Worlds Within: Photobooks of Aotearoa New ZealandNgā Ao Kei Roto: He Pukawhakaahua o Aotearoa

Lifting the lid on the photobook phenomenon and the art of the whole book as a creative work.

When | Āhea

19 Aug – 28 Nov 2022

Where | Ki hea

Toi Art, Level 5

Cost | Te utu



All ages


15 mins

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • Wheelchair accessible

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

The term ‘photobook’ first appeared in the early 2000s. The photobook is more than just a compilation of individual images in a book format, it’s a creative object in itself.

Digital technologies have enabled photographers to design, publish and distribute their own books over the last 20 years, and with photographers rather than publishers in control, an entire new field of both photographic expression and book publishing has emerged.

This exhibition lifts the lid on the photobook phenomenon. It shows examples of books that the publishing industry would once have termed illustrated books but which we can now understand as works of personal expression, as photobooks – even before the term existed, books like John Pascoe’s 1950 classic, The Mountains, the Bush & the Sea, and Les Cleveland’s 1966 photo/text essay, The Silent Land.

Contemporary self-published photobooks like Bruce Connew’s tiny I Saw You, and Saynab Muse’s 2019 Imaanshaha are also included.

Twenty-one books will be shown under glass and shown and there are ten contemporary photobooks for the public to browse through themselves.

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