The goal of BUP Book Award is to promote a photobook as a form of individual artistic expression, to let the artists speak freely about things they consider important and referring to all of us. Within the award, we are looking for unique photography-based projects, which are intended to become a book.
2022 BUP Book Award Winners:
Tacaná by Antonio Rodriguez
After the great depression of 1929, Guatemala’s fragile economy collapses. The US embassy observes the nonconformity in the working class and “the accumulation of red storm clouds”. A strong leader is needed in the country. Jorge Ubico is an efficient military man, implacable governor and the sum of privileges inherited from the oligarchy, the right man to guard the status quo. His triumph in elections as the only presidential candidate is the singing of salvation that announces the establishment of a new State, correct as a patina that homogenises.
While visiting Guatemala a few years ago, somebody accidentally reveals a familial secret to me in a brief sentence: “Your grandfather went into exile in Mexico at the time of Jorge Ubico in the 1930’s”. Actually this is the first time I hear something about him but no one wants to speak anything else about those days. However four photographs - his scant gestures of survival that my family keeps together with an old Mexican migration ID, suggest that my newly-met grandfather was a dissident voice from the regime imposed in Tacaná, his hometown.
The discovery is strange and fascinating like the old photos that I find (maybe they find me) in a Berlin antique dealer, days before traveling to Guatemala: photos of a Zeppelin’s journey from Germany to America by an unknown author, also taken during the thirties. Why does the the dictatorship persecute him? What kind of violence face him and his family? Why is his identity document disrupted, the only one preserved in the Guatemalan official records? What does the repressive apparatus of the State set in motion to depoliticise his existence, even to envelop with impunity everything around him in a cloud of fear and darkness? Driven by my self-chosen exile in Berlin, I embark on a journey to find out the reasons behind the years of forced absence of my grandfather, to try to understand the unknown which one idealises by recognising a sense of belonging with it. Tacaná is a journey of encounters and divergences with the mutation of realities - own, foreign and invented - still sheltered in the self-censorship.
Hotel of Eternal Light by Karolina Spolniewski
Hotel of Eternal Light is a visual investigation into the field of dictatorship and totalitarian systems during the recent history of Europe - using the example of Communist abuse of power by the secret intelligence service in the former GDR- known as Stasi. The project was shot in the former hidden Stasi prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen, symbol of political persecution and oppression.
The focus is upon the sense of light, used perniciously by the prison regime as a form of control, torture and communication code. Inmates described the prison ironically as Hotel of Eternal Light not knowing where they have been detained, acknowledging the constant artificial illumination that was designed to suspend time. Here is a different side to what light usually symbolises - hope, redemption, being saved. No one was meant to be reformed in this prison. The goal was the annihilation of the inner self. Various methods of white torture and light (X-rays, light corridors, flashing lights, blinding, black isolation, etc.) were used to psychologically break the prisoners. This radical experience in isolation and in loneliness as describes by Hanna Arendt in Origins of Totalitarianism, makes us unable to experience the world, unable to make sense of reality, unable to trust our own sense of the self.
It is understood that the Stasi used radiography to secretly harm unwitting inmates and civilians it wanted to track. A range of radioactive tags had been developed including floor paint, hand pump sprays, radioactive pins for clothes, etc. X-ray machines were administered to release enormous doses of radiation that produced latent effects of intoxication, that later manifested into forms of cancer in many inmates. The subjects were placed on a chair in a photography room meant for "mug shots” and left for hours until a photograph was taken. Though the main procedure was entirely hideous as behind them, obscured by a curtain was the X-ray machine, found in 1989 afer the fall of the Communist regime.
2022 BUP Book Award shortlist
- Vincen Beeckman (Belgium) - Inside Diary
- Sara Bennett (USA) - Inside & Out: Portraits of Women Serving Life Sentences
- Bénédicte Blondeau (Belgium) - Ondes
- Christelle Boulé (Switzerland) - Botanica
- Diana Cortés (Mexico) - Memorias sin archivo [Archiveless Memories]
- Gael del Río (Spain) - Evocare
- Alvaro Deprit (Italy) - Bubble Chamber
- Paola Favoino (Italy) - Unnamed Island
- Uta Genilke (Germany) - Rauhnacht [Rough Night]
- Maëlle Helias (Belgium) - Cent Dessus Dessous [One Hundred Above Below]
- Michael Honegger (France) - The Need to Know
- Ana Lorente (Spain) - Si las paredes callaran [If Walls Were Silent]
- Marisol Mendez (Bolivia) - Madre
- Patricia Morosan (Germany) - (I) Remember Europe
- Ilja Niederkirchner (Germany) - The Final Snow
- Zula Rabikowska (United Kingdom) - Nothing But a Curtain
- Dillon Roberts (USA) - Dotted Line
- Antonio Rodriguez (Germany) - Tacaná
- Karolina Anna Spolniewski (Germany) - Hotel of Eternal Light
- Oana Stoian (Romania) - Ecce Homo
- Laura Tapia (Spain) - Ojos Melados [Honey Eyes]
- Peggy Washburn (USA) - Precisely Now
Vincen Beeckman (Belgium) - Inside Diary
Sara Bennett (USA) - Inside & Out: Portraits of Women Serving Life Sentences
Bénédicte Blondeau (Belgium) - Ondes
Christelle Boulé (Switzerland) - Botanica
Diana Cortés (Mexico) - Memorias sin archivo [Archiveless Memories]
Gael del Río (Spain) - Evocare
Alvaro Deprit (Italy) - Bubble Chamber
Paola Favoino (Italy) - Unnamed Island
Uta Genilke (Germany) - Rauhnacht [Rough Night]
Maëlle Helias (Belgium) - Cent Dessus Dessous [One Hundred Above Below]
Michael Honegger (France) - The Need to Know
Ana Lorente (Spain) - Si las paredes callaran [If Walls Were Silent]
Marisol Mendez (Bolivia) - Madre
Patricia Morosan (Germany) - (I) Remember Europe
Ilja Niederkirchner (Germany) - The Final Snow
Zula Rabikowska (United Kingdom) - Nothing But a Curtain
Dillon Roberts (USA) - Dotted Line
Antonio Rodriguez (Germany) - Tacaná
Karolina Anna Spolniewski (Germany) - Hotel of Eternal Light
Oana Stoian (Romania) - Ecce Homo
Laura Tapia (Spain) - Ojos Melados [Honey Eyes]
Peggy Washburn (USA) - Precisely Now
BLOW UP PRESS (BUP) established in 2012 is a family run publisher of photobooks and lens-based art books. Originally online publisher, BUP switched to paper in 2016. Since then it has become a recognisable producer of sophistically designed books dealing with thought-provoking topics, following the motto When the story matters. BUP collaborates with emerging and established photographers from around the world. Next to the books, BUP also publishes doc! photo magazine dedicated to contemporary photography. Since 2020, BUP organises annual contest BUP Book Award which goal is to promote photobooks as a way of communicate important subjects.
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doc! photo magazine, publication devoted to contemporary photography