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New Zealand Photobook Of The Year Award Winner 2017

NZ Photobook of the Year Award 2017 WINNER - 'Carbon Empire'
NZ Photobook of the Year Award 2017 FINALISTS
The photobook renaissance is alive and well in New Zealand, and the winner of the prestigious New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards 2017 is 'Carbon Empire.'


Carbon Empire by Allan McDonald and Rim Books was announced as the winner of the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards 2017 on Friday 9 March at Te Papa Museum Wellington, during the opening night of the Photobook NZ Festival. They win $1,000 cash and $4,000 in Momento Pro printing credit. Three other works were highly commended, and all 12 finalist books will now travel in an exhibition throughout New Zealand, Australia and internationally.

According to Judging Chair, Mary Macpherson, “Carbon Empire is an outstanding publication where photography, design, editing and production come together to support an original and contemporary concept. The work takes great care with its available materials, utilising an almost beautiful restraint to address global issues via local photographs of abandoned petrol stations, and a figure alone in the street.”

Carbon Empire is a comment on the effects of the deregulation of the New Zealand petroleum sector in 1988 and the subsequent demise of many small operators.  The work was published by Rim Books, an artist focused publishing venture, established in Auckland in 1996 by Haru Sameshima, to produce and promote publications of photographic and applied arts.

The commended finalists include: I Will Be My Dream self published by Constance McDonald; Mimetic by 2016 Award winner Mark Purdom, published by Ramp Press; and Nothing Ever Happens self published by Robyn Daly.  Each receives $500 printing credit. The other eight Award finalists are:

  • At Rest. A Road Trip To Anthropocene. Self published by Howard Greive
  • Complements. Self published by Michael Mahne Lamb
  • Hand-Coloured New Zealand: The Photographs of Whites Aviation. Photography by Leo White  & Clyde Stewart. Edited by Peter Alsop. Published by Potton & Burton.
  • How are things. How things are. Self published by Jamie Bowering
  • Missing Wife. Self published by Dana Chisholm
  • Retrograde Motion. Published by Yvonne Shaw+ Tim Mackrell/The Essence Archive
  • The Lament by Harvey Benge + Dewi Lewis Publishing
  • Valpo by Chris Leskovsek

Macpherson confirmed that the Awards attracted 52 entries ranging from, “personal and reflective work, to social and community-facing projects and highly conceptual books.”  The judging panel included past winners Simon Devitt and Katrin Koenning, photographer-designer Neil Pardington, and Warren Olds of Clouds Publishing.  They agreed that, “the finalist books demonstrated a contemporary edge to their concepts and showed fine judgement in the photography and editing and in the harmonious combination of the design and production - making them convincing packages.”

Photobook production company Momento Pro established the Australian Photobook of the Year Awards in 2011, and the New Zealand awards in 2015, to celebrate excellence and innovation in photo book creation, and to showcase the work of antipodean photo artists to local and international audiences. Since then they have awarded $100,000 in prizes and travelled the finalist exhibition internationally.

Awards Coordinator and Momento Pro Marketing Manager, Libby Jeffery, says, “Last year the exhibition travelled to the Vienna Photobook Festival where they attracted special acknowledgement from renowned photo book collector Martin Parr.  He was impressed with the quality of the work, and to be viewing the books in the northern hemisphere. We plan to take the exhibition to another international event this year, to continue generating more awareness of antipodean photo books.”

There is no doubt that the global ‘photobook renaissance’ is alive and well in the southern hemisphere, and that the antipodean photo book community is attracting more attention from respected international publishers and collectors. In January, both Martin Parr and Michael Mack of MACK Books UK, visited Australia to review local work, while last week’s Photobook NZ Masterclass attracted an impressive line up of mentors including: Yumi Goto from the Reminders Photography Stronghold; Bryan Schutmaat from Texas; and UK landscape photographer, Jem Southam. The New Yorker Magazine’s Teju Cole was also a visitor at the Photobook ZN Book Fair.

Full details of the finalist books are available at and more information about Photobook/NZ can be found at

Further information: 

Visit website at

Contact details: 
Libby Jeffery,

Written by

NZ Photobook of the Year Awards

13 Mar 2018