Carbon Empire

By Allan McDonald and Rim Books
The New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards

These awards have been proudly presented by Momento Pro since 2015 with the aim of celebrating excellence and innovation in photo book creation, and to showcase the work of New Zealand photo artists to local and international audiences. The cash and credit prizes valued at $10,000 are designed to help photographers create, produce and promote their publications.

The 2017 winner and commended books were announced on 9 March during the opening night of the Photobook NZ Festival 2018, at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The New Zealand and Australian finalist books exhibition will now travel throughout the region and abroad.


Carbon Empire by Allan McDonald; Rim Books -  W I N N E R
I Will Be My Dream by Constance McDonald -   C O M M E N D E D
Mimetic by Mark Purdom; Ramp Press -   C O M M E N D E D
+  Nothing Ever Happens by Robyn Daly -   C O M M E N D E D
At Rest. A Road Trip To Anthropocene. by Howard Greive
Complements by Michael Mahne Lamb
Hand-Coloured New Zealand: The photographs of Whites Aviation Photographs by Peter Alsop; Potton & Burton
How are things. How things are. by Jamie Bowering
Missing Wife by Dana Chisholm
Retrograde Motion by Yvonne Shaw & Tim Mackrell; The Essence Archive
The Lament by Harvey Benge; Dewi Lewis Publishing UK
Valpo by Chris Leskovsek

$10,000 in Prizes
  • Photobook Of The Year Award: $1,000 cash + $4,000 Momento Pro printing credit
  • People’s Choice Award: $500 cash + $2,000 Momento Pro printing credit*
  • Commended: $500 Momento Pro printing credit
*Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their favourite finalist book. The finalist with the most votes is the winner of the People's Choice Award and receives $500 cash + $2000 Momento Pro print credit.
Award Entry Dates
The next round of Awards, the 2018 award series, will be open to photo books produced between 1 January 2017 and 17 December 2018.
Entries open 17 September 2018
Entries close 17 December 2018

Judging Panel
Our panel of judges are all actively engaged in the New Zealand and international photo book community, and will bring diverse perspectives and knowledge of photography, design and publishing to the discussion.
Mary Macpherson - Judging Chair
Mary Macpherson

Mary is a Wellington photographer and poet with a long career of exhibiting and publishing. Mary is an avid consumer of photobooks and a founding member of the PhotobookNZ strategy committee. Her books include Old New World (2012), Medical Daydreams (2016) and Bent (2014), a series about the impact of human activity on New Zealand’s tree landscape. Mary has exhibited widely and her work is held in many New Zealand public collections.
Simon Devitt
Simon Devitt Photographer

Simon's photography practice is focused on architecture and his work has been broadly published in magazines and publications. Devitt has trade published and self published numerous books including a collaboration with Andrea Stevens, Summer Houses, Portrait of a House, Rannoch which was the joint winner of the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Award 2016. His new series of books ‘Ripe Fruit’ will be launched in November 2017. Simon lectures in Photography of Architecture at the University of Auckland, and is currently represented by PhotoFoyer in Milan, Italy.
Neil Pardington
Neil Pardington Design

Neil is an artist, designer and photographer based in Wellington who has designed many photographic books including Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation and Behind Closed Doors. He was founding director of Eyework Design, a recipient of the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand’s Stringer Award and Best Book at the Spectrum Print Book Design Awards. He is a graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, the 2011 recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award and founding trustee of the Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts trust.
Warren Olds
Clouds Publishing

Warren is a graphic designer who founded a small Auckland publishing house - Clouds Publishing - with Gwynneth Porter. Their focus is on books about and by artists, and their publications include Ice Blink, The Last Road and Icons by Anne Noble, the 2012 Walters Prize winner Incredible Feeling by Kate Newby and The Skin of Years by Jim Allen. In 2017 he has completed books with Nick Austin and Oscar Enberg for Hopkinson Mossman. A project with Los Angeles artist Fiona Connor will be published in 2018.
Katrin Koenning
Katrin Koenning + Photography Studies College, Melbourne

Katrin is a German photographic and moving image artist with an interest in our physical and emotional connection to place and environment. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally at Chobi Mela, Organ Vida Festival and FORMAT, and published in The Guardian, FT Magazine, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. Koenning's first photo book Astres Noirs, was a collaboration with Sarker Protick and published by Chose Commune. It was critically acclaimed and shortlisted in the 2016 Prix Nadar Award and 2016 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards First Book category.

Judging Process
Judges review both the digital file and the physical book to assess the:
  • Excellence of the photography, design, layout, typography and cover art
  • Quality of the photo editing and sequencing to create an engaging visual narrative
  • Originality of the concept and design
  • Ability of any additional imagery, text or ephemera to enhance the story in the photographs and/or book
  • Appropriateness of photography, design and format for the book's intended purpose and audience 

Changes to Entry Criteria

Based on feedback from entrants and judges these improvements have been made to the 2017 Award criteria:

Full entry criteria is below.

The New Zealand and Australian Photobook of the Year Award finalist books will travel to the following destinations, and guests are invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner. The schedule will be confirmed shortly.

23 February SYDNEY - SunStudios, Alexandria
9 - 10 March   WELLINGTON - PhotobookNZ, Te Papa
1 - 6 May AUCKLAND - Snowwhite Gallery, Unitec
25 May - 10 June WAGGA WAGGA - H.R. Gallop at Charles Sturt University
3 - 4 August BRISBANE - Maud Gallery, Newstead
12 - 19 August CANBERRA - The Photographer's Room
How To Enter
By midnight 18 December 2017:

1. Complete the online Registration Form including the upload of:
  • a low-resolution PDF of your book file
  • a JPG of the cover image
2. Send a physical copy of the book with a copy of your Registration Form to the address below.
  • Books will be returned to non-finalists if a prepaid, self-addressed envelope is provided with your entry.
Postal address
c/o Momento Pro
PO Box 24 111
Manners St, Wellington 6011
Courier address
c/o Momento Pro / Wakefields Digital
102 - 108 Wakefield Street
Te Aro, Wellington 6011
Entry Criteria

Entrant requirements

  • Must be a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, registered company or student at a New Zealand institution
    • International students must have been studying at a local institution during 1 January 2016 and 18 December 2017
  • Must be the photographer or publisher of the book
  • Must own the copyright or provide written permission from the copyright owner to enter.
  • Must grant permission for the book, photographs of the book, and photographs within the book to appear in digital and print form for the purpose of promoting the Awards.
  • Must indemnify Momento Pro against any and all claims by third parties relating to a violation of intellectual property rights as a result of the entry of their book in this competition, and to bear all costs arising from such a breach, including any damages.
  • If selected as a Winner must:
    • Use the print credit prize within 24 months of notification.
    • Use the print credit prize only for works of their own creation and copyright.
    • Grant permission for the works printed using the credit prize to be used to promote the Awards and Momento Pro's print service.
  • Acknowledge that the judging panel’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Photobook requirements

  • Must focus on photographic content in a visual narrative.
  • Must have been published or the design was completed between 1 January 2016 and 18 December 2017.
  • International students at NZ institutions can enter books produced at the institution during the dates above.
  • Must be submitted as a digital PDF file and a physical copy.
  • Must not infringe copyright, breach any laws or violate third party rights.
  • Must not have been entered into previous New Zealand Photobook Of The Year Awards.
  • Must not be entered in the Australian Photobook Of The Year Awards in the same year.
40% off Award book prints

Should you wish to print a copy of your Award entry with Momento Pro we offer a 40% discount, redeemable when you place your order by phone. Visit our Get Started page for details on sizes and specifications, and our Products page for print, paper and cover material options.

To place your order you must upload a compatible file to your Momento Pro account then call our service team to make payment. Orders must be placed by the dates listed below, and please be aware that the book will be submitted directly to the Awards. To review your book beforehand you will need to allow extra time:
Book Type Final Order Dates
Inkjet printed 11 December 2017
Indigo printed 18 December 2017

Presenter + Partners

Momento Pro was the first on-demand photobook producer in the Antipodes that has serviced amateur, emerging, enthusiast and professional photographers and other creatives in New Zealand and Australia, since 2004.  We've won many local and international awards for our printing and binding quality, we're committed to supporting Antipodean photographers, and we're proud to the be the founder and patron of both the New Zealand and Australian Photobook of the Year Awards. 

More at


Photobook New Zealand is the country's largest photo book dedicated to creators, publishers and those who appreciate photography in book form. Launched in 2016, the next event will be hosted in Auckland in March 2018, care of PhotoForum and Massey University.

More at Photobook NZ


How do the Awards define a photo book?
A photo book is a publication that focuses on photographic content presented in a visual narrative. It does not include text books about photography.  It may include but is not limited to: a portfolio, cultural record, for sale or collection, a promotional tool, to raise awareness, for artistic legacy, a personal project, to distribute or expand access to photography.

And thanks to Dr Doug Spowart ... "The diversity of the discipline defies a standard definition and may include: newspaper styled items, photo-zines, and the bespoke hand-made ‘artists book’, self-published books using digital POD technologies, trade published books and designer confections. Photobooks can contain photographs only, they can be books with photographs and accompanying texts, prose, poetry, captions and they also can be complex and sophisticated design experiences, even – the book as object."
Can I submit a photo book featuring images by more than one photographer?
Yes. Photobooks including work by multiple photographers are eligible but details of all photographers must be entered in to the Registration Form.
Can the book have been published overseas?
Yes, the book can be published overseas as long as the photographer is a New Zealand citizen or resident at the time of publication and entry.

Is there an entry fee?

I don’t have a physical copy of my book, can I still enter?

No. You must have a physical book to enter.  If required, Momento Pro can print a copy of the book at 40% discount.

Can I submit more than one book?
Yes, you can submit up to three books.

Will I receive feedback and suggestions on my book?
No. Due to the number of entries we’re unable to provide feedback on every entry.

Will my book be returned?

  • Non-finalist books will be returned if a prepaid, self-addressed envelope is provided with your entry
  • Finalist books will not be returned. They will be exhibited then stored in the Award archives.
  • Rare or expensive finalist books may be returned on request.
  • We do not accept responsibility for damaged books or books lost in transit.

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