Alana Holmberg wins $30,000 National Photographic Portrait Prize
The winner of the 2019 National Photographic Portrait Prize is Alana Holmberg, for her image, Greta in her kitchen, 36 weeks. Holmberg, who beat the over 3,000 other entrants, was initially named amongst the 40 finalists. The Highly Commended has been awarded to Alex Vaughan for her portrait Sumbawa pride – life on a boat with eleven kids. Holmberg will receive the $30,000 cash prize along with $22,000 of equipment courtesy of Canon. Vaughan will receive an EIZO monitor valued at over $3,000.
Dr Christopher Chapman, Senior Curator at the National Portrait Gallery and co-judge of this year’s Prize, said the portrait of Greta captures an intimate moment. "This unconventional portrait is quiet and contemplative. The judges agreed that a compelling portrait photograph could be one that conveys a reflective moment experienced by many. The quality of light, the composition of the image and the subtle communication of the narrative combine to create an inner world."
Of Vaughan’s portrait, Chapman said: “The judges agreed that this is a joyous family portrait.” He went on to say that both the winning and highly commended images “possess a cinematic quality”. He and the other judges “felt strongly that both portraits allude to the ways in which family connections grow, and the photographs speak to the variety of experiences of motherhood”.
The Gallery awarded the Art Handlers’ Award earlier in the week to Elizabeth Looker for her portrait, A Calm So Deep. Looker’s prize includes $2,000 cash and return shipping of her artwork after the regional tour.
Voting in the People’s Choice award opens on Saturday 23 February, with the winner announced on 25 March.
The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 opens to the public on Saturday 23 February and is on display until Sunday 7 April 2019. Following this, it will tour the country.
About the judges
Dr Christopher Chapman is Senior Curator at the National Portrait Gallery. Since the late 1980s Chapman has worked with artists, written about art, developed exhibitions and presented talks and lectures on art and social expression. His PhD looked at images of adolescent masculinity in 20th century photography.
Anne O’Hehir is Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia. She writes on photography, and has curated and contributed to many exhibitions at the Gallery as well as being the curator of the photography space 2010-2015. She has a particular interest in contemporary photomedia practice as well as Modernist photography of the 1920s and 1930s.
Hoda Afsharis an Iranian-born Melbourne-based photographer. She began her career as a documentary photographer in Iran in 2005, and has been living and working in Australia since 2007. Working across photography and moving-image, she considers the representation of gender, marginality and displacement. Afshar’s many accolades include the winner’s award in the NPPP 2015.
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