Three Ukrainian photobooks make Rencontres d’Arles Book Awards shortlist


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The Rencontres d’Arles is a summer photography festival founded in 1970. Each year the Rencontres d’Arles Book Awards support photographic publishing in three categories. Books by Ukrainian photographers were nominated for The Author Book Award, which recognizes the best author project for a contemporary photography work. This year, the category features 70 books from around the world.


Dark medical humor, a refugee’s journey, and Malanka celebrations are among the topics explored by the Ukrainian nominees:


Bolnichka by Vladyslav Krasnoshchok, designed by Calin Kruse/ FLUUT Grafik-Design and published by Moksop (Kharkiv, Ukraine)


“Bolnichka” is a photographic diary of a Kharkiv artist and maxillofacial surgeon Vladyslav Krasnoshchok. This surrealist narrative, filled with dark medical humor, illustrates the unhealthy state of the post-Soviet medical system in Ukraine: Strenuous work in the outdated infrastructure and meager medical salaries for are disproportionate to the responsibility they bear.



My Mom Wants to Go Back Homeis a debut photobook by Hanna Hrabarska (Ukraine), designed by Edwin van Gelder and published by Jap Sam Books (The Netherlands).


This book describes the photographer’s mother’s experience of fleeing to the Netherlands. According to Hanna Hrabarska, her project reveals aspects of life after crossing the border that cannot be fully disclosed in a news reporting format because it requires contemplation of one person’s life over a long period of time.



Malanka by Yelena Yemchuk (USA – Ukraine), designed by Katja Bruhin and published by Edition Patrick Frey (Suisse).


“Malanka” is Ukrainian-American visual artist Yelena Yemchuk’s sixth photobook. Like all bodies of work by Yemchuk, “Malanka” is personal, feminine, surrealist, and touched by a spell. The eponymous tradition is a pre-Christian, heavily incantatory folkloric ritual that takes place on January 14, the Old New Year in the Julian calendar. It is celebrated by ethnic Romanians in western Ukraine, and its origins are largely unknown.

A pre-jury composed of Laura Morsch-Kihn, Emilie Pautus, and Chloë Rebmann established a pre-selection. This year, 122 books have been shortlisted in all three categories and will be on display throughout the festival. 


The winning publications in the three categories will be announced during the festival’s opening week, July 1–7, 2024. Each award comes with a 6,000-euro prize and recognizes a photographic work published between May 1, 2023 and May 10, 2024. On July 2, France PhotoBook will launch the third edition of the Arles Books Fair where French photobook publishers will showcase their works.


The full list of the nominees could be found here.


Copy editing: Joy Tataryn, Terra Friedman King