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Aotearoa Photobook Award finalists

Finalists of the Aotearoa Photobook Award


8 February 5, 2022

Aotearoa Photobook Awards 2022 finalists announced

The traces left by burnouts, the elusive life of New Zealand motels and sexism in corporate New Zealand are among the photobook themes in the 10 finalists of new Aotearoa Photobook Awards.

The Awards, sponsored by Wakefields Digital, attracted nearly 50 entries from photographic artists and small presses around the country. “These are independent artists’ books that are often published in limited editions and only available on social media, artist websites or in galleries. We’re delighted to receive so many entries for these first time awards,” the organising Photobook/NZ committee says.

Judges were Athol McCredie, Curator of Photography at Te Papa, Claire Mabey founder of Verb Wellington, and Neil Pardington (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Kahungunu and Pākehā) a noted photographic artist and book designer.

Commenting on the finalists’ selection, the judges say, “The process of selecting the finalists stretched us to carefully think, ‘What makes a really good photobook?’ The answer, in the end, was that all components of the book had to work together to support the intention of the work. In the best books everything converged to support a clear vision and product you love so much that you want to own a copy yourself.”

The three winning books, and those highly commended, will be announced by Photobook/NZ on 4 March, 2022.


…and then there were none
Photographer/Author: Harvey Benge, Jon Carapiet, Lloyd Jones, Haru Sameshima, & Stu Sontier
Publisher: Rim Books

…and then there were none is a collaboration between four New Zealand photographers and one writer that breaks out of conventional storytelling to explore the authors’ doubts and anxieties about the world around them.

A Room in Whanganui
Photographer: Solomon Mortimer & Zahra Killeen-Chance
Publisher: Self published

A Room in Whanganui is the result of the time Mortimer and Killeen-Chance spent at Tylee Cottage as part of a Sarjeant Gallery residency. The photographs explore the possibilities of the studio room of the cottage, playing with light, shadow and the human form to create compositions that border on abstraction. The final publication takes the form of a duplicate receipt book in the cottage’s signature cream and green.


Between Dog and Wolf
Photographer: Jane Wilcox
Publisher: Bad News Books

Between Dog and Wolf shows Wellington’s trees and plant-life in the liminal time of twilight. Wilcox’s deft handling of light and perspective within the landscape forces the reader to question whose eyes we are looking through and makes stark the magic of myth that is hinted at in the title.

Photographer: Sheryl Campbell
Publisher: self published

Droplet uses humour and theatricality to shine a light on sexism, objectification and assault in corporate New Zealand.

Mooning the Sun
Photographer: Sage Rossie
Publisher: self published and hand-bound

Shot in an Aro Valley flat over the course of two years, Mooning the Sun is a love-letter to Rossie’s first home away from home. This is an intimate expression of queer experience that celebrates the lives of a chosen family of young artists as they come into themselves and the world.

Motel Life
Photographer: Peter Black
Publisher: MMM Photobooks

Motel Life combines the poetic with the documentary in a survey of the elusive life of Aotearoa’s motels.

Mother Lode
Photographer: Ann Shelton
Publisher: Bad News Books

Mother Lode investigates alternative means of agricultural production through the practices of the Wairarapa Eco Farm, an example of community supported agriculture.


Screams Like Home
Photographer: Thomas Lord
Publisher: self-published

Screams Like Home is a visual journey through Japan, where Lord once lived. The work, which is formed by two parts which begin at either cover and meet with text in the middle, traces Lord’s movements through a landscape of smells, textures, and encounters in an attempt to reconnect to a place that is no longer home.

Photographer: Mark Purdom
Publisher: Ramp Press

SLT (short for Sustained Loss of Traction) uses forensic-type photography to investigate the traces left by burnouts.

Photographer: Lily Dowd
Publisher: Self Published

YesterdayHome documents Dowd’s encounters with childhood homes, and raises questions about the physical and emotional experiences of revisiting locations one has lived, especially during times of upheaval.


For fuller information on the finalist books visit:


Photobook awards are a world-wide phenomenon that can bring international recognition to winning and finalist photographers. Because it is difficult for New Zealand photographers to access international competitions and book fairs, Photobook/NZ created the Aotearoa Photobook Awards, with sponsorship from Wakefields Digital to showcase New Zealand’s thriving artist photobook culture.

The Award finalists will be displayed at the Photobook/NZ Festival in August 2022 at Te Papa and also at the Australian Photobook Awards in Melbourne.

Photobook/NZ is a partnership between Massey University, Te Papa and PhotoForum NZ. Committee members are: David Cook, Ish Doney, Mary Macpherson, Gabrielle McKone and John Pennington.

The Aotearoa Photobook Awards replace the Australia & New Zealand Photobook Award and its predecessor, The New Zealand Photobook of the Year.


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8 Feb 2022