2016 First Book Prize in Photography Countdown Highlights Past Winners: From 2010, Benjamin Lowy’s “Iraq | Perspectives”

From “Iraq | Perspectives” by Benjamin Lowy

From “Iraq | Perspectives” by Benjamin Lowy

The CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography is a biennial prize that offers publication of a book of photography, a $3,000 award, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of winners of the prize. Each year a significant and innovative artist, curator, or writer in photography is chosen to judge the prize and write an introduction to the winning book.

In the months preceding the 2016 prize’s submission deadline, we’re taking a look back at previous winners. Benjamin Lowy was selected as the 2010 prizewinner by iconic photographer William Eggleston. Lowy shot the arresting color photographs in Iraq | Perspectives over a six-year period through Humvee windows and military-issue night vision goggles. “Iraq was a land of blast walls and barbed wire fences,” he writes. “These pictures show a fragment of Iraqi daily life taken by a transient passenger in a Humvee; yet they are a window to a world where work, play, tension, grief, survival, and everything in between is as familiar as the events of our own lives.” The acclaimed book was widely reviewed and was chosen as a top photo book of 2011 by Time Magazine and the British Journal of PhotographyScroll down to watch a video and interview with Benjamin Lowy about his prizewinning project, and go to firstbookprizephoto.com/photogalleries to view work by all past winners.

Benjamin Lowy

Benjamin Lowy

“I was covering Iraq for years, 2003, 2004, 2005—I missed 2006—2007, 2008,” said Lowy. “At some point I realized all these pictures I’m making, they’re digital, appear mostly on the Internet for an hour before they’re refreshed with something new. . . . If you look at photojournalism in the last ten years, a lot of people have been pushing the envelope to create a new way of seeing because we’re so inundated with images day in and day out. It’s not like how it used to be, where a very few people had cameras. Now everyone has one, and you have to find a unique way of photographing something that’s different than what other people see, and expect to see. . . . A book lasts. It becomes something more. . . . A book, for photographers, is the ultimate legacy.”

Submissions for the eighth CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography are now being accepted through September 15, 2016. Peter Barberie, the Brodsky Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be this year’s prize judge. Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of the Aperture Foundation, will chair the selection committee that chooses the finalists.

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