CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and the Honickman Foundation, based in Philadelphia, concluded their mutually enriching and wonderfully successful collaboration on the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography in 2017. The biennial prize, first conceived in 2000 by Lynne Honickman and CDS’s founding director, Iris Tillman Hill, was awarded to a total of eight photographers.

The only prize of its kind, the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition was open to North American photographers of any age who had yet to publish a book-length work of their photographs. The eight winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography received a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. The winner was also given a solo exhibition at the photography gallery at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library; the photographs are now housed in the library’s Archive of Documentary Arts

The Honickman Foundation’s belief that the arts are powerful tools for enlightenment, equity, and empowerment, in concert with the Center for Documentary Studies’ commitment to the presentation of experiences that heighten our historical and cultural awareness, made the collaboration on this important prize celebrating contemporary photography and the lasting power of the book a singular and significant one. 

The CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography had a profound impact on its winners, the photographic community, and the culture at large, and it was a great pleasure and honor for both institutions to be involved in creating and administering this prestigious award.

We are extremely proud of all of the winners of the prize and their books, published by Duke University Press: Larry Schwarm, On Fire (2002); Steven B. Smith, The Weather and a Place to Live (2004); Danny Wilcox Frazier, Driftless (2006); Jennette Williams, The Bathers (2008); Benjamin Lowy, Iraq | Perspectives (2010); Gerard H. Gaskin, Legendary (2012); Nadia Sablin, Aunties (2014), and Lauren Pond, Test of Faith (2016).