Gerard Gaskin photographs, 1995-2012 2.5 Linear Feet — 33 Inkjet Prints: 19 black and white, and 14 color.
About the CDS/ Honickman First Book Prize in Photography: North American photographers who are pursuing work of creative or social importance have too few opportunities for support and recognition; this is especially true when photographers are engaged in personal or in-depth ongoing projects. And while there are other sources for grants and fellowships in photography, the chance to see a body of work in print, as a coherent book-length work, is rare. Concerned about these problems and recognizing their shared organizational interests, the Honickman Foundation and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University came together to create this important biennial book-publication prize, first awarded in 2002.
The prize is open to North American photographers who use their cameras for creative exploration, whether it be of places, people, or communities; of the natural or social world; of beauty at large or the lack of it; of objective or subjective realities. The prize honors work that is visually compelling, that bears witness, and that has integrity of purpose.
Judges for the First Book Prize in Photography are among the most significant and innovative artists, curators, and writers in contemporary photography: Robert Adams, Maria Morris Hambourg, Robert Frank, Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston, and Deborah Willis.
Winners of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, published by Duke University Press and the Center for Documentary Studies, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. Winners also receive a solo exhibit—beginning with the 2014 prize, at Duke University’s new Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery—after which the photographs are placed in the library’s Archive of Documentary Arts.
Deborah Willis selected Gerard H. Gaskin to win the sixth biennial competition in 2012 for his body of photographs that have been published as Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene by Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies.