Paul Salveson Wins National Media Museum’s 2013 First Book Award

Photographer Paul Salveson has been selected as the winner of the National Media Museum’s 2013 First Book Award. The award, which is in its second year, supports an emerging photographer by publishing his first book. Salveson’s book, “Between the Shell,” will be published this year by UK publisher MACK.

Salveson, who lives in Los Angeles, is known for his surreal montages and still lifes, which combine documentary-like photos with odd, and sometimes unsettling, digital effects that prevent you from contextualizing. For instance, in “Unfinished Shade,” a 2008 work, an otherwise ordinary still photograph of a window with a frilly white curtain is thrown off by a dark animated cloud — like a puff of cartoon exhaust — hovering in front of it. Also in this balanced and otherwise pleasant arrangement is what looks like a small bag of frozen corn slung over the end of a curtain rod. His absurdist work has been included in shows at MoMA PS1, the Swiss Institute, and Actual Size, L.A.

“Often my photographic process unfolds like a private performance in an empty house, or after everyone falls asleep,” Salveson said about his work, in a statement. “My engagement emerges from a perspective that precedes familiarity, disregarding the functions and cultural associations that objects are assigned. I try to process my surroundings with an alien mind.”

Salveson was one of 100 international photographers who were invited to submit work and was chosen by a panel of five judges.

“The quality of entries for this year’s Award was exceptional and it was fantastic to see such a diverse range of works, executed with creativity and confidence,” said Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum and one of the judges. “Paul Salveson is a deserved winner whose work takes photography in unexpected and exciting directions.”

— Rozalia Jovanovic

(Photo: From “Between the Shell,” by Paul Salveson, courtesy the artist).