 25 Mafalda Rakoš, Austria, I want to disappear-Approaching Eating Disorders 26 Robert Zhao Renhui, Singapore, Christmas Island, Naturally 27 Nicolas Silberfaden, France, 738 28 Kiki Streitberger, UK, Travelling Light 29 Nat Urazmetova, UK, The Persimmon’s Fruit 30 Mo Verlaan, Netherlands, Resonance 31 Prints with book shown at Espacio Gallery Ángel Amero 32 Robert Bedson 32 Elizabeth Brown 33 Antoinette Castro 33 Richard Earney 34 Chris Gavett 34 Robert Herringshaw 35 Mark Kelly 35 Keith Locke 36 Tom Owens 36 Chris Roche 37 Siegfried Rubbert 37 Brian Steptoe 38 Neil Wittmann 38


The World of the Photobook ‘Great pictures, very enjoyable to look at’ … Lucy Moore comment on the

winning entry. ‘A pleasurable, enjoyable and interesting day’ ... Dewi Lewis and David Campany, after the selections were made. Just as photographs are often divided into genres: landscape, portrait, wildlife etc., so also are photographic books. There are monologues, catalogues, histories of photography, and ‘photobooks’. Following the publication of the three Martin Parr/Gerry Badger books “The Photobook: A History” since 2004, as well as becoming a very popular form of presenting photography, a particular form has been established. Photobook is not a convenient term for any type of book mainly comprised of photographs. A photobook today is required to have a storyline or an overall theme. It needs a reason to actually be a book; to give a response to the question that is most asked of a fiction book - what is it about? This RPS International Photobook Exhibition, open to all to enter, is thought to be the first such exhibition held in the UK. Competitions and exhibitions for photobooks have become established in Europe, but for some reason not in the UK. An analysis by Matt Johnson, who runs The Photobook Club, lists over 12 such exhibitions across Europe during 2015 and the signs are of greater numbers in 2016. The RPS entry of 155 books from 23 countries across the world stands well as a first-time entry number. The RPS Council agreed that the exhibition would be organised on behalf of the Society as a whole by a team from the Contemporary Group, whose ethos for photographs to be ‘about’ a topic most closely matches that for the photobook. Five group members carried out the tasks involved normally handled by the exhibitions department and facilities at Fenton House. continues over page


The short-list of 25 entries chosen by our three selectors experienced in the world of the photobook illustrate the range of topics and styles of the photobook today. The winner and second place entries have strong conceptual styles, drawing in the reader; the third place entry shows straight photography applied to an architectural subject of value; then there are books based on family, often incorporating ‘found’ images. There is even a wildlife entry, not often seen in a photobook, about issues on Christmas Island, the Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. There is one book selected on migrants and one on eating disorders, although more might have been hoped for on other issues of today. And among those chosen is a hon.mention entry which is a slice of real life and a bit of fun. As for the entries that did not make the final selection, a reason for many would seem to be that their authors had not carried out research to identify what would be required of a photobook. Books of high quality photographs without an underlying concept of ‘value’ failed to go forward after due consideration. Of course any selection has a large element of personal choice and there are many entries that did not make it for reasons of not matching up to the ‘values’ seen in the 25 that were finally chosen after much discussion and reasoning between all three selectors. Brian Steptoe, September 2016.


Carlos Alba, The Observation of Trifles

28x21.5 cm Carlos Alba walks the streets around Bethnal Green, trying to make sense of his surroundings on coming to London from Madrid. He photographs as he goes and also collects objects on his journeys.


Third prize

Thom and Beth Atkinson, Missing Buildings

28.5x24 cm Hidden from view but in plain sight, Thom and Beth’s self-published book shows the outlines of roof lines and of floors of buildings now missing, bombed during World War II in central London. Each photo is accompanied by a title of its location. The book cover is impressed with a chart showing where these bombs fell.


Liz Benjamin, Grey

23x27 cm Photographs of greyhound racing stadiums and retired racing dogs are the subject of Liz Benjamin’s selfpublished book. Images of track number markers and from cigarette cards issued in 1927 and 1928 add to the feelings of past history felt throughout the book.


James Berrington, The Place of Home

23x18 cm James Berrington’s book examines the relationship between the physical home, geography, time and memory. The family album, examples shown here, sets the scene. The book introduces places, room details and locations in the London landscape in a carefully considered sequence which fulfils the set storyline.


Rossella Castello, Sonder

Five books in slipcase 19.2x14.5 cm ‘Sonder’, an invented word means ‘that there are other people in the world with as interesting a life as an author’. Each of the volumes shows activities in the lives of several of these ‘other people’ as captured in images by Rossella Castello, the author here.


Ana Paula Estrada, Memorandum

Edition of 200, 21x14.8cm This book is the outcome of an artists’ book Fellowship at the State Library of Queensland. Repeated portraits in separate sequences present situations of memory as shown in these examples.


Alysandra de Gonville Morrison, London-Holyhead A5

Edition of 50, 24x25 cm This book documents the 181 miles of the original A5 route from Marble Arch, London, to Admiralty Arch, Holyhead. This route is largely unchanged since it was a Roman road.


Chris Gravett, Gravette, The Heart of Hometown America

25x37.5 cm

The small town of Gravette in Arkansas, US has a population of 2600 and 23 churches. Chris Gravett discovered it through a Google search. There is a distant family link between the two names. This book records the people and places of today in this previously prosperous town, embarking on restoration since 2014.


Hon. Mention

Jeff Hutchinson, Five Days in Northumberland with Doris and some random acquaintances

15x21 cm

A five day visit to see Doris, the author’s mother-in-law, with the intent of cheering her up, as she had recently been a bit offcolour. Each photograph is accompanied by Doris’s remarks. top - ‘I’m not a morning person’ bottom - ‘That steak & kidney pie hasn’t agreed with me’.


Kacper Kowalski, Side Effects

22.3x32.5 cm

A book of photographs from the air, looking straight down and presenting the many effects arising from human activity, often showing unintended consequences. Each image is accompanied by its latitude and longitude.


Antoine Leblond, ressha ga kimasu (Train you can)

Edition of 200, 26x18 cm Atmospheric photographs documenting trains in Japan, mainly concentrating on the driving front engine. All are accompanied by the location where they were taken.


Alexandra Lethbridge, The Meteorite Hunter

25x17.5 cm

Hunters who are committed to finding rocks from space take us to a place where the earth itself becomes a small object in the vastness of the universe. Chapters are headed ‘Meteoroid Orbiting’, ‘Meteor Falling Rocks’ (top photo) and ‘Meteorites Impact’ (bottom photo).


Beata Lyky, Protected View

29.5x23 cm

A different view of London Zoo, with text and photos that are about thoughts rather than content of the images. The text relating to this lower page spread is about Cooper getting to grips with typography of place in David Lynch’s film ‘Twin Peaks’.



John MacLean, Hometowns

Book dummy, 31x24cm An introductory text by Aaron Schumann establishes hometowns as the places where young children who venture outside their houses alone for the first time eventually come to consider their surroundings as home and not just the “outside�. There follows a page of names of 22 photographers and artists together with hometowns in which they spent their formative years. Photographs in the book show images, some straight, many with created components, with interpretation references to each of these named photographers. Footnotes on each page are the initials of all the referenced photographers/artists, with the one applicable to the book author’s photo on that page highlighted. The sequencing and the book spreads retain an evenness in visual quality even though being in the many styles of their references. References - top l to r : Robert Cumming, Gabriel Orozco, bottom l to r: Wassily Kandinsky and Graham Sutherland. 20

AimÊe Mae, Please don’t call me Vodka

28x20 cm

Without text, this book covers all the happenings in and around club life and its culture


Mieke klein Obbink, Recollected

21x28.5 cm

Photos shot on film as a response to whatever she comes across, these are personal views of the author. Most have been taken in the Netherlands, often close to where she lives.


Second Prize

Arnaldo Pappalardo, Entre

Book dummy, 26x22 cm

This book presents images made by four different techniques: 35mm b&w film, digital colour, gum bichromate printing and gum bichromate printed by inkjet. The author is asking the viewer to engage with the images and the spaces between them, also thinking of connections between still photography and cinema, painting, drawing and poetry.


Max Pinckers and Quinten De Bruyn, Lotus

27x19 cm

This book documents the world of transsexuals, socalled ladyboys, in Thailand. It also aims to illustrate the way in which intended documentary work nevertheless reflects the personal views of a photographer.


Rick Pushinsky, Songs of Innocence and of Experience: A Study Guide

23.5x21 cm

This book is a response to William Blake’s 1789 illustrated collection of poems. They are of found and fabricated sculptures based around Blake’s poems, together with short sentences relating to building a vision of the world.


Mafalda RakoĹĄ, I want to disappear - Approaching Eating Disorders

Book dummy, edition of 10 24x19 cm This book focuses on the personal experiences of those who are suffering from, or have overcome, anorexia, bulimia and related disorders. It is a collaboration between the author and the participants, who have each decided what they wanted to contribute to the work. Included are interviews, drawings, sculptures and writings of those featured.


Robert Renhui, Christmas Island, Naturally

Edition of 450 22x30.5 cm

The photographs and texts in this book are about the unique biodiversity on Christmas Island and the threats arising from invasive species, for example feral cats. Christmas Island is now an Australian Territory in the Indian Ocean, with settlers first arriving in 1887, reaching over 2000 in number by 2001. These have now been resettled on the Australian mainland. Today, access to the island requires a permit and the intent to study its biodiversity.


Nicholas Silberfaden, 738

Edition of 300, 30.7x23,8 cm

738, a project exploring the city of Los Angeles. The title is the number of the building where the author was living. It aims to explore the tension of living in a city on top of the San Andreas Fault.


Kiki Streitberger, Travelling Light

21x21 cm This book is about people who risk all to cross the Mediterranean to escape the conflicts in and around Syria. They have been interviewed by the author and the belongings they first brought with them photographed. top - Hecmet, aged 49, housewife, now in Germany. bottom - Inas, aged 6, now at school in Germany.


Nat Urazmetova, The Persimmon’s Fruit

Edition of 250, 23x16 cm This book is a photographic essay by the author, depicting her journey to Japan. It shows subjective observations about the essence of Japanese culture, combined with short texts, creating a poetic story.


Mo Verlaan, Resonance

Edition of 300, 32x23 cm A quote at the start of the book states ‘Nothing exists that does not affect something else’. This book is about the author’s fascination with light and illumination in the image and how it makes something ordinary become extraordinary.


Prints with photobooks exhibition, shown at Espacio Gallery, London Ă ngel Amero

Robert Bedson


Elizabeth Brown

Antoinette Castro


Richard Earney

Chris Gravette


Robert Herringshaw

Mounted prints by Permajet Mark Kelly


Keith Locke

Tom Owens


Chris Roche

Siegfried Rubbert


Brian Steptoe

Neil Wittmann


With thanks to our sponsors


This catalogue illustrates the short-listed photobooks that were chosen from the entries for the Royal Photographic Society International Photobook Exhibition 2016. The three selectors were David Campany, Lucy Kumara Moore and Dewi Lewis. The winning entry was Hometowns, by John MacLean, second was Entre, by Arnaldo Pappalardo, third was Missing Buildings, by Thom & Beth Atkinson and a Hon. mention was given to Five days in Northumberland with Doris, by Jeff Hutchinson. The catalogue also illustrates the ‘prints with a photobook’ by 14 RPS members that were exhibited at the Espacio Gallery, London in support of the exhibition of short-listed photobooks.

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Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2016 catalogue  

Descriptions and covers plus page spreads from each of the 25 shortlisted entries chosen by the selectors. The winning entries are identifie...

Royal Photographic Society Photobook Exhibition 2016 catalogue  

Descriptions and covers plus page spreads from each of the 25 shortlisted entries chosen by the selectors. The winning entries are identifie...

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