2022 IDPA


The 2022 Imageless Dummy Photobook Awards

We are delighted to announce that submissions for the 2022 Imageless Dummy Photobook Awards (IDPA) are now open!

Submission Deadline:  September 31st, 2022

 Apply Here!


Submission Guidelines in a Nutshell:

  • Must be unpublished work
  • In keeping with our vision to increase the representation of East Asian voices in the global photography sphere, we are only accepting applications from individuals from East Asia* or bodies of work based in or focused on East Asian culture and communities*.

  • Books must arrive in China before September 31st, 2022

 *We define ‘East Asia,' as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia.
**By 'focused on East Asian culture,' we mean work either geographically located in East Asia or work that focuses on particular aspects of East Asian culture and its communities (including its diasporas). 


About IDPA

Four years ago, we established the Imageless Dummy Photobook Awards (IDPA), intending to encourage East Asian creatives to produce entire bodies of photographic work while advocating the use of print media in visual storytelling. 

Over the past 3 three years, we have received more than 300 bodies of work from over 200 creators. Each year, the IDPA entries showcase an abundance of unique creative languages and sincere artistic drive.

Photography is not only a language of documentation. It is also a medium for deep thought and imagination. The physical nature of photobooks gives the photographer a chance to realize their creative vision while also establishing a unique connection with the reader.

We believe strongly in the photobooks' timeless, almost magical, ability to amplify the power of an idea to create a symbiotic relationship between image and audience. Therefore, we are pleased and excited to announce that the 4th annual Imageless Dummy Photobook Awards is officially open for submissions.

  Apply to 2022 IDPA here!


Continue reading for:

  1. IDPA Prizes, Judges & Timelines
  2. Application Guidelines and Need-to-Knows
  3. How to Apply


IDPA Prizes, Judges & Timelines

2022 IDPA Panel of Judges

**Yet to be announced**


IDPA – Awards and Prizes

IDPA 1st Place Prize (1 winner)

Awarded to the book selected by our judges as the best book in the competition. One winner will receive the following: 

  • 5,000 RMB / $750 USD
  • The winning work will be published as a zine or photobook by Imageless
  • An interview and artist profile to be published on Imageless' website and social media channels

Judge's Choice Award (3 winners):

The 2022 IDPA panel of 3 judges will each select their personal favorite from the entire pool of entrants. The three winners will receive the following:

  • 2,000 RMB / $300 USD
  • An interview and artist profile to be published on Imageless' website and social media channels

** Regardless of winning an award, all entrants are subject to consideration to be published and promoted by Imageless. **


IDPA Timeline

Applications Deadline: 30th, September 2022

IDPA Shanghai Exhibition Begins:  Early October 2022

Winners Announced: Early October 2022

Shanghai IDPA Exhibition Closes:  Early November 2022


Application Guidelines and Need-to-Knows (PLEASE READ)

Dummy Book Requirements: 

  1. All work must be your own.
  2. All work must be unpublished and remain unpublished until after October 2022.
  3. Only applications by individuals from East Asia* or bodies of work based in/or focused on East Asian culture** will be accepted. 
  4. If your work includes the copyright of other individuals, you must ensure you have permission to include their work.
  5. There are no requirements or restrictions to your dummy book's size, shape, or design.
  6. All Dummy books must include photography
 *We define ‘East Asia,' as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia.
**By 'focused on East Asian culture,' we mean work either geographically located in East Asia or work that focuses on particular aspects of East Asian culture and its communities (including its diasporas). 



  1. We require all applicants to send dummy books to China. All applicants will need to pay the shipping fees.
  2. Sending a book to China may take up to 2 weeks. Please factor that time in when applying. Overseas applicants should aim to send their dummy books by mid-September at the very latest. 
  3. Imageless will not be able to send your dummy book back to you. Imageless will keep all dummy books but will only ever use them for IDPA exhibitions or to promote the events. 
  4. Imageless may want to make digital scans of your book to post on our website, social media, and other digital channels for promotional purposes.  Of course, we will always attribute copyright to you, and when possible, we will add links to your website or social media.
  5. All dummy book entries will appear in the IDPA exhibition(s). The first exhibition will be in Shanghai in October 2022.

Have questions? Write us an email: contact@imagelessbooks.com  


How to Apply

Step 1: Apply

 You can apply online through this application form.


You will need to prepare the following:

* An Artist Statement - a written introduction that gives deeper insight into the main elements of your work,  i.e., the history, material choices, visual languages, and themes you address.

* An Artist Bio- a simple self-introduction of you as a creator.

* Artist website and social media handles (no worries if you don't have any). 



Step 2: Send your book to us

Once you have applied through the above form. You will need to send off your dummy book to us. Please send it to the below address:

To: Imageless Studio (无像工作室)


Phone number: +86 186 6103 8969.

The Chinese address: 江苏省 无锡市滨湖区湖滨路4号智慧无锡B203 

**Remember that it may take up to 2 weeks to send a book to China. Please factor that time in when applying. Overseas applicants should aim to send their dummy books by mid-September at the very latest. 


Thank you for your interest. We look forward to seeing all of your work!!


For any and all questions, write us an email: contact@imagelessbooks.com



Annual Best Dummy Photobook Award

"Grassland, Funeral" by Gao Shaoshan

Author's Statement: From the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, things were constantly passing away on the lawn below my apartment. I witnessed a series of deceased individuals being carried into the same blue funeral tent on this lawn, over and over. In this sense, this blue tent, which was central to many funerals, symbolized a larger funeral or even an act of forgetting. Through "snapshots" that directly involve readers in the event, I documented this "funeral" in a realistic sense. Using the photobook as a medium, I constructed a narrative of successive funerals through photo editing, exploring the theme of "funeral."

Author's Bio:

Gao Shaoshan was born in 2000 and grw up in Taiyuan, Shanxi. He holds a bachelor's degree in painting from Southwest Jiaotong University. He is currently studying Photography at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts.



Jury Comments

This is a rare book where content and form are perfectly matched. The author uses a large number of full-bleed layouts in a small-format book, creating a sense of oppressive realism, interspersed with appropriate white space to let emotions slowly brew. The theme is heavy, involving life and death, but the author avoids all sentimental and overt emotional expressions, maintaining a surprising level of restraint. However, under this surface of restraint, there is a surge of underlying emotions, and certain parts of the layout are ingeniously connected, making this a seemingly ordinary book that is full of thoughtful details upon closer inspection.

Yu Qiongjie:
'Grassland, Funeral' uses a static visual narrative that surpasses a dynamic long-form record. The sequential relationship of the images are like scenes in a movie. The poetic text constructed through images fully engages the reader's emotions, leaving a faint sadness after reading, but not overwhelmingly so, breaking the reader's subjective impression of the theme 'funeral.'"

Yin Er:
It leaves a subtly intoxicating impression, narrating the parting road of a soul from the mortal world with pure visual language in a non-linear way. The appropriately set book structure unexpectedly immerses the reader's emotions at nearly overlooked moments."

Jury Selection Award

"Silver River Flows Long" by shadowINred

Author's Statement

"My mother passed away in early 2020. She was born near a reservoir in the Rui'an District of Wenzhou, and her cemetery is on a small hill in the Ouhai District. I completed this project by photographing along the route from her birthplace to her cemetery, combined with portraits of family members.

Author's Bio

Artist, Xie Lufeng, prefers to publish photography works under the name shadowINred.


Taco's Comments:

"I really like the author's sense of photography, which is light yet has an inherent rhythm and harmony. The photography is full of spirituality, making the viewer feel as if they are directly facing the subject, which is a rare talent. The arrangement of the book is also very tidy, with natural, unforced alternations between portraits and small scenes, making it an excellent dummy photobook."

Hua Hong《花红》 by Liao Xiong

Author's Statement:

Huahong is his real name and he‘s a migrant worker. In 1993, at the age of 19, he came to work on a construction site in Hangzhou with fellow villagers, later getting into the tile-laying industry through an introduction. A hardworking man, he bought a house in Hangzhou seven years ago, ending his family's long period of renting and moving. Huahong's family life is harmonious, and he enjoys singing and dancing, always harboring a dream of becoming a star. Since seeing live performances on the streets, Huahong decided to showcase "grassroots culture" through his own talents and realize his long-held dream. On stage, Huahong is no longer just a tile worker in a cramped space but a focal point of admiration and attention, finding a sense of existence there.

Author's Bio

Liao Xiong is a member of the China Photographers Association and a senior engineer, currently working at the Publicity Department of Gongshu District, Hangzhou. He has published photography books such as “60% Alum Mine Documentary” and “Innocent San Dun”. He has also self-published books like “Machine Repair 60 Years”, “Exile”, “The Rite of Passage”, and “In the Thousand Peaks”. His works have been featured in various photography exhibitions including the Lishui International Photography Exhibition and Ningbo International Photography Exhibition.


Yuqiong's Comments: Liao Xiong’s photography book “Huahong” narrates the daily life of an ordinary person from an observer's perspective. The first thing that moved me was the content: the vivid response of the characters and the social status and individuality of the group the photographer focuses on. Secondly, the book's structure: it is divided into two parts, with different types of paper used to respond to the images of work and daily life. Glossy paper is used for work images, giving them a sense of being part work, while uncoated paper for daily life images provides a documentary feel, presenting the real two sides of the character.

I Am Young, So Young 《我年轻,如此年轻》by Xiang Haoquan

Author's Statement

Alec Soth once said, “photography has a problem, which is that it is entirely about appearance, so shooting must be full of the photographer’s projection onto others.” The use of the first person in the title symbolizes self-awareness, the consciousness of a young person who is full of hope yet deeply feels powerless, possessing the best physical and intellectual state of his life.

Author's Bio

Xiang Haoquan, born in 1997, from Hunan, China.


Yin Er's Comments: I almost bumped into a young man who apologized first. This photography book, which reduces ambition and talent to the minimum on almost every level, consists of snapshots taken by an elder brother of his younger brother, who is four years younger. Flipping through it briefly, I witnessed the moments of a very ordinary boy from a small city in Central China, growing up quickly. When preparing to put the book down, I noticed the most prominent sentence on the introduction page: “Prepared in haste, many mistakes, please forgive.” This apology instantly pierced through the images of helplessness and unspoken words accumulated over years in my memory. Not just this book, but the younger brother in the book, the author taking the photos, and even us viewers—who isn't on the verge of slipping into the unpredictable vortex of reality? We have all been taught a way to always avoid sharp edges, to habitually apologize. Everything and everyone are no longer young. This book made me shift from a fixation on the connection between content and form to seeing the intertextuality between the book and its external state. If it hadn't been made into a photo album handed to others, would such an unremarkable protagonist and such a mundane trace of life ever be noticed? The book makes a fleeting encounter pause, with a glance connecting thoughts, then both parties move on, apologizing.

Emerging Talent Award
Youth Sketchbook 《青春速写本》 by Xu Hengtao


Author's Statement

A work about youth photographed during the years 2018-2023, centered around the young people around me.

Author's Bio

Xu Hengtai, born December 28, 1999. Graduated in 2023 from Heilongjiang Engineering College with a major in Urban and Rural Planning, currently residing in Xi'an, Shaanxi.


Award Comments

Peng Ke: This is a photography book I wanted to own, with many photos that I have looked at for a long time. Its cover has no text, which contrasts with the lively images inside, making it a pleasant surprise and something to cherish. The photographer respects the world in front of them; these images are light and carry no heavy self-justification. You can feel the photographer growing and intertwining with the surrounding world, and this small resonance is touching, yet the photographer's honesty allows this frequency to radiate to a larger world. The book's size and content are perfectly matched, and imagining opening it on a distant night evokes much thought and takes one back to many misty nights beyond.

Ni Liang: In this simple and unpretentious book, the creator demonstrates impressive control over imagery and editing skills. Documenting the people around them is a basic desire for many photographers, but rarely with the appearance presented in this book: each page invites contemplation and surprise. The pure charm of direct photography is felt in this book, making it very touching! If possible, please continue shooting! 

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