Winner of MACK BOOKS First Book Award: The Swamp

The life and work of a printing house is dynamic and fast-paced. We love what we do so we see every project as an opportunity to learn something new. During the last five months a lot of exceptional projects have gone through our hands. The Swamp by Sofia Borges is one of them. It’s a unique art project that took seven years of hard work to become a reality. However, hard work usually pays off.

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Not so long ago, on May 19th , Borges was awarded The First Book Award at Photo London Fair. The award is a photography publishing prize open to photographers who have not previously had a book published by a third party publishing house (this does not include self-published print on demand projects).

The award was established in 2012 to support emerging photographers. The call for submissions emphasises a predilection for projects conceived in book form: works that find a voice through the book.

Sofia is visual artist who was born in Brazil. She is currently living between Paris and São Paulo. She received her BA in Visual Arts from the Universidade de São Paulo in 2008. In that same year she received four art awards and a subvention for artistic research and production, granted by the State of Pernambuco in Brazil. During her career as an artist, Borges has published articles, participated in prestigious art shows and opened solo exhibitions.

“The Swamp” is a series of photographs spanning a seven-year period. It largely records Borges’ countless visits to natural history museums, zoos, aquariums and research centres, where the artifice of reality became her point of focus. For Borges, displays such as habitat dioramas serve as the ultimate form of representation, where objects have the task of representing “themselves” – a type, genre or group that is inherently bound to language through layers of history and meaning.

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Sofia Borges about “The Swamp”:

“Pursuing something I could see layering over images, I spent years wandering around this swamp. The swamp of comprehension, of representation, of abstraction.”

“I was looking at things, searching for their evidences. I kept trying to understand them physically, existing, but they were all covered with this dark, wet, melted substance. This unsolvable form: images, presenting nothing but themselves.”

Specifications: 

  • Design, images and text by Sofia Borges;
  • Open spine softcover book with wraparound dust jacket;
  • 184 pages;
  • 49 colour plates;
  • 22 black & white plates;
  • Printed by: The printing house KOPA.