Interview with the Jury: Paul van Mameren

by Unseen July 27 2016

Continuing our series of Interviews with the Jury, Unseen talks to Lecturis' director Paul van Mameren about his experience as a juror, the developments he's witnessed since the first Dummy Award in 2012 and his very first photo book purchase. Get the expert insight below!

Q: As a seasoned juror who has been here since the first Dummy Award have you seen a shift in the style of entries?
A: Not a very clear shift, but of course the numbers of books have increased and still there are a lot of books with a very personal approach; not always interesting for the viewer.

Q: Have you seen a change in the way you approach and judge photo books from the first Dummy Award to this year's award?
A: Every year it is different due to the members of the jury that are involved. The way of judging is unavoidably a matter of personal approach, in taste, in the way the jury member looks to the type of photography and also in the way he or she looks at the way the photographs are placed into the book as an object. There were always very interesting discussions about subjects, such as “does a book to be innovative?” or “does a book need to be very original?”, as well as of course about the quality of the photography itself.

Q: What would you look for in submissions to set them apart from others?
A: The mix of book design, the kind of subject and quality of photography should trigger me.

Q: What do you consider the most important aspect in the book creation process?
A: There is no one "most important aspect", I guess, but I always start with the question: why do I want to make a book and for whom is the book created?

"The way of judging is unavoidably a matter of personal approach, in taste, in the way the jury member looks to the type of photography."

Q: Any predictions as to how photobooks are developing?
A: Hard to say but it seems that photobooks will last long – maybe even longer than other type of books – because of the fact that reproducing photos on paper in a book is still one of the most preferred ways for photographers to show their work.

Q: What was the first photo book you ever purchased? And why?
A: I think it was Eye Love You by Ed van der Elsken. His work was so direct and totally different than the well-known black and white photobooks of that time. His book was in full colour, giving it an entirely new dimension. It’s really special that this book will be published again this year.

The Unseen Dummy Award award ceremony will be a part of this year's Unseen Living Room programme. Be sure to drop by and see the winning photo book dummy of 2016!