Edition 2021


The Rencontres d’Arles Book Awards were created in order to support the swift growth in the publishing of photography books and to help them reach a broader public. There are now three categories of books: Authors’ Books award, Historical Books award and Photo-text Books award. The Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature backs and encourages the Photo-Text Award, which celebrates the relationship between words and images. Each award comes with a €6,000 prize and singles out the best photography books published between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021. A pre-jury and a jury of photography experts will choose the shortlisted works and the Book Award winners. Each book submitted is deposited in the library of the École nationale supérieure de la photographie d'Arles. The shortlist is presented to the public in a dedicated place throughout the festival and the Book Award winners are announced during opening week.

Title : The Idiots Delight
Photographs and texts : Duane Michals
Publisher : Editions Bessard
Graphic design : Sybren Kuyper

Special mention
Title : John Cage: A Mycological Foray
Photographs: collective
Texts : Kingston Trinder and John Cage
Publisher : Atelier Editions
Graphic design : Capucine Labarthe

Title: To Make Their Own Way in the World, The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes
Texts and photographs : Collective
Publisher : Aperture Foundation & Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Harvard University
Graphic design: Duncan Whyte

Special mention
Title : 1839. Daguerre, Talbot and the publication of photography. An anthology.
Texts: Steffen Siegel
Publisher : Macula
Graphics : Schaffter Sahli

Title : Freedom Is Not Free
Photographer : Mashid Mohadjerin
Publisher : Royal Academy Fine Arts
Graphic design : Jelle Jespers

Special Mention
Title : Whatever You Say, Say Nothing
Photographer: Gilles Peress
Publisher: Steidl
Graphic design : Peress / Steidl

The jury was composed of :
Pascal Beausse, Head of the photography collection at Cnap (president of the jury)
Clara Bastid, Co-curator of the exhibition Jazz Power !
Ekow Eshun, Author and curator of the exhibition Africa State of Mind
Anne Lacoste, Director of the Institute for Photography in Lille
Vera Michalski, Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature
Jean-Marc Prévost, Director of the Carré d'Art de Nîmes
Sophie Quéval, Head of cultural programming Fnac Sud-Est


48 shortlisted books out of 636 received.

Rémi Coignet, author and critic
Delphine Manjard, bookseller specialized in photography
Anna Planas, artistic director and freelance curator

This €6,000 prize is for the best book presenting a project by a contemporary photographer.

26 books shortlisted
[Title, photographer/author, publisher]

Two Thousand Words, Roberto Aguirrezabala, éditions Roberto Aguirrezabala  
Cut Outs, Jessica Backhaus, Kehrer Verlag     
Estudio Elemental Del Levante, Ricardo Cases, Dalpine
Galerna, Jon Cazenave Arriola, Atelier Exb     
Virus, Antoine D'Agata, Studio Vortex   
Everybody's Ataturk, Mine Dal, Edition Patrick Frey   
Equation du temps, Raphael Dallaporta, The Eyes Publishing
Los Angeles Standards, Caroline & Cyril Desroches, Poursuite
Weathering Time, Nancy Floyd, Gost Books    
Face To Face, Seiichi Furuya & Christine Gossler, Chose Commune        
Detroit. Field Notes from A Wild City, Franziska Klose, Spector Books      
Universal Tongue, Anouk Kruithof, Art Paper Editions
Hoarder Order, Thomas Kuijpers, Fw:Books    
Sister Sister, Liv Liberg, Art Paper Editions      
Libre maintenant, Pierre Liebaert, L'éditeur du dimanche
Hernie & Plume, Katherine Longly, The Eriskay Connection
Dear Imaginary Audience, Eva & Franco Mattes, Spector Books    
Ciprian Honey Cathedral, Raymond Meeks, Mack     
Freedom Is Not Free, Mashid Mohadjerin, Royal Academy Fine Arts        
Dystopia IV: Pallas, Maxime Muller, auto-édition        
Paris Nord, Myr Muratet, Building Books           
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, Gilles Peress, Steidl          
Ce qu'il se passe, Mathieu Pernot, Editions Gwinzegal
You I Everything Else, Linn Phyllis Seeger, Skinnerboox      
I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine, Pacifico Silano, Loose Joints     
Family Stranger, Wiosna Van Bon, The Eriskay Connection

This €6,000 prize is for the best documented work, thematic or monographic, on photography or a photographer.

10 books shortlisted
[Title, photographer/author, publisher]

Claudia Andujar, Claudia Andujar & Thyago Nogueira, Fundacion Mapfre
Voir Paris, Atget, Eugene Atget, Atelier Exb
How to Look Natural in Photos, Bartecka & Rusznica, Palm Studios
To Make Their Own Way in The World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes, collectif, Aperture Foundation
Une histoire mondiale des femmes photographes, sous la direction de Luce Lebart & Marie Robert, éditions Textuel
1839. Daguerre, Talbot et la publication de la photographie. Une anthologie, Steffen Siegel, éditions Macula
Nasa Apollo 11. Man on The Moon. The Visual Archive, Studio Tillack Knoll, Spector Books
La Primera Movida, Miguel Trillo, Archivo Lafuente, La Fabrica
Encampment, Wyoming - Selections From The Lora Webb Nichols Archive 1899–1948, Lora Webb Nichols & Nicole Jean Hill, Fw:Books
Hayal & Hakikat: A Handbook of Forgiveness & A Handbook of Punishment, Cemre Yeşil Gonenli, co-published by Gost Books and FiLBooks

This €6,000 prize is given to the best book in which photographs and words contribute to the work in equal parts. The text is judged not for its length but for its intrinsic role and how it constitutes the body of the work with the photos, without being descriptive captions, an introduction or a critical essay.

12 books shortlisted
[Title, photographer/author, publisher]

How I Tried to Convince My Husband to Have Children, Olga Bushkova, Witty Books
The Parameters of Our Cage, C. Fausto Cabrera & Alec Soth, Mack
Sans lui, Sophie Calle, Atelier Exb
John Cage: A Mycological Foray, collectif, Atelier Éditions
Agata, Bieke Depoorter & Agata Korbus, Auto-Edition
Beyond the Shadows, Elsa & Johanna, Éditions H2l2
On This Day, Klara Kallstrom, Thobias Faldt & Thomas Sauvin, co-édition B-B-B-Books & Beijing Sivermine
Je suis malheureuse et heureuse, Anaïs Horn, Meta/Books
How to Rejuvenate an Eagle, Adam & Dyba Lach, auto-édition
The Idiots Delight, Duane Michals, Édition Bessard
The San Quentin Project, Nigel Poor, Aperture Foundation
Unprofessional, Matilde Soes Rasmussen, Disko Bay

Main partner: Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature.
With support from Fnac for the Author Book Award.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture