Terra Galleria Photography

Treasured Lands wins Two Photography Awards


Having won in each of the 8 competitions entered (although it took two tries for the Indie Book Awards), I was running out of book awards in which to enter Treasured Lands. I turned to photography award competitions that have a “book” category and entered 4 of them.

What is the difference? For a book award, you send out copies of the book. That makes it possible for the book to be judged as … a book – the whole enchilada, with its physical realization, printing, design, flow. The photography award competitions let you submit only digital files, and not a whole lot of them. Three of those I entered use the same software that limit you to 8 jpegs, including the book cover. 7 spreads is barely representative of a 480-page book. They let you also upload a PDF, but the file size limit is so small that the option was useless for me: even after aggressive image compression, I could not even generate a PDF for the entirety of one of the 7 parts of Treasured Lands. So although the entry is called “book”, it is actually judged as a photo series. I entered the same spreads (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) in all 4 contests.

The outcome? Treasured Lands did not place in the Canadian Applied Arts Photo Illustration Awards. It was awarded the “nature book” Honorable Mention in International Photography Awards, Silver in Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), Gold in Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3).

In the poll, readers unanimously agreed that the additional category in Foreword and the Grand Prize in Indie Book Awards for best non-fiction book of 2020 should be counted separately, so that was 10 awards. 13 is sometimes considered a lucky number, sometimes unlucky. In order not to take risks, I am not counting the honorable mention as a “win” and won’t be entering more contests. A dozen will be enough. Here is the final tally, with links to references:


  1. Richard Wong says:

    Well deserved QT. Kudos. Hope this book continues to be a best seller for you.

  2. The photography awards certainly have an odd set of rules for a book competition! The awards are well deserved, glad to see the sales are still going well!

  3. Glenn Ruhl says:

    Your book should be getting awards without you having to even enter contests!

    • QT Luong says:

      Thanks Glenn. That’s indeed the way the most prestigious literary awards operate, but photo books do not qualify as literature. For photography books, the only nomination-based award I am aware of is the Deutsche Borse Prize, but it is for cutting edge contemporary photography.

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