Rafal Milach’s “Black Sea of Concrete” Awarded Photography.Book.Now $25,000 Grand Prize for Best Self-Published Photography Book

Winners chosen from over 2,400 photography book submissions from 50 countries in the competition’s second year

San Francisco, Calif.
September 10, 2009

Rafal Milach, a professional photographer from Warsaw, Poland, was awarded the $25,000 Grand Prize, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, in the second annual Photography.Book.Now competition for his photography book, "Black Sea of Concrete." Mr. Milach’s work was chosen as one of the most creative, most innovative and finest self-published photography books entered into the competition by an esteemed panel of judges. It was ultimately decided by lead judge Darius Himes, a co-founder of Radius Books, to award Milach the Grand Prize. This year’s competition featured more than 2,400 entries from 50 countries around the world.

Mr. Milach created his body of work about contemporary Ukraine while shooting with 8 other photographers from the Sputnik Photos collective. Commissioned by the Belgian-based NGO Altemus, Mr. Milach focused on the Black Sea coastline during the bitter winter of 2008. Mr. Milach edited the work and worked with graphic and book designer Ania Nalecka, with whom he has collaborated on two other photography volumes.

"I’m thrilled this body of work was noticed and recognized for this prestigious award,” said Mr. Milach, Grand Prize Winner, Photography.Book.Now. “This was my third project with Ms. Nalecka, who worked on the concept and layout after I provided her with a full edit. I’m always glad to work with someone whose eye I trust, because I get too attached to the images. Designing a photography book is dramatically different than presenting images on the web or in an editorial publication."

“Rafal Milach’s ‘Black Sea of Concrete’ stood apart as this year’s Grand Prize winner,” said Darius Himes, lead judge, Photography.Book.Now. “Mr. Milach’s work is a wonderful embodiment of the judges’ criteria: strong photography, important subject matter, vigorous edit and intelligent sequencing, combined with a thoughtful attention to those elements that are specifically book-centric, including type treatment, page-layout and cover design. By enlisting the assistance of a designer and an editor, Mr. Milach exhibited care and attention to the book as a whole; it was truly teamwork that led to a better end result. As lead judge, I’m proud to award the Grand Prize to a relatively young photographer and book artist, and I look forward to seeing more from Mr. Milach in the future.”

The second annual Photography.Book.Now International Juried Competition is put on by Blurb®, the creative publishing platform (www.Blurb.com) that allows anyone to design, publish, market, and sell professional-quality books. The photography book competition celebrates self-published photography books and the photographers behind them. Out of 2,400 submissions, the top 85 books are acknowledged as top prize winners and Honorable Mentions. The prize winners are listed below, and the Honorable Mentions are acknowledged on the Photography.Book.Now website and in the Photography.Book.Now bookstore.

Submissions to the Photography.Book.Now competition are available for purchase in the Blurb Bookstore.

To honor all winners, judges, partners, sponsors, and supporters, Photography.Book.Now is bringing the photographic community together for several meet-ups. The meet-ups will be held in New York, San Francisco, London, and Chicago, with the kick-off event and awards ceremony in New York on September 23.

For more information on all meet-ups, and to RSVP, please visit pbn.blurb.com/social_events.

“We were blown away by the work that was submitted last year, and this year was even more incredible,” said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb. “Again this year it was truly moving to speak with each winner and hear the back-story behind their books. Congratulations to Mr. Milach and all the other winners and honorable mentions, and thank you to our judging panel, to all our entrants, and to our generous partners, sponsors, and supporters. We hope to see you all at our meet-ups this fall.”

About Photography.Book.Now 
Photography.Book.Now is an international juried self-published book competition, and a celebration of the most creative, most innovative, and finest photography books – and the people behind them. Now in its second year, Photography.Book.Now offers photographers of all stripes the opportunity to showcase their work to a world-renowned panel of judges, and take a shot at a $25,000 grand prize. Submissions closed on July 16, 2009. For more information on prizes, sponsors, and upcoming social events, visit www.photographybooknow.com.

About Blurb®

Blurb® was founded on the premise that everyone – not just the talented few – should be able to publish, share, and distribute beautifully realized digital and print books with first class production values. Whether creating books for friends and family, for business colleagues and prospects, or for global audiences who may wish to buy your book, Blurb’s platform is built for you. By creating a business model that enables the company to profit on a unit of one, Blurb has opened up the world of publishing to everyone who has access to a computer and a story to tell.

Blurb’s independent publishing platform offers the ability to design, publish, share, market, distribute, and sell both digital and print books. Further, Blurb puts book creators in full control by providing a comprehensive publishing toolkit: a suite of free book design tools including Blurb BookWright™, an Adobe InDesign® plugin and Adobe Lightroom® integration, a variety of print and distribution options, book format and paper choices, and online selling and social sharing tools.

Launched in 2006 by CEO Eileen Gittins, Blurb now enjoys global scale via more than one million book authors, resulting in nearly three million unique book titles so far.