If you’re keen to extend the photographic skills and creativity of your camera club members, consider hosting an annual photo book competition. Through the process of transforming a series of photographs into a book, they’ll refine their photo editing skills, learn about sequencing, layout and design, and improve their visual storytelling.
To make setting up a competition an easy process, we’ve created a How To Host A Photobook Competition Guide as well as a Photobook Competition webpage template, and profiled some winners of existing club comps below. If you’re inspired, feel free to hit us up for a voucher prize too.
In 2020 the Northside Creative Photography group in Sydney hosted their first photo book competition, based on the same criteria as the Australian Photographic Society Photobook Award. The entries spanned a variety of subjects, sizes and formats and the three winners were Maureen Rogers for The Language of Covid, Judith Bennett for The Lockdown Project and Jan Glover for Rockpools.
COVID not only inspired many of the entries but the format of the Award presentation which took place online, with judge Libby Jeffery from Momento Pro offering feedback to all entrants.
In 2020 the Redlands Camera Club in Brisbane also hosted their inaugural competition, formally integrating it into their annual Image Critiques Program. They attracted an impressive 28 entries across the Storytelling and Portfolio categories, which were judged by APS President Margaret O’Grady and past APS Photobook Competition Coordinator Yvonne Hill.
A exhibition was also organised so the books could be browsed by entrants and club members. An award presentation also took place, announcing the winners as Sally Cuthbert for Our Week in the Top End 2019 for the Storytelling category, and Kym Douglas for Creative Liquid Art for the Portfolio Category. View the video here.
Another pioneering club is the Canberra Photographic Society, who hosted their first photo book competition in 2019, under the auspices of President Helen McFadden. The winners of their competition were:
WINNER: Winter Meditations by Andree Lawrey
Judge’s comments: “Stunning images, pairing and sequencing. The combination of one, two and three images per page, and the flip from the natural to urban environment created interesting rhythm and pace. The choice of portrait format allowed for more white space, reflecting the minimalism of Japanese aesthetics, and creating a book that felt like visual meditation. Winter Meditations is proof that less is more, and made me want to jump on a plane to Hokkaido.”
SECOND: A Contemplation Grasstree by Ian Skinner
Judge’s comments: “Stunning handprinted and bound photo book that had an impact from the moment I touched the beautifully tactile cover. First impressions count! The wood embellishment used in the binding was meaningful and reflected the purpose of the book that was clearly stated in the Foreword. What a beautiful, meaningful present. It even smelt good!”
Image © Sharon Lane
THIRD: Home & Grown Sets by Judy Parker
Judge’s comments: “Truly fascinating photographs. The specimen shots on the cover immediately set the tone for the books, and the Foreword clearly stated its purpose. The captions were essential and well written. The sequencing held my attention, while the switch from colour to black and white was like a visual ‘jolt’ that made me think about the change in the subject of the photos too. The unpeeled pomegranate on the last page was fitting for ‘the end.’ This was a successful design from the first to the last page.”
There is also a national photo book competition, the Australian Photographic Society Photobook Award. It is now in its sixth year, and in 2021 the prize pool is valued at $2,000, with cash and photo book vouchers up for grabs. The submission deadline is 15 October, and past winners can be viewed here.
And don’t forget that all Australian and New Zealand camera club members are invited to join the Momento Pro Club Program that offers 30% off your first order then 10% off all future orders. Click here for full terms and conditions.
Photo credits: Dennis Hughes and Pia Jessen (Redlands Camera Club) and Libby Jeffery (Momento Pro)