Writers Prize

In the summer of 2021 Source ran the second edition of its prize for new writing about photography. The winner of the prize was Alan Huck and his submission is published in Source. Six additional submissions were shortlisted, by Harvey Dimond, Odette England, Blaine O'Donnell, Sinéad Corcoran, Morwenna Kearsley and Robert Lewis. The winner of the prize in 2020 was April Yee with four additional submissions shortlisted, by Josh Allen, Julie Dennis, Julia Tanner and Mads Holm. The runner up submissions from 2021 and 2020 are all published here.

Writers Prize: 07 / Sep / 2022
‘The Shabbiness of Beauty’
by Odette England

I dismember the book page by page. Isn't taking a photograph a sort of dismembering of the world? Consider subbing dismemberment for another word. Word is in world. There is no L in Moyra or Davey or Peter or Hujar or The Shabbiness of Beauty or Vanishing. Rather, lots of love, lonesomeness, lust, looking, and light. I tape the pages to my walls. Regret ensues. My daughter wants to know about the chickens. She grills me with questions. Whatever, she sniffs at the elephants, waves, babies, and the penis. What's for dinner? We rhumba for a week or so these pages and me. I stroke their edges, smile. I whisper to the high heels I love you. None of us says that often enough, much less mean it. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Shabbiness of Beautyby OdetteEngland

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Jul / 2022
‘Black Cats’
by Morwenna Kearsley

Pluto is often described as God of the Dead or Lord of the Underworld and I would add Photographer to that list. For what is a photograph if not a death? Down in the deep, dark shadows of his subterranean city, I imagine him printing photographs. Negative to positive, light to dark. Perhaps he uses the summer time, when Proserpina departs the Underworld, to really get to grips with the darkroom backlog. In his 1843 story 'The Black Cat', Edgar Allan Poe’s mercurial narrator names his pet cat Pluto. This brutal malefactor confesses to a pattern of abuse and violence meted out not only to Pluto but his wife also; a response to their consistent love and care and fear. Writing at a time when photography was still in its infancy, Poe plays on the prophetic image-apparition as central to superstitious beliefs and dreadful outcomes. In one scene, an image of the murdered Pluto appears on a scorched wall after fire consumes the narrator’s house. The white, negative image of the black cat communicates to observers the brutal manner of its death. In another scene, a replacement black cat’s tuft of white chest hair slowly begins to form a prophetic image of gallows. Poe tells us, through the use of black and white images that the positive photograph is bound to its negative in perpetuity, like a crime to its punishment. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Black Catsby MorwennaKearsley

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 14 / Apr / 2022
‘The Only Photograph of Mr Pencil’
by Sinéad Corcoran

Mr Pencil survived the War by turning sideways. Every movement of his comrades looked like the worst case of having a fleshy body that Mr Pencil had ever seen. They heaved and dragged themselves up and down the mountainsides. Blinded by their own sweat and slowed by their own feet that rejected their duty to move, move, move, hide, hide, hide. They staggered under the weight of their own selves and when they fell, he – like a sliver, a ripple, a faint glint against the sky – watched the shrapnel and the bullets press into the thickness of them. Since childhood, Mr Pencil was always looking at the sky: the chance of rain, the chance of wind, the chance of a sudden summer storm. His mother said he was of a delicate constitution, a nervous disposition, running inside at any sign of danger. In fair weather, however, he was the finest scout in all of Western Macedonia. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - The Only Photograph of Mr Pencilby SinéadCorcoran

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Mar / 2022
‘Things To Do With Photographs’
by Blaine O'Donnell

Individually, featherlight. Together, they are a weight in our house, the box casting shadows as the sun passes over the apples. I know they are there, always, waiting in the crate, as we move in and out of rooms, seasons. I come home for a week when the trees are in blossom and the rain batters the petals down into the earth. Some of the albums have shifted. Has my mother been in here looking? Her life is another life entirely. I draw a diagram of our overlapping lives. When everyone is elsewhere, I go back to the box of past happenings, the kaleidoscopic, overlapping mound of the camera's glances. A surfeit of existence has been gathered here, skimmed from the swim of things. I can not stop looking. I look at eyes looking into the future. I look at the family features appearing in faces. A gamut of facets. I look for their frst appearance, their most recent iteration. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Things To Do With Photographsby BlaineO'Donnell

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 15 / Feb / 2022
‘Shaking Out of Polaroid Nostalgia’
by Robert Lewis

During the last week of the 2020-21 school year, one of my middle school students asked to take a picture with his friends. The student, a seventh grader in my English Language Learners class, was a bit of a handful; he didn’t really ask, he told. 'We’re going to take a picture,' he said. But just as I was ready to verbally pounce, I saw him slip his hand into his knapsack and pull out a modern, instant camera. I melted. He unbuttoned the black case of his black Fujifilm Instamax Mini 11 and looked at me. I nodded. 'Great choice,' I said. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Shaking Out of Polaroid Nostalgiaby RobertLewis

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 22 / Mar / 2021
‘Through a Kitchen Window’
by Julie Dawn Dennis

At home I am, in normal circumstances, liberated by limitation, free to be myself inside my own room. Through my window I can be both seen and hidden. With soft curtains closed, I redact the outside world; with them open, I may gaze across the outside, and (if I choose to) photograph what I see. Looking through the viewfinder it is as though I am present in both places at once. Both the window and the camera complicate my interior and exterior worlds. If the human eye is window to one’s soul, is a camera an extension to this ‘soul-window’? You look into my eye to read me, to know me. I want to share with you an image of what my eye sees so that you may read me further and know me deeper. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Through a Kitchen Windowby Julie DawnDennis

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 22 / Feb / 2021
‘Looking at My Parents’
by Julia Tanner

“This is the last time you’ll see me in my twenties,” I said to my father in the car. He turned around and stretched his face into a smile with dancing eyes. My father is a quiet man, and rarely makes eye contact. His affection is as genuine as it is awkwardly expressed: he makes a caricature of himself in order to show it. His father was a photographer whose photographs rarely contained people. Those that did normally held faces turned away. When I think of portraits in photography - posed, the smiling gaze looking out - I think of the brief moments of eye contact between myself and my father before we hug goodbye. These are the rare times I look directly at him looking directly at me. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Looking at My Parentsby JuliaTanner

 Read Article ▸

Writers Prize: 25 / Jan / 2021
‘Making Space to Speak From’
by Mads Holm

Riot police surround the entire group of protestors. Anonymous black shapes appear like shadows on the walls of the red brick houses on both sides of the street. Their gloved hands clutch the truncheons. I look to both sides. Like plucking flowers from a bouquet of black roses the riot police begin pulling out protestors from the crowd. One after another grabbed, forced to the ground, handcuffed and dragged down the side streets. Fleeting moments of crisscross eye contact spread an anxious energy. Heartbeats felt in finger tips. . . [ Full Article ▸]

Writers Prize - Making Space to Speak Fromby MadsHolm

 Read Article ▸