Carbon Empire: Allan McDonald | Winner of the 2017 NZ Photobook of the Year Award

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Carbon Empire: Allan McDonald | Winner of the 2017 NZ Photobook of the Year Award


Published by Rim Books, December 2017

softcover, staple bound, 40 pages

ISBN 978-0-473-39349-6 

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Carbon Empire combines a short series of staged photographs of a ‘man in the street’ made in 1997 with images of closed petrol stations photographed between 2003 and 2017. The book is a juxtaposition of these two series of photographs and a single image, made by chance in 2002.

The closed petrol stations reflect the effects of petroleum law changes across New Zealand. In 1988, the petroleum sector became deregulated, with the large international wholesalers able to control pricing at both refinery and pump. The small independent retailers (often family run businesses) found it increasingly difficult to survive in an environment too easily manipulated by economies of scale and the politics of supply. The inability to compete led to the closure of many petrol stations that attempted to operate as independent businesses.

The poignancy of that situation is both underscored and made more complex by society’s move way from fossil fuels and what could be the end of an era.

Winner of the 2017 NZ Photobook of the Year Awards

Other finalists for the 2017 NZ Photobook of the Year Awards included:

‘At Rest. A Road Trip To Anthropocene.’ by Howard Greive 
‘Complements’ by Michael Mahne Lamb 
‘Hand-Coloured New Zealand: The photographs of Whites Aviation’ by Peter Alsop + Potton & Burton
‘How are things. How things are.’ by Jamie Bowering 
‘I Will Be My Dream’ by Constance McDonald
‘Mimetic’ by Mark Purdom
‘Missing Wife’ by Dana Chisholm
’Nothing Ever Happens’ by Robyn Daly
‘Retrograde Motion’ by Yvonne Shaw + Tim Mackrell
‘The Lament’ by Harvey Benge + Dewi Lewis Publishing 
‘Valpo’ by Chris Leskovsek