Melbourne photographer, Sarah Walker, has won the 2018 Momento Pro Australia and New Zealand Photo Book Award for her debut book, Second Sight.Second Sight, published by small press imprint house Perimeter Books, is a 104-page soft cover that explores the ‘adage of seeing is believing’, while assuming ‘a cynical vantage on our collective relationship with spirituality, faith, ritual and the search for meaning.
‘The resulting body of work proves as speculative and enigmatic as it is arresting and dynamic – a space where the image of refracted light, moving water or birds in flight becomes a foil for arcing bodily gestures, clasped hands, arrangements of rocks and abstracted, deconstructed portraiture,’ Perimeter Books describes Second Sight. ‘Here, we find ourselves enmeshed in the artifice of this fraught search for meaning, where each and every instance becomes a potential sign.’
The judges described Walker’s book as having an unsettling voice that draws on spirit photography, nineteenth century notions of hysteria, and the arcane world of secret ritual.
‘Second Sight is a wonderful combination of photography, editing, design and storytelling. The narrative builds, changes and repeats, and the theme of “seeing is believing” is reinforced and reimagined throughout the book.’
Walker has won a $1000 cash prize and a $3000 Momento Pro print credit.
Second Sight is available for $39, in an edition of 500.
Melbourne-based photographer, Noah Thompson, won the Commended Award for his book, Huon.
Huon, a handmade self-published photo book printed by Bambra Press, is inspired by the conflict between conservation and development in Tasmania. The schism of environmental concern and industrial venture in Tassie has resulted in violence, industrial sabotage, threats, vandalism, corruption, conspiracy theories and dissension.
The judges said Huon has a beautiful photographic story that combines landscapes and portrait imagery with archival material, to evoke tension and create an awareness of how attitudes toward the environment have, and haven’t, changed.
‘The intimacy of the imagery makes you feel like you know the people and their way of thinking, while the white space and blank pages give you room to reflect,’ they commented.
Huon is an 84-page book with a sewn linen hardcover with embossing, and is available for $200 in an edition of 20.
Thompson won a $1000 Momento Pro print credit.
Both Walker and Thompson are recent graduates from Photography Studies College (PSC) in Melbourne, and were chosen from a pool of 117 submissions.
New Zealand-based photographer, Kira Sampurno, won the Student Award for his self-published book, ROYGBIV.
The 58-page laminated hardcover book uses ‘visually playful and vibrant design’ to explore the built architectural environment.
‘ROYGBIV shares Kira’s perceptions of New Zealand vernacular architecture. The foldout and tipped-in pages make use of lively colours and present an alternative, sometimes abstract view of ordinary buildings that have become familiar. It is refreshingly simple and fun, and an excellent example of how photo books can be creatively produced.’
An Indonesian-born Massey University alumni, Wellington, Sampurno produced ROYGBIV as part of his Bachelor of Design (Honours).
The ANZ Photo Book Award judging panel consisted of photography and publishing experts from Australia and New Zealand, along with Teun van der Heijden, founder of Dutch graphic design agency Heijdens Karwei.
Finalists’ books will tour Australia and New Zealand in an exhibition, with it next on show at Momento Pro HQ in Sydney April 4-5, and heading to Wellington and Auckland from May to June.
The exhibition will then return to Australia, showing at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga during July, and Maud Street Gallery in Brisbane from August 2-4.
The ANZ Photo Book Award winners were announced at the Contemporary Centre of Photography on Saturday, March 16. Click here for all the winners and finalists.