Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog


with one comment


Doug in the APPA space working thru the books on a cold Melbourne winter's day   PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug in the APPA space working thru the books on a cold Melbourne winter’s day PHOTO: Victoria Cooper


Selecting photobooks @ APPA: A methodology and the list.


I was recently given the opportunity to select books from the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive for their wall display over the next month. While selecting a book to look at and buy in a bookshop can be a challenging enough, the task to review the archive and select around 30 books was daunting. I figured that I needed a methodology.


After some thought I put my ideas to Victoria Cooper, photomonteur Peter Lyssiotis, and APPA Director Daniel Boetker-Smith – here’s what we came up with:

  • that I’d attempt to make a book array that mirrors the Asia Pacific geographical region
  • that I’d select work that was reasonably contemporary
  • that the names of the book makers would not unnecessarily bias my selection (interestingly the photographers of books from locations like China, Japan and south east Asia were quite unknown to me)
  • that where possible I would select photographers working on their subject matter relating to their own country (the books of some localities were made by visiting photographers).


I wasn’t just going to look at books. As I reached out for, and held each book, I’d consider it as an object, feel its presence and weight, the tactile and sensory experience of the thing. Then I’d engage with its mechanical properties of turning the pages and becoming acquainted with it as a communicative device. In this the following would be considered:

  • layout
  • typography
  • images and their sequencing
  • paper, production and binding methods
  • it as a narrative form.


In the final moments of engagement with the book I’d need to make a judgment call – was it successful? Whatever that may be? I am a firm believer in Roland Barthes’ proposition that the moment a written piece, I would say a book, is passed to others to read/view that the ‘author dies’ and that the ‘reader is born’. So, as the reader, I was to make the following decisions. I should note that towards the final stages of geographical assemblage I called upon Daniel and his extensive knowledge, to suggest books from, or about specific areas to be considered by me for inclusion.


The Doug Spowart APPA Selection

The Doug Spowart APPA Selection



Here is selection of the geographic locations, their makers and the titles:


Dubai/Surfers Paradise – Sean Fennessy ‘Gold’

Iran/Australia – Katayoun Javan ‘Correspondences: A photographic journey between past/Iran & present/Australia’

India – Munem Wasif ‘Belonging’

India – Pablo Bartholomew ‘Outside In’

Bangladesh – Shahidul Alam ‘The Birth Pangs of a Nation’


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.31.27 pm


Burma – Bruce Connew ‘On the way to an ambush’

Cambodia – Isabella Capzio ‘Where the water once was: Boeung Kat Lake Phnom Penh

Thailand – Hiro Imai ‘Bangkok’

Thailand – Miti Ruangkritya ‘Thai Politics no.2’

Laos – Michael Greenlar ‘Remnants of a secret war’

Malaysia – Welan Chong ‘Please mind the gap: Singapore’

Hong Kong – Douglas Khoo ‘Be Still Hong Kong’

Sri Lanka – Nihal Fernando ‘Sri Lanka: A personal Journey’

China – Huang Qingjun & Ma Hongjie ‘Family Stuff’


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.29.55 pm


China – Li Kejun ‘The Good Earth’

China – Zhang Xiao ‘Coastline’ (?)

China – ‘Lens on Wesi Lake’

China – Vincci Huang ‘Eyes in the air’


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.27.38 pm


China – Wu Chenghuan ‘Street Fighters’ Beijing

Taiwan – Paul Koolher ‘Political Chaos’

Japan – Bruno Quinquet ‘Salaryman Project: Business Schedule’

Japan – Chie Murakami ‘Japanese Girl’

Japan – Sun Yanchu ‘Obsessed’

Japan – Big book Japanese cities

Japan – Saori Ninomiya ‘Requiem’.


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.28.26 pm


Japan – Shuichiro Shibata ‘Bus Stop’

Japan – Zhao Renbui & Satoshi Katnoku ‘The whiteness of a whale: a project with The Institute of Critical Zoologists’

West Coast American book

Canadian book

Philippines – Dina Gadia ‘Buxxxom Grind’

South Pacific region – Monini Chandra ‘Album Pacifica’

Mexico – Isabella Capezio ‘Feathered Serpents & Visions of the Mother’

Australia – George Voulgaropoulos ‘Children of Auburn’

Australia – [n]

Australia – Emma Phillips ‘Volcán’ (Variant ?)

Australia – Lilli Waters ‘She Raw’

Australia – Ingvar Kenne ‘The Hedgehog and the Foxes’

Australia – Melissa Deerson (Coordinated) ‘Docklands Field Trip’ Melbourne


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.09.44 pm


Australia – Louis Porter ‘Bad Driving’

New Zealand – David Cook, Wiramu Puke and Jenty Valentine ‘River–Road: Journeys Through Ecology’

New Zealand – Solomon Mortimer ‘Solomon’s Travels: Volume One 2012’

New Zealand – Lucien Rizos ‘A man walks out of a bar: New Zealand photographs 1979-1982’


Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.21.05 pm


Antarctica – Ann Noble ‘Ice Blink’


END OF LIST  (Some books are not listed here…)



Doug and APPA Director Daniel Boetker-Smith       PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug and APPA Director Daniel Boetker-Smith PHOTO: Victoria Cooper


Thanks must go to Daniel’s ongoing support of this project and making this resource available for us all — And also thanks to the photographers for contributing to the archive.


Cheers  Doug







One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Great selection Doug, interesting and diverse read, love the Good Earth.


    August 31, 2014 at 10:10 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: