Winner: Between the Shell by Paul Salveson

Paul Salveson’s photographs were born in New York and Virginia between 2006 and 2011. Constructing images in domestic environments from items found in arm’s reach, the results are absurdist constructions in which commonplace objects are jocosely rendered in polychromatic puzzles.

Salveson describes his photographic process as 'unfolding like a private performance in an empty house, or after everyone falls asleep... my engagement emerges from a perspective that precedes familiarity, disregarding the functions and cultural associations that objects are assigned. I try to process my surroundings with an alien mind.'

The work was submitted to the First Book Award as dummy, and the artist then worked with MACK designers to produce the book to be published in October 2013.

Paul Salveson was educated at Bard College, New York (BFA Photography) and the University of Southern California (MFA thesis on toothbrush design). His work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Swiss Institute, New York, and Actual Size, LA.

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Almost There by Aleix Plademunt

Almost There was spurred on by the arrival of a postcard 101 years after it was sent. Aleix Plademunt explores the question of physical distance in this constant quest to photograph the impossible: the emotional proximity tying us to extremely far off places – in both space and time – places we’ve never been to or to which we can never return. By photographing the near (particles) and far (distant galaxies) Plademunt exposes his own relationship with space and time while making the viewer reflect on theirs.

The work was submitted to the First Book Award as a dummy that was shortlisted by the judges. Although it was not chosen as winner of the award, MACK decided to publish the work independently of the award.

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Aleix Plademunt
Almost There
Yohei Kichiraku
Myriam Ziehli
La Montagne Dorée
Sofie Knijff
Martin Reich
Lorenzo Vitturi
One Pound, Have a Look, Yam Yam
Oscar Monzón
Philip Poppek
Never Be So Sure: Pen, Rule and a Shimmer behind Stones
Ahndraya Parlato


Michael Mack
Michael has 20 years of art publishing experience as the managing director of Steidl and publisher of MACK. In 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Plymouth for his contribution to art publishing.

Greg Hobson
Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum, Bradford, Greg Hobson leads the Museum's curatorial team in the conception and content delivery of its curatorial programme of exhibitions, displays and associated events.

Polly Fleury
Polly Fleury is Director of Special Projects at the Wilson Centre for Photography where she works closely with museums, artists, galleries and publishers bringing historical and contemporary photography to public view.

Liz Jobey
Liz Jobey is an editor and writer. She is currently Associate Editor of the FT Weekend Magazine. Previously she was the Deputy Editor of Granta from 1998–2002, Associate Editor of Granta from 2002–2009, Editor of the Independent on Sunday Review and Literary Editor of the Guardian. 

Clare Strand
Clare Strand is a multi disciplinary photographic artist based in Brighton, England. She has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Her work is held in major collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Center Pompidou.

Previous Editions

First Book Award 2012