Best ANTIPODEAN Photobooks 2019 Logo
Best ANTIPODEAN Photobooks 2019 Logo

At the end of each year photobook commentators and critics from across the globe gather to present the BEST BOOKS of that year. Their information resource is the books that they have encountered over the preceding 12 months. For the reasons of geography these lists are generally representative of the American, European and more recently the Japanese photobook scenes.

The photobook makers of New Zealand and Australia (the Antipodes) have limited opportunity to penetrate the northern hemisphere recognition space. Hence this first list of THE BEST ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOKS for 2019 has been prepared.

Please take a look – read the commentaries and visit the links to the larger stories of these books and the photographers, designers and publishers who made them.

And, as one of our nominators Mary Macpherson states, ‘Best Books lists should be seen as the opinion of individuals, based on what they’ve seen and prefer, rather than final verdicts on worth’.

Thank you

Doug Spowart



Compiled by DOUG Spowart & VICTORIA Cooper for The Antipodean Photobook

BOOKS BY: Alice Connew, Ana Paula Estrada, Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario, Brad Rimmer, Darren Sylvester, David Wadelton, Jane Wilcox, Lou Gilbert, Louis Lim & Beth Jackson, Maria Colaidis, Martine Perret, Mick Porter, Paul Blackmore, Paul Knight, Saynab Muse, and Felix Wilson.



Alice Connew’s  Still Looking Good     Images: Courtesy of the author

Still Looking Good

Featuring text adapted from Things That Move Me (2017) by Oliver Connew

Author & Designer: Alice Connew

Description: 10.5×14.8cm upright, 88 pages, hard cover, 38 colour photographs

Printed in Lithuania

Standard Edition: 300 signed and numbered

Special Edition: 30 signed and numbered with signed and numbered inkjet print #37


Have you ever had that kind of dream where you lost in the world with endlessly expanding spaces of desolation and destruction? You move amongst people not interested in helping you or what you are trying to tell them. I am a child from the era of the threat of nuclear war. Many of my childhood dreams were filled with an overwhelming desperation where I dream of trying to run or scream and I am frozen and silent unable to do either. This small book for me is about the reality of these dreams… a present where there is a kind of madness in and anxiety of the inability to stop and listen and reflect on what it means to be human.

Book Links:




Anna Paula Estrada  I was there I & II    Images courtesy of the author

I was there I & II

Author & Designer: Ana Paula Estrada

Description: A5 plus 4pp soft cover, digital Indigo press print on coated and uncoated stock. Features single stitch binding (book I) and French-folded perfect binding (book II)

Edition: 100


From the moment I picked up and began to ‘read’ this book duo I was immersed in the story that was being presented to me. By turning the pages I became witness to the intimate stories of two elderly people told through photographs, words and their progressive poetic intermingling. Emotive typography linked text fragments across pages and cut-outs in the pages allowed texts to re-appear with emphasised meaning.

For me reading these books was an emotional experience – I was there …





Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario’s    Deep In Their Roots, All Flowers Keep The Light      Images: Courtesy of the author

Deep In Their Roots, All Flowers Keep The Light

Author: Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario

Design: Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario and Eva-Maria Kunz

Description: 23.3×16×1cm, 78 pages, softcover, cotton wove and GSK paper, inserted booklet 8 pages, binding – sewn paperback with canvas finishing

Printed by: Grafiche dell’Artiere, Italy

Published: ceiba editions

Edition: 350

ISBN 978-88-941-960-9-2

ceiba logo


I had the good fortune of seeing the extensive consideration and experimentation that went into this book, encompassing a Masters of Fine Arts, multiple dummies, and an artist proof that won the prestigious international photobook competition Photoboox – resulting in the work being published by renowned Ceiba Editions. Despite its tragic inspiration, this is a beautifully resolved photo book, that reclaims and celebrates the memory of Anna’s older sister Daniela, and their childhood. You’ll find it hard not to be moved by this book.

Book Links: Signed and unsigned versions

Special limited edition, signed with fibre based, archival pigment print

An interview:



Brad Rimmer’s  Nature Boy      Images: Courtesy of T&G Publishing and the author

Nature Boy

Author – photographs and text: Brad Rimmer

Designer: Gianni Frinzi

Book description: 24.7x 33.6×1.6cm, 96 pages printed offset on Fedrigoni Papers, hard cover Duotone varnish with debossing and foil stamping on cover and spine

Edition 1,000

Signed Edition: 200

IBSN 9780987079008

Publisher: T&G Publishing



Brad Rimmer’s Nature Boy draws us into the relentlessness of rural life and conditions in the western Australian wheatbelt. His autobiographical narratives intermingle with contemporary portraits of young adults who present with a disconnected gaze. As we turn the page, Rimmer’s landscape is depicted as an unforgiving land of wide fields, vernacular architecture, stunted mallee and burning wheat stubble. In this book he laments the lack of intergenerational change in rural life and how in revisiting this space he sees that his memories as a teenager growing to manhood live on in the youth he photographed today. Nothing has changed…


Book link:

A review:



Darren Sylvester’s  Carve a future, devour everything, become something      Image source: NGV website

Carve a future, devour everything, become something

Author: Darren Sylvester

Design: Dirk Hiscock

Publisher: National Gallery of Victoria

Specifications: 26×29.5cm portrait, 304 pages, colour illustrations, 1 sound disc and clear plastic & foil click-seal enclosure.

ISBN: 9781925432541

ngv logo


While not strictly a photobook, in so far as it is a catalogue for Darren Sylvester’s exhibition at the NGV which included works in media other than photography, this über- lavish book is a magnificent compendium of the work of one of Australia’s most exciting photographic artists. Great written pieces too.


The NGV Bookshop

An interview



David Wadelton’s Suburban Baroque

Suburban Baroque

Author: David Wadelton

Essay: Patrick Pound

Designer: Yanni Florence

Specifications: 35 x 35cm, 210 pages, colour illustrations, hard cover, all edges gilt and black ribbon bookmark

Publisher: M.33

Edition: 500



The design of the book with its sumptuous gold trim and rich colour palette evokes a sense of opulence and nostalgia. My home is my castle; this is the central theme to Wadelton’s book about homes in Melbourne that were settled by post-war immigrants. These images are emblematic of a longing for what was left behind in the old country, and a nod to the future.

Book Link:

A Review:



Felix Wilson’s  Nocturnal Ecologies    Images: Courtesy Perimeter Editions

Nocturnal Ecologies

Author: Felix Wilson

Design: Felix Wilson and Erin Callaghan

Editors: Dan Rule, Justine Ellis

Copy Editing: Nadiah Abdulrahim

Design: Erin Callaghan and Felix Wilson

Perimeter Editions #40

Specifications: 25cm portrait, 72 unnumbered pages, illustrations

ISBN: 9780987637109



Beautifully presented, somewhat mysterious collection of atmosphere suffused images of apparently random natural and manmade things – provoking questions about the impact of our dependence on coal for illuminating our lives. A great example of a very fine small book made on a modest budget.

Book Link:



JaneWilcox’s   Between Perfection and Beauty    Images: Courtesy of the author

Between Perfection and Beauty

Author: Jane Wilcox

Design by: Lucy Aitchison, Harry Culy and Jane Wilcox

Publisher: Bad News Books

Specifications: 35 x 23cm, 72 pages, hard cover with screen-printed blue linen, printed and hand-bound in Wellington, New Zealand

Edition: 25, signed by the artist



Inside this inviting cover is an uncluttered space to reflect on the awkward and beautiful transition between childhood and adulthood, seen in that in-between space of the waiting room, moments before the big performance.  These portraits shift their gaze from right to left as you flick through the book – a playful structural device.

Book Link:

A Review:

Author’s Instagram: jwilcoxpics



Lou Gilbert’s  Fortitude   Images courtesy of the author


Self-published: Lou Gilbert

Designer: Lou Gilbert

Specifications: Concertina format, 21×27.5cm, 10 pages, printed on Epson Archival Matte paper by Live Image.

Constructed by the artist


I liked how Lou Gilbert’s concertina book cleverly juxtaposed the landscape and the humans that inhabit the Brisbane inner city suburb of Fortitude Valley. Almost like photographs of ‘dogs that look like their humans’, Lou finds common visual threads linking the distinctness of individuals of ‘The Valley’ to the distinct patterns of the Valley’s distinct inner city architecture

Book Link:



Louis Lim + Beth Jackson’s    …there is no end    Images courtesy of the authors

 …there is no end

Authors: Louis Lim & Beth Jackson with paintings by Michael Foley

Design: Louis Lim in conjunction with a Reminders Photography Stronghold Photobook Masterclass with Yumi Goto, Sandra van der Doelen and Teun van der Heijden

Description: 20.5cm x 25.5cm x 2.5cm, 244 pages, codex, hard cover with combination of hand-bound kettle stitched and concertina format.

Edition: Handmade artist edition of 51 copies. (Edition number is based on the number of months of a subject’s confinement.)

Published: Reminders Photography Stronghold



Themes of grief and loss through death and imprisonment are investigated in words, photographs and watercolours by three contributors. Two stories sitting side by side are at the same time interwoven in a joined double format book, one codex, one concertina.  The book is digitally printed on four types of paper and is in an edition of 51, the number of months of the subject’s imprisonment.


Book Link:


A Video of the Book:



. Maria Colaidis’ Fragments i  Images courtesy of the author

Fragments i

Author & Designer: Maria Colaidis

Description: A5, 24 pages, digital press, sewn spine, signed and numbered.

Edition: 100


This little handmade book reaches into the dark corners of my mind. I am presented with a collection of mostly unrelated and dark fragments separated from their corporeality. Then, as I ‘read’, they psychologically coalesce and draw me into a reverie of my own constructed narratives.

Book Link:

Maria Colaidis’ instagram



Martine Perret’s Ngala Wongga         Image source: Courtesy of the author

Ngala Wongga: Cultural Significance of Languages in the Goldfields

Author: Martine Perret

Designer: Rachel Tay

Description: 22x32cm (landscape), 80 pages section sewn, case bound cover with square back with gold foil on soft-touch cover and spine

Publisher: Self-published

Printer: Scott Print – Perth

Edition: First – 550 copies



Ethereal aerial landscapes of the goldfields of Western Australia are paired with portraits of Indigenous Australians and their individual stories that bring to the fore the relationship between the land, language and identity. Perret’s black and white portraits in particular are luminous and create an intriguing visual pairing with the colours of the Australian landscape.


Book Link:

Online version of the book:’martine%20perret



Mick Porter’s  In the Shadow of the Leaves  Image source: From the BLURB listing

In the shadow of the leaves

Author + Designer: Mick Porter

Published: Self-published through BLURB

Specifications: 33x28cm, 77 pages, hard-cover,

Edition: Open via BLURB print on demand

Edition variant: Inkjet print on washi paper with cloth covered cover.



In the shadow of the leaves is a photographic meditation based on the Samurai book ‘Hagakure’ (In the shadow of the leaves). The images in the book subtly and exquisitely reflect themes in ‘Hagakure’ in the context of contemporary Japan. Mick’s mastery of aligning place, context and time is at times striking, befitting and complementary to the ideas of the ‘Hagakure’.


Book Link: In the Shadow of the Leaves by Mick Porter | Blurb Books



Paul Blackmore’s  HEAT          Images courtesy of the author


Author: Paul Blackmore

Designer: Belinda Rabe and Alphabet Studios

Essays: Courtney Wise and Alison Stieven-Taylor

Specification: 33m x 28cm, 166 pages, 76 Colour plates on Japanese Lumi Silk Art paper

Printer: Spitting Image

Edition:1000 copies.



This large coffee-table book is exquisite with superb photography, a clean, contemporary design, and crisp, white stock. The reproduction of the photographs gives a depth and richness to the images. Paul Blackmore is a skilled, and thoughtful storyteller and the narrative flow of this book echoes the cadence of beach life and the Australian seaside in summer. (Caveat: I wrote the essay for the book!).



The only book that I have come across and bought, is the beautiful publication by Paul Blackmore titled Heat. I understand that it was self-published. Paul paid for everything including, the shooting, design, printing etc.

The images are powerful, engaging and well constructed. The printing is excellent and the design emphasises the strength of the images.


Book Link:



Paul Knight’s  jump into bed with me    Image: Courtesy of Perimeter Publishing

jump into bed with me

Author: Paul Knight

Design : Roland Brauchli

Copy Editor: Emma Capps

Colour Reproductions: Flavio Milani.

Specifications: 31cm, 88 unnumbered pages, Tri-fold (W format) staple bound booklet

Printer: Printed by Pöge Druck, Germany

Publisher: Perimeter Editions # 047


Edition: 350 + Artist Edition of 50

Perimeter Books Logo



Brilliant documentation of a long term relationship from a ‘camera’s point of view’. Intimate, romantic and thought-provoking despite the banal nature of many of the images. Splendid concept and design.


Book Link: Perimeter Books – Jump into bed with me by Paul Knight



Saynab Muse’s Imaanshaha     Image source: Courtesy of the author


Author: Saynab Muse

Designer: Saynab Muse

Description: 25.4 x20.3 x 0.6cm, 68 pages, digital press, softcover perfect bound

Published by Saynab Muse and PhotoForum

Printer: The Print Guys

Edition of 160

ISSN 0111-0411

photoforum Logo



‘Imaanshaha’, which means ‘arrival’, gives perspective about what it might be like to be a migrant in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an intimate portrait of Saynab Muse’s Somali family in Mt Roskill where they share close cultural connections with the local Muslim and Somali community. Through staged portraits, which make strong use of patterned fabrics and colour against prosaic Kiwi backgrounds, we’re taken into a world of another culture on its own terms. The portraits highlight the strength of Muslim women and also through images with barriers and concealment, talk about the potent issue of safety for the Muslim community. An opportunity to see another world in Aotearoa.


Book  Link:

Interview with the author:

Book launch and exhibition:




In late 2019 we contacted around 25 key contributors to the photobook discipline in New Zealand and Australia for their Best Book nominations. Later, an open call was put out to gather other nominations. The response culminates with this Blog post. We thank the supporters of this initiative and look forward to, at the end of this year – calling on nominations for the Best Books of 2020.


Or 2019 nominators are:

Alison Stieven-Taylor


Who/what I do: Alison Stieven-Taylor is a international journalist and commentator with a special interest in social documentary photography.

She writes for many magazines and online sites and is the publisher of the Blog Photojournalism Now.


Helen Cole    PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: Helen Cole is a Librarian/ artists’ book and photobook commentator


David Cook       PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: David Cook is a documentary photographer and Massey University lecturer, based in Wellington, New Zealand.


David Symons


Who/what I do: Self-publisher of zines and photobooks. He states, I photograph because… what Garry Winogrand said…’


Helen Frajman     PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: Helen Frajman is the Publisher at M.33


Libby Jeffery


Who/what I do: Coordinator of the Australia & New Zealand Photobook of the Year Award, and Momento Pro Marketing Manager


Mary Macpherson      PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: Mary Macpherson is a Wellington photographer and poet. She is PhotoForum reviews editor and a member of the Photobook NZ committee. She believes that Best Books lists should be seen as the opinion of individuals, based on what they’ve seen and prefer, rather than final verdicts on worth.


Michael Coyne        PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: Michael Coyne has published over 9 books and is an internationally recognised documentary photographer.


Victoria Cooper PHOTO: Doug Spowart


Who/what I do: Dr Victoria Cooper makes artists’ books and photobooks


Doug Spowart PHOTO: Victoria Cooper


Who/what I do: Dr Doug Spowart is a photobook maker, researcher and producer








6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lou Gilbert says:

    How inspiring to see everyone’s books. I’m a bit chuffed to be included.




    1. Each book presented something different about how people make photobooks – Great to see your worked nominated Lou…!


  2. Graham Monro says:

    Hi Doug

    What about Wayne Miles Gang book for 2019 ?

    Kind regards, Graham Monro Photographic Director ………………………………………………………………………………………

    M: (+61) 0410 456 377 P: (+61) 02 9960 4600 E: W: A: Level 1/557 Military Road, Mosman 2088


    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender and then delete it immediately. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Company.



    1. Hi Graham Wayne’s book was published in 2016 … BTW can you PM me Wayne’s Email and phone….


  3. Mike Reed says:

    fantastic well done


    1. Thanks Mike — There are GREAT books out there that need to be shared…! Cheers Doug


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