Valerio Spada, a professional photographer from Milan, Italy, won the $25,000 (around £15,000) grand prize in Blurb’s fourth annual Photography Book Now competition for his book, Gomorrah Girl. Spada's work, the story of adolescence, choices and chance in the land of the Camorrah (the name of the Mafia in Naples), was chosen by an international panel of judges, from more than 2,300 submissions.
Spada's work will be showcased -- along with 12 other category winners -- on September 16 at the Aperture Gallery in New York City. While many of the winning entries were published using the Blurb platform, some, including Gomorrah Girl, were not.
“The book is simply the sum of a long time spent in the streets of Naples and a short time in the bookmaking phase, but what came after that is pure happiness,” said Valerio Spada. “I am honoured that 'Gomorrah Girl' was selected by the judges to receive this esteemed award.”
"Valerio Spada's Gomorrah Girl stood apart as this year's Grand Prize winner," said Darius Himes, lead judge for the 2011 Photography Book Now. "Mr Spada's self-published book is a strong embodiment of the complex criteria the judges used: strong photography, important subject matter, vigorous edit and intelligent sequencing, combined with a thoughtful attention to those elements that are specifically book-centric.”
The Fine Art category was won by Rene Nuljens' Yuri Gagarin, 50 Years of Human Space Flight. The Documentary category was won by Rafal Milach's In The Car with R. The travel category gong went to Thomas Michael Alleman for Sunshine & Noir. The Student category winner was Goseong Choi for Umma.