Photography and moving image winners celebrated in 25th And/or Book Awards

By Kirstie Brewer | 25 May 2010
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A black and white photo of a tribal ceremony of people clad in black robes holding cross with skulls in front of them

Robert Robertson won the And/or Best Moving Image Book for Eisenstein on the Audiovisual (above)

The winners of the prestigious And/or Book Awards have been announced by Oscar-winning film producer David Puttnam in an awards ceremony at the BFI Southbank.

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky won the Best Photography Book Award for Oil, and the award for Best Moving Image Book went to Robert Robertson for Eisenstein on the Audiovisual.

The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Awards, which are widely recognised as one of the UK's leading prizes for excellence in photography and the moving image, founded in 1985 by the influential Hungarian writer and publisher Andor Kraszna-Krausz.

Philippe Garner, chair of the Photography judging panel and Head of Photographs at Christie's, commended Burtynsky for his use of ambitious scale and message.

"Burtynsky tells the social, political and ecological story of how oil has fuelled the mechanisation and threatens the destruction of our world," he explained.

"The theme is highly topical, magisterial, haunting and highly effective. This is an important book."

A photo of pylons across a lake on a pastoral industrial terrain

Edward Burtynsky said
he had an "oil epiphany" in 1997

Edward Burtynsky's remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are in the collections of more than 50 major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

"In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany," he said. "It occurred to me that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for more than 20 years were only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine.

"These images can be seen as notations by one artist contemplating the world as it is made possible through this vital energy resource and the cumulative effects of industrial evolution."

The judges were looking for books which made a significant contribution to the understanding of the fields, using photographs and film stills as more than just a means of illustration.

Writer and broadcaster Francine Stock, chair of the Moving Image judging panel, said there had been no hesitation in crowning Robertson's exploration of early 20th century film director and theorist Eisenstein as the winner for Best Moving Image Book.

"Robertson achieves the near-impossible, shedding fresh light on Eisenstein without loading him with ideology," she observed.

"Like the work it describes, this book is symphonic – it draws together strong influences and forces around Eisenstein into a compelling and cogent narrative which is at once enjoyable and provocative."

More than 150 titles published in 2009 were submitted, and the two winning authors received a £5,000 prize cheque from the Krazsna-Krausz Foundation, the charitable organisation which runs the awards.

For more information visit the Awards online

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