Winner: Oobanken by Jerome Ming

Combining fragments of personal history, of memory and imagination, Oobanken builds photographic narratives through constructions and performances. The spaces created are different in character from their wider surroundings, as if confined in an enclave or compound, revealing an attentiveness to what lies beyond the threshold of this self-imposed isolation. Made while living in Yangon, Myanmar, this series derives from Jerome Ming’s early interest in built structures and interventions. While Oobanken may direct us to inquire about the function of objects and the actions presented, Ming’s photographs also mirror the context in which they are made: that is, during a time of transition, in a place once isolated, a place once suspended in time.

Jerome Ming is an artist and works primarily with photography. While studying Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham, Ming utilised photography in his installation and performative work. He later joined the photojournalism program at the London College of Printing and subsequently was based in Asia for about 19 years as both photographer and artist. Ming received an MFA in Photography from the Hartford School of Art in 2014. He currently lives in Pretoria, South Africa.

The First Book Award 2019 is published with support from Wilson Centre for Photography and Kraszna-Krausz Foundation.

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2019 Shortlist

Jacob Clayton

Solene Gun 

Jerome Ming

Rachel Monosov & Admire Kamudzengerere


Miguel Proença
The Buzzer


Tereza Červeňová

Angelo Vignali
Flattened in Time and Space


Michal Siarek


Jagoda Wisniewska
Czarna Madonna (Black Madonna)


Alia Zapparova



Sarah Allen
Sarah Allen is a photography specialist. She is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern where she curates displays and exhibitions as well as researching acquisitions for the international collection. Her most recent project was Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art. She has also curated the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize nominated presentation of Mark Ruwedel at Tate (2018) as well as Martin Parr (2018), Workers Photography (2018), Daido Moriyama (2017), Kaveh Golestan (2017) and Gyorgy Kepes (2017). She has a specialist focus on photobooks and is curator of the Martin Parr photobook collection.

Emma Bowkett
Emma Bowkett is Director of Photography at the Financial Times FT Weekend Magazine. Joining in 2009, she was integral to the small creative team who reworked the visual language of the magazine for the 2010 re-launch. Emma has curated exhibitions for the Triennale der Photographie Hamburg, Peckham 24 in London and in 2018 co-curated PhotoEast festival. She is a visiting university lecturer, and regularly participates at international portfolio reviews, festivals, art fairs and awards.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa
Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is a photographer and a writer who has contributed essays to publications by Vanessa Winship, George Georgiou, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Marton Perlaki and Paul Graham. He has been an artist-in residence at Light Work, guest edited the Aperturn Photobook Review, and written for Aperture, FOAM, the Barbican, The Photographer's Gallery and Rutgers University Press. His debut monograph, One Wall a Web, was published by ROMA Publications in 2018. He has lectured at Yale, Cornell, New York University and The New School.

Polly Fleury
Polly Fleury is Director of Special Projects at the Wilson Centre for Photography where she works closely with museums, artists, galleries and publishers bringing historical and contemporary photography to public view..

Michael Mack
Michael Mack is the publisher of MACK.