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Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks vPBNZ

Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks v.PBNZ

To celebrate PHOTOBOOK NEW ZEALAND in Wellington over March 9-11 2018, I have published an updated version of my Photobook Compendium that was first issued in October 2017 at the VOLUME ART BOOK FAIR in Sydney.


Associate Professor Ann Shelton launches the Compendium @ Te Papa PHOTO: Libby Jeffery

Ann Shelton launches the Photobook Compendium PHOTO: Libby Jeffery


The Compendium is a soft cover 40 page A5 booklet that lists key contributors, both contemporary and historical, to the Australian and New Zealand photobook discipline. Apart from photographer’s names and many portraits I’ve included publishers, designers and book shops.

To extend the coverage of key aspects of the genre I have included visual coverage of significant photobook events and activities as well as portraits of many practitioners. Most of the photographs come from personal documents made in Australia, New Zealand and Vienna of these events.

The book is designed with two covers so both countries have prominence. The Compendium is printed by MomentPro and is a Numbered LIMITED EDITION of 40.

The book was launched at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington by artist and photobook maker Associate Professor Ann Shelton on Saturday 10 at 2.00pm. At the event books will be available through Remote Photobooks.


  • Over 400 listings relating to the photobook
  • 26 portraits of photobook people
  • 50 photobook covers – exemplars of the discipline
  • 60 photographs of events
  • Australian and New Zealand Photobook of the Year winners list


The book is now SOLD OUT!  Although REMOTE PHOTOBOOKS may still have some copies

Some of the pages

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The Compendium preface by Doug Spowart

The Compendium preface




This Compendium does not attempt a definition of the ‘photobook’ – therefore to reflect the breadth and depth of this evolving medium I have considered a range of photo-based products that may include photographically illustrated books, albums, catalogues, photobooks, zines, artists books, text-only references to photography and photo ephemera.


This data and images has been compiled over many years as a result of my interest in the photobook from the historical viewpoint as well as its contemporary phenomenon. I am particularly interested in books where the photograph acts as the principal narrative agent. Additionally I am also drawn to the haptic experience and design of the book and how it operates as a vehicle for presenting ideas and telling stories.

Listed here are names of people and organisations who have contributed (both historically and recently), to the development of photobook discipline. Although most of the listings are from New Zealand or Australian residents and establishments there are some inclusions relating to itinerant or short-lived connections with this region. Some publishing houses listed may be based offshore and have a presence in this region.

I wish to acknowledge the energy and support for Antipodean photobooks provided by Libby Jeffery and the MomentoPro company. Through their patronage and sponsorship they have played a pivotal role in the building of a strong and active photobook community.

This current Compendium is published in a limited edition of 40 on the occasion of the 2nd Photo Book New Zealand Festival in March 2018. Subsequent revised versions will contain new information arising from my ongoing research.

As much of this knowledge lies hidden in personal archives and libraries, I am most interested to receive information about New Zealand and Australian photobooks and the discipline’s community of practice.

Doug Spowart

Email: Greatdivide@a1.com.au
Mail: PO Box 3063, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, AUSTRALIA












THE ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK – a lecture at the Vienna Photo Book Festival

with 3 comments

Doug Spowart presenting The Antipodean Photobook at Vienna Photo Book Festival



My lecture brief was to make an hour-long presentation about the Australian and New Zealand photobook scene. After some thought I organised my lecture content around 4 distinct areas.


1. The supporting structures

The contemporary scene was to be included covering both practitioners and the major events in AuNZ that have shaped and contributed to the development of strong network and community of practice. The key events, movers and shakers such as:

  • Photobook Melbourne
  • Photobook New Zealand
  • Unless you will 2017 event and book reviews
  • Melbourne Artbook Fair
  • Sydney’s Volume Another Artbook Fair
  • Zinefairs
  • The Photobook of the Year Awards
  • Bookshops
  • Perimeter Editions
  • m.33
  • T&G
  • Rim Books
  • Remote Photobooks
  • Perimeter
  • Photobook Clubs
  • Asia Pacific Photobook Archive
  • Photobook collections

I commented also on the sources of critical discourse on photobooks in AuNZ.

The role of Libby Jeffery and Geoff Hunt of MomentoPro as patrons and supporters of all things photobook in Australia and New Zealand was acknowledged.

2. Photobook histories of Australia and New Zealand from first examples to 2000

Here are a few slides from the presentation…


I was able also to present a discussion on the challenge of commercial book production as against personal work using Wes Stacey as an exemplar.

I also spoke about the informal links that exist between the photobook and artists’ book disciplines.

3. The contemporary scene and a selection of interesting books and makers

Here are a few slides from the presentation…


4. Voices from the Antipodean scene

It was important for me that contributors to the photobook discipline in Australia and New Zealand be given an opportunity to provide their personal insights to my presentation.

I sought comments from a range of key contributors and received responses from Libby Jeffery, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Helen Frajman, Harvey Benge, Bruce Connew, Garry Trinh, Sam Harris, Ying Ang, Anith Totha, The 2018 Photo Book Wellington Committee.

Here are a few slides from the presentation…


My concluding comment was that AuNZ and the Asia-Pacific regions offer new and refreshing ideas of what a photobook could be and the stories of peoples outside of the usual Euro/Americano scene.

I invited all attendees to visit our table and view the Photobook of the Year finalists and winners and offered, as an additional incentive a copy of the Awards booklet.

My lecture was well attended by festival participants from different parts of Europe including Martin Parr, Photo historian Hans-Michael Koetzle and collectors with an interest in the AuNZ books.

After the lecture Martin Parr and I discussed AuNZ photobooks that he was aware of and commented that in my lecture he had seen many new books. Our conversation continued later that day and he, Gerry Badger, and probably most of those who attended the lecture came to our table to look at the books.


Martin Parr at the AuNZ photobook table PHOTO: Lachlan Blair






















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