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National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

Apr 5, 2017  ·  2 min read

words by ben stephens

As a judge of the National Photographic Portrait Prize, the look into the diverse life of Australian’s must leave one more in love with the nation. I would recommend reading the 2017-accompanying essay (read it in full HERE) by Sarah Engledow, judge and curator at the National Portrait Gallery.

To give you an idea of the changing face of Australia, consider Sarah’s words:

‘Every year has its character. In the early years of the prize there were many photographs of tattooed people, for example, but now there are so many tattooed people that photographers have no reason to seek them out.

Similarly, in early years the judges were routinely startled by images of people in bondage gear, or people wearing clothes customarily adopted by a person of another gender.

Now, cross-dressing is much more mainstream, more and more people identify as intersex and either people can’t be bothered getting trussed and tied up, or no one happens to have a camera handy when they are.’ 

It’s with that in mind that you should enter the exhibition, in order to fully appreciate what you’re looing at.

The winner has been judged as the portrait of ABC’s Richard Morecroft and accomplished painter Alison Mackay, captured by Gary Grealy. The piece plays with the idea of partnership in life and work, and a celebration of the duo’s work that they have produced together.

As art is subjective, you now have the chance to check out the full 49 finalists and put your two cents forward in the people’s choice award. I would highly recommend checking out the exhibition in real life, however, if the nation’s capital is a little too far away, you can head HERE to cast your vote online.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is on show a the National Portrait Gallery until June 18.


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