A new photobook featuring the work of William Gedney (1932-1989) has been short-listed for the prestigious 2013 Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. Gedney’s life work is housed in the Archive of Documentary Arts, part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke. Thousands of his photographs and notebooks made between 1950 and 1989 have been digitized and are freely available on our website.
The photobook, Iris Garden, combines forty-four photos by Gedney with twenty-two stories written by legendary avant-garde composer John Cage. It was edited by Alec Soth, designed by Hans Seeger, and published by Little Brown Mushroom. Both the Rubenstein Library and Kirston Johnson, curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts, are acknowledged for their help in providing the photographs which beautifully illustrate the book.
The layout of Iris Garden is a complicated arrangement of segments folded and layered inside and around each other. There is no one proper way to read through it. By opening and unfolding different pages, the reader enjoys a new order and experience every time. The structure parallels Cage’s interest in the idea that “all things—stories, incidental sounds from the environment, and, by extension, beings—are related, and that this complexity is more evident when it is not oversimplified by an idea of relationship in one person’s mind.”
The Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards are held annually to recognize photobooks of superior quality and content. The ten books that were named to the short list represent, according to judge Vince Aletti, “a particular attention to the book as an object, in which selection of images, sequence, scale, typography, and materials are all carefully considered.”
A final winners of the PhotoBook Awards will be announced at Paris Photo at the Grand Palais on November 15.