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Award-Winning Photobooks at Snowwhite Gallery

  • Carbon Empire by Allan McDonald

‘Carbon Empire’ by Unitec photography lecturer Allan McDonald, the winning entry in the recent New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards, will be among the cream of New Zealand and Australian photobooks on display at the Snowwhite Gallery next month.

The awards are sponsored by photobook production company Momento Pro and were established in New Zealand in 2015 to celebrate innovation and excellence in photo book creation, and to showcase the work of antipodean photo artists to local and international audiences.

‘Carbon Empire’, described by Allan as a “small, experimental, zine-style publication”, is a reflection on the effects of the deregulation of the New Zealand petroleum sector in 1998 and the subsequent demise of many small operators. It was published by Rim Books, an artist-focused publishing venture, established in Auckland in 1996 by Haru Sameshima.

The judges praised Allan for his “outstanding publication where photography, design, editing and production come together to support an original and contemporary concept. The work takes great care with its available materials, utilising an almost beautiful restraint to address global issues via local photographs of abandoned petrol stations, and a figure alone in the street.”

When he’s not at Unitec, Allan runs his own practice as a documentary photographer with a deep interest in industrial and urban landscapes. He believes that “it’s good for students to see their teachers out there practising and then passing on that experience that’s only gained by first-hand encounters”. 

I Will Be My Dream by Constance McDonald, Mimetic by Mark Purdom and Nothing Ever Happens by Robyn Daly, were commended in the awards. The list of winners is here.

“By exhibiting the works, we want to make photobooks accessible to Auckland-based photography students and the broader public who have an interest in photography”, said Libby Jeffery, marketing manager of Momento Pro.  “We’re very grateful to Unitec for providing us with this opportunity”.

The exhibition will run at Unitec’s Snowwhite Gallery on Carrington Road from May 1-6, 2018. It will feature a floor talk by a group of the finalists on Saturday, May 5. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to vote for the People’s Choice Award, with the winner announced in September.