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2024 First Edition Photobook Award

Group of four individuals holding books
Award recipients and their books at the opening reception and awards celebration. Image courtesy of Artspace TMU gallery.

We are thrilled to announce the 2024 winners for the First Edition Photobook Award!

The TMU Libraries First Edition Photobook Award was instituted in 2015 by Special Collections Librarian Alison Skyrme and Image Arts Instructor Christopher Manson. As part of MPS507 – The Photographic Book, 3rd year Image Arts students conceive of, and produce photobooks during the course, based on their photography. The course concludes with a group show of the books at TMU Artspace gallery.

Each year, TMU Libraries purchases the First Edition Award winning books from the students, catalogues them, and houses them in Special Collections. The winning books are selected by a jury panel using design, sequencing, and integration of images and text as the main evaluation criteria.

The First Edition Photobook Award is generously sponsored by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.

First Edition Photobook Award Recipients

Pink book cover with the title FRISSON!

Sai Bagni, Frisson! A universe built from my observations of my online youth. It is a coming-of-age that exists in pixels and code. Frisson: a word of French origin that describes a feeling of fear or excitement that precedes the anticipation of something that’s about to happen. It denotes the act of waiting and anticipating for something that stands out amongst the banality of everyday life.

Madison Chow, Works of the Flesh. A collection of Polaroids and long exposure imagery that explores the body, created with the intention to speak to experiences of sexualization in the church. Paired with handwritten text, the images create a biblical narrative, using its symbolism to confront and heal from religious trauma.

Dark red book cover with the title Works of the Flesh
Newsprint with an image of a metal paper airplane and the text HAUTE COUTURE

Max Grueninger, HAUTE COUTURE. By reimagining the purpose of each image and subtly weaving fashion elements into the narrative, the visuals aim to inspire a new generation to see the term haute couture as not merely clothing but as a dynamic, evolving concept that can transform and elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Alejandra Harrison, Murder at Monochrome Manor. Inspired by the classic board game Clue and visual styling of film noir Murder at Monochrome Manor explores the limitations of photography in data collection and the power of individual understanding. Offering minimal context to enhance the interactive element, this work invites viewers to take on the role of investigator by examining the images for clues and piece the mystery together to find a solution they interpret.

Black book cover with the outline of a file folder
Grey marble book cover with stains from cups

Sophia Markelj, Generational Flavours. Explores the intimate connection between food, family traditions, and cultural heritage. Using passed-down dishware, tablecloths and cutlery, I explore a gift my grandmother gave me before she passed. Motivated by the notes she left me, these images become not merely representations of dishes, but visual tributes to the love and stories passed down through generations.

Joon-Young Lee, Nicotine, Glass & Fabrics. A photographic love letter to 3 friends who have been apart of my entire career as a photographer. The book recontextualizes each image to reflect on the memories and relationship built from them, paried with transcripts from my conversations with each friend.

Book cover with hands making the shape of a heart over cigarettes
Book cover with an image taken inside the front of an airplane

Christie Xu, A Place On Earth. In the summer of 2023 my partner and I plotted out our longest cross-country flight after a failed attempt last winter break. “A Place On Earth“ documented our trip from Albany, New York to visit Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana where he started his flight training, just in time for our friend’s graduation. After that, we head South to Huston, Texas before turning back to New York via Louisiana, Tennessee and Ohio. This book includes polaroids and 35mm film during flying.

2024 Jury Panel

This year we were fortunate to have a judges panel that included Kristen Adlhoch, Holly Forsythe Paul, Jennifer Park and Rahim Perez-Anderson.

Kristen Adlhoch holds a BFA in Photography from Toronto Metropolitan University, and an MLit and PhD in the History of Photography from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She is currently a Part-Time Lecturer and the Student and Partner Outreach Coordinator for the Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management MA program at TMU.

Holly Forsythe Paul is a rare book librarian who received her M.I. from the University of Toronto in 2021. Prior to her studies in librarianship, Holly taught English literature and writing at University of Toronto for over a decade. She is currently the Special Collections Librarian at TMU Libraries and teaches Conservation & Preservation of Recorded Information at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.

Jennifer Park is the Art Preparator at The Image Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is also a Co-Coordinator of the IMC’s Art Handing Apprenticeship Program which offers training to BIPOC who are in the early stages of their career in museum work.

Rahim Perez-Anderson is a Black visual storyteller, working out of Tkaronto/Toronto. Intrigued by human experience and the observation of life, Rahim specializes in self-portraiture and documentary photography, exploring his lived experiences within and around topics of identity, race, and selfhood.

Related articles

First Edition Photobook Show (TMU Artspace Gallery)

First Edition Photobook Show highlights TMU image arts students (The Eyeopener)

Grant Collingwood Fonds

If you’re looking for photographs from the 1940s to 1990s taken in Ontario, there is a wonderful collection at the Archives and Special Collections waiting for you!

The Collingwood collection was donated to the Archives & Special Collections in 2021 by a relative of the photographer. The collection consists of 35 mm and  2 ¼ negatives, prints, and textual records. The volume of the collection is high and it is being processed and it will be added to our database. A part of the collection consists of  acetate based negatives suffering from vinegar syndrome. Vinegar syndrome is a term that refers to the odor of vinegar that is emitted due to hydrolysis of the acetate base of the negatives. The deteriorated negatives require special care and handling practices and due to their condition are not accessible for viewing in the reading room. The Archives and Special Collections is in the process of digitizing the deteriorated negatives before moving them to cold storage to increase accessibility to the collection. 

Harold Grant Collingwood was born on August 4, 1909, in Exeter, South Huron, Huron, Ontario and died at the age of 87 in May 1996. As an avid photographer, he photographed well-known jazz musicians, street views, buildings, events and venues. He was a commissioned photographer who took photographs for numerous companies namely the Mclean Hunter newsletter and Chatelaine magazine. In his portfolio, there are photographs depicting the office culture of the 40s to 90s in Canada. You will be able to find photographs of important events like the Eaton’s main store demolition and buildings like the old City Hall and the new City Hall. As a result of the variety of subjects that Collingwood photographed, this collection can be used for researchers who are interested in Toronto street views, events and even fashion between the years 1940 and 1990. Additionally, since Collingwood was commissioned to photograph events for companies and businesses, it can also be an excellent resource for researching the existing industries and businesses in Canada during that time period. 

Drop by the Archives and Special Collections Department on the 4th floor of the library to see the current exhibition of the Collingwood collection. If you are interested in learning more about this collection you can check our database.

Kodak Canada Archives at The 2023 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 

Photographs from TMU Libraries’ Special Collections are currently on view at Mount Dennis Library as part of Robert Burley’s exhibition The Last Day of Work. The CONTACT Photography Festival exhibit includes historical records from the Kodak Canada Corporate Archives and Heritage Collection, including a 2004 letter announcing the closure of Kodak Heights, the company’s former manufacturing plant in Toronto’s Mount Dennis neighbourhood. The 48-acre lot was the home of Kodak Canada from 1912 until its closure in 2005.

At this time, we are looking to expand our collection of oral history recordings of past employees. If you are a former Kodak Heights employee or family member with ties to Kodak Canada and are interested in participating, please email us at asc@torontomu.ca.

  • A collage of photographs of employees from Kodak's sheet film department
  • Hot air balloon with red, yellow and blue stripes with the Kodak logo
  • Group of individuals from Kodak's Business Imaging Systems (B.I.S.) team holding a banner that says "B.I.S. Delivers Quality"

The Kodak Canada Archives has extensive photographs, publications, and memorabilia related to employees and corporate life at Kodak. Here are some highlights, including a 16mm film about the history of Kodak Canada, pages from a scrapbook with postcards and photographs taken during employee baby showers and retirement parties, and a souvenir brochure used in tours of the Kodak Heights’ facilities.

Excerpt from 2005.001.01.2.003 “The Kodak Album” 16mm promotional film about Kodak Canada.

To learn more about Kodak’s history in Toronto, visit the online exhibition Kodak Canada: The Early Years (1899-1939) by TMU’s Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management program .

Celebrating Black History with Photography Books & Catalogues

Special Collections has a variety of books related to the history, production and exhibition of photography. In honour of Black History Month, we are featuring exhibition catalogues and books centering Black photographers, artists and curators. Although this is a small sample from the collection, all of these works highlight the importance of self-documentation in photography as a way to celebrate communities and counter the historical misrepresentation of Black people.

In the 1948 book “Camera Portraits : the techniques and principles of documentary portraiture” Gordon Parks shares insight into how he photographed 40 individuals with his unique style of photography. He recounts his interactions with the subjects and analyses his overall approach to the portrait. Parks also includes valuable technical elements for each photograph, such as the camera model, exposure, film stock and light source.

Cover of the book Imagining Families: Images and Voices. Two photographs are shown, one depicts a while family with a young Black boy, the other is a similar portrait but heavily scratched out.

“Imagining Families : Images and Voices” is the catalogue for the 1994 inaugural exhibition at the National African American Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. It was shown at the Anacostia Community Museum, years before the Smithsonian established a permanent building for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. 

Deborah Willis and Claudine Brown curated the works of 15 artists who examine roles played within families and communities. The catalogue recounts how the exhibition was created when the Smithsonian was contemplating the need for a dedicated museum to preserve African American history. They were unsure if they would receive enough donations to build a museum collection and some believed that African American material culture was already preserved in other museum branches.

The exhibition served as an inspiration for underrepresented communities to self-document their stories and validated personal narratives as a key part of history.

Front book cover with the title "A Portland Family album: Self-portrait of African American Community" with a black and white photograph depicting two Black women in front of a house

The 1995 exhibition “A Portland Family Album : self-portrait of an African-American community.” was developed using archival photographs. The images were donated by several local families and new prints were created for exhibition purposes. The works were shown at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland.

Cover of book with the text "Contact Sheet" and "Embracing Eatonville". The cover has a black and white image of a house with a large tree in front.

The 2003-2004 exhibition “Embracing Eatonville : a photographic survey” presented works by Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis. Eatonville, Florida is one of the oldest Black towns to be incorporated in the United States. In 2002, the four artists were tasked to capture the spirit of this historical city through documentary photography. Each photographer brought their unique approach to this exhibition to provide a snapshot of the community and its landscape. The exhibition was shown at Light Work in New York and the Robert B. Menschel Media Center in Eatonville.

Special Collections books can be searched through the Library’s catalogue. The Library also has access to fantastic documentaries on the topic, including Through a Lens Darkly which is based on the book “Reflections in Black : a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present” by Deborah Willis. The documentary explores the significance of family photo albums and examines the depiction of Black subjects throughout history.

Our book collection is constantly growing! Keep an eye for the announcement of the winners of this year’s First Edition Book Award.