We present a framework for unsupervised image categorization in which images containing specific objects are taken as vertices in a hypergraph and the task of image clustering is formulated as the problem of hypergraph partition. First, a novel method is proposed to select the region of interest (ROI) of each image, and then hyperedges are constructed based on shape and appearance features extracted from the ROIs. Each vertex (image) and its k-nearest neighbors (based on shape or appearance descriptors) form two kinds of hyperedges. The weight of a hyperedge is computed as the sum of the pairwise affinities within the hyperedge. Through all of the hyperedges, not only the local grouping relationships among the images are described, but also the merits of the shape and appearance characteristics are integrated together to enhance the clustering performance. Finally, a generalized spectral clustering technique is used to solve the hypergraph partition problem. We compare the proposed method to several methods and its effectiveness is demonstrated by extensive experiments on three image databases.