PHOTOBOOK OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST: The Winners
Photographer: Rafal Milach
Publisher: GOST London, 2014
Designed by Rafał Milach/Ania Nałęcka/GOST
The text-only cover of "The Winners" features a decree from the president of the Republic of Belarus concerning the organization of the state work force, while the images inside include portraits of people in uniform and seemingly random objects like a stuffed moose head, pink curtains, cornfields, and larger-than-life sculptures of fish, unified by their no-frills framing and composition, and bleak post-Soviet palette. Careful inspection reveals that each image is tipped onto the page; lifting them up discloses a caption announcing that this is an award-winning kaleidoscope, the classroom wall of the best teacher in Minsk, the winner of the best welder and of the Brotherhood of Russian and Belarusian Nations competition. “It’s a small but effective gesture, carried through consistently and intelligently, that renders the collection of images all the more surreal,” says Lesley Martin.