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Symposium: Photography Book Award in partnership with the V&A / 14 December 2022

The Kraszna-Krausz Foundation is delighted to be collaborating with the new Parasol Foundation Women in Photography project at the V&A to present a special event celebrating this year’s winning title, What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999 (10×10 Photobooks).

A symposium of editor, curator and artist presentations will take place on Wednesday 14 December at the V&A in South Kensington. Hosted by Fiona Rogers (inaugural Curator of the Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project), an international group of participants will discuss their books, the challenges and joys of developing a project for publication and their practice more broadly.

Whilst this event and content is curated for adults, we welcome parents with young children. We will also be live streaming, if you are unable to attend or access the Museum

This is a free event but booking is essential. Reserve your place here.

Programme Schedule:

4pm: Welcome and introductions
4.10pm – 5.10pm: Presentations by Russet Lederman, Olga Yatskevich and Mariama Attah
5.10pm – 5.30pm: Break
5.30pm – 7pm: Presentations by Dr Marta Weiss, Erika Lederman and Rhiannon Adam
7.00pm – 8pm: Drinks reception


Editors Russet Lederman & Olga Yatskevich of 10×10 Photobooks will join us to discuss the development of their seminal new anthology. ‘What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999‘ which sheds light on photobooks created by women from diverse backgrounds and addresses the glaring gaps and omissions in current photobook history—in particular, the lack of access, support and funding for non-Western women and women of colour. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of classic bound books, portfolios, personal albums, unpublished books, zines and scrapbooks, ranging from well-known publications to the more obscure.

Rhiannon Adam was longlisted for this year’s Kraszna-Krausz Photography Award for her book ‘Big Fence / Pitcairn Island’ (Blow Up Press). The Pitcairn Islands are Britain’s last Overseas Territory in the Pacific Ocean. Pitcairn Island itself (25°4′0″S, 130°6′0″W) is the only inhabited island in the group, and though it is diminutive in both size (measuring just two miles by one mile), and population (now fewer than 50), it has garnered widespread interest for the last two centuries. In 2015, Adam, inspired by a childhood gift of The Mutiny on The Bounty and a desire to capture the island’s fragility on expiring analogue film, made the long journey to Pitcairn Island. Due to the quarterly shipping schedule, she remained trapped on the island for 96 nights.

Adam will speak about the long development of this project and its eventual manifestation in book form. Designed to be as impenetrable and complex as the island itself, the book is comprised of two parts: Adam’s own experience of the island as related through her captions and personal stories, and a volume of photographs and related archive.

Mariama Attah (Curator of Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool) will speak about the essay she contributed to ‘What They Saw’, and will discuss what has been included in the book, what has been left out, and more broadly why this book is such a valuable and necessary addition to the canon of writing on photobooks.

Erika Lederman will focus on Isabel Agnes Cowper (1826-1911), the first official photographer for the V&A Museum, and, in particular, Cowper’s role in relation to South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) publications and contribution to photobook history.   

Dr Marta Weiss will speak about the pre-eminent nineteenth century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) with special reference to her use of the book form. In 1874, Alfred Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, invited Julia Margaret Cameron to make photographic illustrations to his Idylls of the King. This was a series of narrative poems based on the legends of King Arthur. After her large photographs were published as small, wood-cut copies, Cameron decided to produce an edition illustrated by original photographic prints. She accompanied these with extracts from the poems written in her own hand and printed in facsimile. She claimed to have made as many as 245 exposures to arrive at the 25 she finally published in two volumes.

Photography Book Award Symposium in partnership with the V&A
Wednesday 14th December, 4pm – 8pm
The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, V&A South Kensington


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