Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Australian Photobooks


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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












TAKING AuNZ PHOTOBOOKS TO THE WORLD – The Vienna Photo Book Festival

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The MomentoPro AuNZ Photobooks of the Year @ VPBF


In the Antipodes we think we are far away from the centre of activities in so many areas of human endeavour that we just get on with it – doing it our own way. The field of photobooks is one such area.

Recently I had an opportunity to take photobooks from our part of the world to Europe and present a ‘show ‘n’ tell’ at the Vienna Photo Book Festival in Austria. Before the event I was wondering how our books would be received – would they match the Euro photobook for production values, innovation and story-telling capability? I would soon have my answer…

I presented a lecture on Australian and New Zealand photobooks and spent two days with Victoria Cooper and Lachlan Blair on our book presentation table featuring the finalists and winners of the 2016 MomentoPro Australian and New Zealand Photobooks of the Year Awards (ANZPOTY).

The answer to the question I posed earlier would soon be answered.

In a series of 3 blog posts I will tell the story of three aspects of the Vienna Photo Book Festival (1) the lectures, book and print sales, (2) my lecture and (3) the Vienna Photo Book Reviews.


















ADVANCE NOTICE: COOPER+SPOWART @ AIPP Brisbane ‘Hair of the Dog’ Conference

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Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header


On the 6th of February we will be presenting a breakout session at the annual AIPP Hair of the Dog Conference in Brisbane. Our presentation, entitled OPENING-UP THE PHOTOBOOK will provide a commentary on the contemporary photobook/artists book. Our spiel from the HOTD website states:


The photobook has emerged as a ubiquitous form of story telling. Now everyone makes these books to varying levels of expertise. Photobooks and albums have always been the domain of photographers. To maintain their leadership and innovation in this discipline, professional photographers need to be aware of the options available and emergent trends in the photobook. This Breakout session will present a contemporary view of the photobook in all its forms from simple photo-zines to print-on-demand productions and handmade artisan books.


We will be giving attendees a digital presentation to introduce the topic and a major show ‘n’ tell session will follow that will unpack the contemporary photobook/artists’ book. The books presented will come from our collection including some of our own works. A special part of this session will be inclusion of books from Australia’s best print on demand service providers ASUKABOOK, BLURB, MOMENTOPRO and PICPRESS who have given us examples of their most innovative books.

As a result of this session participants will be able to consider innovative and new commercial publishing products that will provide them with a point of difference from competitors and the general public.


Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper and their C.R.A.P. display

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper at the State Library of Qld’s 2015 Art Book Fair


Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart are leaders in the fields of photobooks and artists’ books. Their books are held in major rare books and manuscript collections of the National Library of Australia, State Libraries and other significant public and private collections. In the last 10 years both have completed PhDs that related to the book and visual storytelling. They have both been awarded Research Fellowships at the State Library of Queensland. In the last 12 months Doug has presented lectures on photobooks at Photobook Melbourne, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and the Auckland Festival of Photography.





Earlybird Rates (End January 15th, 2016)

AIPP Member 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass on Monday – Early Bird $420 After Early Bird $520
AIPP Member 2 Days Only (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $290 After Early Bird $390
AIPP Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $200 After Early Bird $280

Student 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass Monday – $150
Student 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – $120
Student 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – $90

Non-Member 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $435 After Early Bird $585
Non-Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $300 After Early Bird $420


Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header

DOUG to speak @ Ballarat Foto Biennale Symposium

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Photobook Anxiety graphic

Photobook Anxiety graphic

On August 29 I’ll be speaking at the Symposium: Borderless Futures, Reimaging the Citizen which is taking place at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. The speakers program is amazing with presentations relating to the topic of the symposium.

My presentation is entitled PHOTOBOOK ANXIETY: SOCIAL MEDIA AND INDIE PUBLISHING and the abstract is as follows:


The photobook is at the core of a self-publishing revolution. The structure of the old publishing and bookselling paradigm is now reshuffled and redesigned. Now every photographer wants to make their own books – they need the inspiration found in the latest photobooks and to be informed by the movers and shakers of the discipline.


As a result there is an emerging heightened anxiety for personal connection with pulse of this worldwide phenomena. Social media is the communication vehicle of choice. Everyday participants in the photobook network frenetically seek updates, reviews, new releases, post about their books and the latest gossip through social media channels – this anxiety is palpable.

This paper will discuss the frisson of social media as a powerful tool for communication and community building in the indie publishing movement of photobooks.


HERE’S THE LINK TO THE PROGRAM AND TO BOOK – Check out the BIFB Program as well:



BIFB PSC Symposium logo

BIFB PSC Symposium logo


Hope to see you there….



PHOTOBOOK INDEPENDENT: Our books in Hollywood – thanks to QCP

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Photo Independent poster



As part of its international activities for Queensland and Australian photographers the Queensland Centre for Photography participated in the inaugural Photo Independent art fair at Raleigh Studios, Los Angeles 1–3 May, 2015. The main Australian contingent consists of the wall images of 12 photomedia artists. They are Anna Carey, Belinda Kochanowska, Chris Bowes, David La Roche, Henri van Noordenburg, Kim Demuth, Kelly Hussey-Smith & Alan Hill, Katelyn-Jane Dunn, Lynette Letic, Michael Cook and Marian Drew.


An additional aspect of Photo Independent is one dedicated to the recognition of photographers who work in the book format. Called Photobook Independent the QCP curated a selection of 16 Australian photo publishers to present in the L.A. event.

In QCP media about these two events the following statement was made:

The QCP is excited to be part of this ground-breaking event as the world of photography will set its focus on Los Angeles 1–3 May, 2015 for a weekend celebrating international photography and the most talented image-makers across various genres of the medium. Numerous high profile art fairs including Paris Photo Los Angeles, Photo Contemporary, Photo Independent and PhotoBook Independent will launch their annual editions in Hollywood with additional special photography exhibitions throughout Los Angeles. The weekend promises to offer the enthusiastic art patron a plethora of opportunities to experience photography at its highest calibre.

The photobook publishers were: Ingvar Kenne, Dane Beesley, Anne Ferran, Lindsay Varvari, Rohan Hutchinson, Julie Shiels, Prudence Murphy, Christopher Young, Paul Batt, Ian Tippett, Doug Spowart, Victoria Cooper, Gemma Avery, Michelle Powell, Mathias Heng and Christopher Köller.


Interviews with the artists and photobook makers can be found on the LUCIDA Site: http://lucidamagazine.com/

Biogs on the photobook participants can be seen here: http://qcpinternational.com/portfolios/photo-book-independent-2015/


Pilliga- Cover-new-72

Victoria Cooper’s PILLIGA


About Victoria’s Book: PILLIGA


Pilliga is the culmination of 10 years work. It is informed by the many physical, psychological and metaphorical journeys through this enigmatic place during the decade of its creation.

This book is not a topographic depiction of the Pilliga Scrub, a remote location in the Australian Bush. Rather it is a human story of lurking deep anxiety manifested as a destructive invisible entity feeding on fears of the unknown and unknowable.

A PDF of the book can be seen here:PILLIGA-redsmr

The book can be purchased from BLURB here: http://blur.by/1Q9cGhh



Doug Spowart’s I have inhabited a place …



This book relates to the experience of being a documentary photographer within the world. The subject, a deserted artist’s studio, becomes an immersive landscape for investigation. This photobook expresses a personal narrative about loss, absence, place, and concepts around the relationship between the non-human and the working practices of artists.

A PDF of the book can be seen here: I have inhabited a place …red2

The book can be purchased from AMAZON here: http://blur.by/1K65dMu





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