Back in the day, during the early years of my photography career and upon the suggestion of a friend, I entered a “first book,” contest. The open call brought submissions from bookmakers around the world with the idea that one of us would walk away with our first book, something that had historically been of great importance to photographers both established and brand new. I entered, promptly forgot about the entire experience, and went on with my life. That was until a note popped into my inbox. “You have been chosen as a finalist….first book prize…if you win…..stay tuned.”
My first realization was that someone besides my mother enjoyed my work! But then my mind began formulating all the potential outcomes. Fame, fortune, assignments. Maybe even one of those giant scarves us photographers seem to love. But I didn’t win. Someone else did. And actually, the person who won thoroughly deserved it, at least in my opinion. I enjoyed his work more than my own and I was glad to see him land this precious prize. Despite not winning, over the years, the fact that I was a finalist for a first book is something that has not only stayed with me, it has also stayed with certain people in the book and photography industries. Being selected meant something.
So, when I noticed the open call for the MACK First Book Award I was pleased and somewhat anxious, but not for me. I was anxious for those creatives collecting and designing their thoughts on those precious pages, thinking about the “what if?” just like I did all those years ago. Books are so much more than ink and paper. They’re evidence, proof and in some ways eternal. Books are tangible, thoughtful, and often the best way to tell a photographic story. And they are certainly evidence of the ability to encapsulate an idea. So, for those of you who have books on the brain, I highly suggest you take the time to enter because you just never know. Win or lose the effort could pay off in ways you never imagined.
Submissions for the MACK First Book Award are open now through January 20, 2020.