Momento Musings

APS Photobook Competition winners 2020

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of Australia’s only national amateur photobook competition hosted by the Australian Photographic Society (APS) and Momento Pro. In its fifth edition, the competition attracted 37 entries across the Storytelling and Portfolio categories, from members of the APS and local camera clubs. The books were diverse in format and subject, and they featured a range of photographic genres including landscape, portrait, travel, nature, architecture, street and fine art nudes.

The six winners who share prizes of $500 cash from the APS Print Group and $1400 in photo book vouchers from Momento Pro are:

Storytelling category

  • 1st: I’m Not Me Any More by Lou Gilbert
  • 2nd: If I Had My Life Over I’d Pick More Daisies by Helen McFadden
  • 3rd: The Music Of The Spheres by Paul Balfe

Portfolio category

  • 1st: Hokkaido Winter 2020 by Lesley Bretherton
  • 2nd: Liked by Brian Rope
  • 3rd: Amsterdam Rush Hour by Anne Pappalardo

To celebrate the winners’ work we’ve included a short profile on each book, including a link to a video of the book, and some judges comments describing the elements that made the book successful.

Competition coordinators Yvonne Hill and Anne Pappalardo of the Queensland Camera Group hosted the book judging on 22 August at the Art at Heart studio in Bellbowrie, Brisbane. The judging panel included:

Momento Pro has been a sponsor of the competition since its inception but this year, Libby was also invited to be a judge. Due to COVID restrictions, Libby judged remotely via Zoom. To make this possible the coordinators presented each book to multiple video cameras, described its physical characteristics, and read out any text while flicking through every page.

After five hours the judges selected the six winning books based on the competition criteria including excellence and fitness-for-purpose in photography, sequencing of images, design, layout and typography. The Storytelling category winners also showed originality in concept, and an engaging visual narrative.

Storytelling Winners

I’m not me any more by Lou Gilbert of Brisbane Camera Group
Prize: $150 cash and $350 Momento Pro voucher
View book

Lou is an avid photo book creator, and won the Storytelling category last year. This year’s book took her only six hours to create, which is an achievement in itself.

Judges comment: Despite its intimate size, this book packs a powerful emotional punch. The portraits of an elderly woman woven in with her comments on moving into a nursing home, are confronting. The grey cover, the addition of deliberately blurred images, and their random placement on the page, all tragically reflect the status of her Alzheimer’s affected mind.

If I Had My Life Over I’d Pick More Daisies by Helen McFadden of Canberra Photo Connect
Prize: $75 cash and $250 Momento Pro voucher
View book

Judges comment: Helen has brought together all her creative skills in this beautifully edited and formatted photo book. In addition to the excellent photography and fine art photo editing, she enhanced the photographs with botanical illustrations, painting and poetry, making full use of the book format to create her memoir in flowers from 30 years in floral art.

The Music of the Spheres by Paul Balfe of Redlands Camera Club
Prize: $25 cash and $100 Momento Pro voucher
View book

When COVID meant Paul’s overseas travel was cancelled, he spent time photographing the patterns made by a swinging light source, then presented them in a book which explored how the images might represent celestial bodies and their paths through the cosmos.

Judges comment: “Not only are the photographs of moving light sources skillful and fascinating, but the text, font and layout of the book are perfectly aligned with its purpose. The design is clean and consistent, the use of headings and captions makes it feel like a scientific document, while the organic motif used throughout the pages, reflects the concept of movement too.”

Portfolio Winners

Hokkaido Winter 2020 by Lesley Bretherton of Melbourne Camera Club
Prizes: $150 cash and $350 Momento Pro voucher
View book

Judges comment:  This book was an easy winner, due to its immaculate landscape photographs that were poetically paired with a haiku. The font style and colour blend beautifully with the tone of the photography, while the placement of a Location Index at the back of the book is in keeping with the book’s minimalist nature. Hokkaido Winter 2020 is a visual meditation.

Liked by Brian Rope of Canberra Photographic Society and Canberra PhotoConnect
Prizes: $75 cash and $250 Momento Pro voucher
View book

Judges comment: Liked presented an engaging series of abstract black and white images and it made us laugh. The image selection was unique and contemporary, as only photos that received a ‘Like’ from a photography peer were chosen. Including the social post text and comments, in the Facebook font, also added to the context and humour. It’s a great creative collaboration.

Amsterdam Rush Hour by Anne Pappalardo of Queensland Camera Group
Prizes: $25 cash, $100 Momento Pro voucher
View book

Judges comment: Amsterdam Rush Hour is a well-edited and beautifully sequenced series of photographs of the city’s bike riders. The technically excellent images have been strategically paired and placed on the pages to play on and enhance the concept of motion, and the choice of a matte white stock and black end pages was a perfect match for the monochrome imagery.

So what makes a winning photo book?

All the winning books showed an appreciation for negative space, symmetry and alignment, and made good use of text and extra graphics to enhance the narrative behind the photos.

Regardless of whether you win or take a place in a photobook competition, the process of creating a photo book allows you to learn and develop new artistic skills including how to:

  • select photos that work well in a series or sequence
  • pair photos with complementary or contrasting images to create maximum impact or to inspire a specific response from the viewer
  • integrate photographs with text or other graphics to enhance their meaning or tell their full story

Feedback from the competition judge’s will also be invaluable.

Enter next year’s APS competition

If you’re inspired to enter next year, explore the criteria and submission process here and keep your eye on the APS eNews or Momento Pro newsletters for the announcement of a webinar on How To Create An Award-winning Photo Book Design, to be hosted in early 2021.

Host your own photo book competition

Should you wish to host a photo book competition at your local camera club or photographic society, and receive a $150 Momento Pro voucher prize email marketing@momentopro.com.au. And if you’re not already a member of the Momento Pro Club Program learn more here about the benefits including 30% off your first order then $10 off all future orders.

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