Honor Roll: 'Black Vanguard' and 'Michael Jang' Win Lucie Book Prize

By David Schonauer   Thursday February 18, 2021

What were the best photo books of the past year?

The Lucie Foundation has announced the fourth annual Lucie Photo Book Prize winners. Top honors in the Traditional category goes to writer and curator Antwan Sargent’s The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, which highlights the work of young black fashion photographers reshaping black identity today.

“The central argument is that there’s a new movement in photography being led by a group of young international black photographers who are working in a commercial context but are influenced by photographs and photographers who have existed primarily in an art context,” Sargent noted in an interview with Art News in late 2019. “They’re doing that through the language of fashion, which I find really interesting, given the fact that fashion photography is the biggest stage in all of photography.”

The book features work by, among others, Campbell Addy, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Micaiah Carter, Awol Erizku, Nadine Ijewere, Quil Lemons, Namsa Leuba,Tyler Mitchell, Jamal Nxedlana, Daniel Obasi, Ruth Ossai (below), Adrienne Raquel and Dana Scruggs. “Their work has been widely consumed in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on their individual social-media channels, re-infusing the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance,” noted Aperture.

The shortlist in the traditional category includes Ming Smith: An Aperture Monograph; Girl Pictures by Justine Kurland; Autoportrait by Samuel Fosso; and Side Walk by Frank Horvat.

The winner of the Lucie Book Independent category is the monograph Who Is Michael Jang? from a San Francisco–based photographer who spent nearly four decades working as a successful commercial portrait photographer and all the while also assembling a vast archive of thousands of remarkable images that documented Hollywood celebrities, San Francisco street scenes, his family, and more.

“Jang revealed nothing of that vast archive for almost 40 years until 2001, when he submitted a number of images for consideration to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art,” notes the book’s publisher, Atelier Editions. “His work attracted immediate acclaim, and for the past fifteen years he has revealed those images in a series of national and international exhibitions and books.”

The shortlist in the Independent category include He Threw the Last Punch Too Hard by Hannah Kozak; The Quickening by Ying Ang; and Performance Review by Endia Beal.

The Lucie Foundation also announced that the grand-prize winner of its Open Call: Portrait Project initiative is photographer Lisa Sorgini’s “Behind Glass - Self portrait with my sons,” (below), a series documenting 25 mothers and their children experiencing isolation in their homes during the global pandemic.

The Open Call project features the work of 50 photographers, on view in an online exhibition. A portion of the proceeds from the project supports World Central Kitchen, notes the Foundation.

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