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Chicago photographer wins 2020 Kraszna-Krausz photo book prize

LaToya Ruby Frazier wins 2020 Kraszna-Krausz photo book prize
Grandma Ruby and Me, 2005, by LaToya Ruby Frazier (Image credit: LaToya Ruby Frazier)

LaToya Ruby Frazier has been awarded the Photography Book Award for her eponymous book LaToya Ruby Frazier, published by Mousse Publishing & Mudam Luxembourg. The Chicago-based photographer wins a £5,000 prize in the 35th edition of the Photography and Moving Image Book Awards. 

The annual Awards celebrate outstanding and original publications that will have a lasting impact on their field. In lieu of a physical awards ceremony, the 2020 winning titles will be showcased in a live streamed in-conversation event in partnership with The Photographers’ Gallery in London on 30 September 2020. 

Published to accompany her exhibition at Mudam Luxembourg in 2019, LaToya Ruby Frazier includes works from three of Frazier’s major photographic series: The Notion of Family (2001–14), On the Making of Steel Genesis: Sandra Gould Ford (2017) and And From the Coaltips a Tree Will Rise (2016–17). 

Émile’s hands, Flénu, Borinage, 10th October 2016. Jean - Claude’s hands, Flénu, Borinage, 10th October 2016. Silvio’s hands, Flénu, Borinage, 10th October 2016.  (Image credit: LaToya Ruby Frazier)

With its commentary on poverty, racial discrimination, post-industrial decline and its human costs, the book leaves a lasting historical legacy and forms a pertinent contemporary commentary about the American condition. 

"In my photographs, I make social commentary about urgent issues I see in the communities or places I’m in," says LaToya Ruby Frazier. "I use them as a platform to advocate for social justice and as a means to create visibility for people who are on the margins, who are deemed “unworthy”: the poor, the elderly, the working class, and anyone who doesn’t have a voice. I create depictions of their humanity that call for equity. That is what is dear to my practice and my position as an artist".

Mom and Mr. Yerby’s Hands, 2005 by LaToya Ruby Frazier. Gelatin silver print, Pinault Collection. (Image credit: LaToya Ruby Frazier)

Book cover from LaToya Ruby Frazier's eponymous photobook: Sandra Gould Ford in Her Office in Homewood, PA, 2017 (Image credit: LaToya Ruby Frazier)

Hannah Frank has been awarded the Moving Image Book Award for Frame by Frame: A Materialist Aesthetics of Animated Cartoons, published by the University of California Press.

The judges for this year’s Photography Book Award were Professor Elizabeth Edwards, visual and historical anthropologist and independent scholar; Peter Fraser, contemporary British photographer; and Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks. 

The Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards are sponsored by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation, which was created in 1985 by Andor Kraszna-Krausz, the founder of Focal Press.  Andor Kraszna-Krausz (KK to his friends) was born in Hungary in 1904. After studying photography and cinematography at Munich University he began his publishing career in Germany in 1925 as the editor of Filmtechnik magazine. In 1937 he emigrated to Britain and a year later founded Focal Press, an influential specialist publishing house for books on photography. During KK’s lifetime Focal Press published 1,200 books.

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