The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David. Some former prime ministers are just less self-conscious than others. All the planning in the world went out the window the moment Bob Hawke walked into the room, sipping through a pink straw. As my father used to say, ‘What it is!’, and at that moment, as history stood before me, I understood what he meant! I am always looking for what connects us all and makes us human. My heart knows we are all created equal, and I always strive to capture that essence in my photographs – a take-away cup, a glint in the eyes, a life well-lived.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied, 2017 by Adrian Cook. Yassmin Abdel-Magied at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, June 2017, captured using the wet-plate collodion process.
The girls, 2017 by Tamara Dean. A tight-knit group of teenage girls from regional south-west NSW look out over a local quarry on the outskirts of town, a place where local teens cool off in the heat of summer. Extending on my 2013 series The Edge, this image is part of a series exploring the relationship between young people and nature in contemporary regional life. Having photographed these girls in a number of locations, I was struck by their fearless, playful, adventurous spirits, a result of them growing up on the land. This project was initiated and commissioned by The Wired Lab.
Mr Zee (Wet plate collodion image), 2017 by Scott Anthony Andrews. Justin (Mr Zee) Zahra is a creative animal specialising in metal sculpture, painting and building hot rods. He appears rough around the edges, but is one of the most gentle and giving souls you will meet.
Untitled, 2016 by Emma Phillips. I was thinking of Sandro Botticelli and I was thinking of Rineke Dijkstra. But mostly I was thinking of this girl on the beach in Frankston, and how she's beautiful and radiant.
eX de Medici, artist, 2017, by Gary Grealy. It was with trepidation that I approached eX de Medici – an intensely private person with no desire to have her image on public view – to ask to make her portrait; reluctantly, she agreed. eX is one of Australia's foremost contemporary artists, with her work held in the collections of our most prestigious galleries and museums. Her art is a captivating mix of guns and military helmets juxtaposed with the natural world – flowers and endangered species form backdrops and textures. eX is photographed here on a plain backdrop overlaid with writing from her ‘wall of shame’. The text overlaying her image is an acknowledgement of the tattooist within the fine artist.
Meagan Pelham, 2017 by Lyndal Irons. Artist Meagan Pelham’s ability to feel romance at every moment is brought to life in illustrations of mocktails, owls and weddings. She believes owls to be the most romantic animal, and the materials of her mask – felt, lace, glitter paint and wedding beads – reflect this. ‘I dream all the time and I like my dreams a lot.’
Scarred, 2017 by Nicole Katherine Wells. Colin had a brain tumour back in 2015 – it was a benign meningioma. Doctors determined that the tumour was still growing, so they had to remove it. (The surgeon told Colin he would probably have only had a year to live before it killed him). After surgery Colin’s scar became infected, resulting in sepsis; it was one of the scariest times of his life. Because Colin developed sepsis, they don't want to re-operate on his head to replace the missing plate with a new one. This is why he has a dip in the back of his head, which makes him feel slightly vulnerable.
Kayla, 2017 by Stuart Miller. Kayla Doyle is a Murrawarri/Gomeroi woman and one of a growing number of Aboriginal Australians who identify as Muslim. Kayla met her Lebanese-Australian husband Khaled El-Hassan when they were teenagers. Despite being high school sweethearts, Kayla came to Islam independently of her partner, exploring faith, identity and Aboriginality. Kayla stands outside her home in Sydney's west with her husband, five daughters – Surayah, Selina, Amirah, Ameena and Tasneem – and her father, Aboriginal elder and traditional performer, Uncle Glen Doyle.
Roo shooter's offsider, 2017 by Adam Ferguson. Dwayne John, aged 30 from Broken Hill, works as a kangaroo shooter’s offsider. 70 times a night, after a roo jolts and falls in the spotlight, Dwayne hauls the carcass onto the back of a truck. I made this picture of Dwayne in the early hours of a hot morning on Plumbago Station in South Australia. To me, Dwayne holding this kangaroo symbolises the human attempt to tame the land.
Breakfast with bats, 2017 by Douglas Philip Gimesy. Julie, a wildlife carer in Melbourne, has spent the last four years fostering orphaned grey-headed flying foxes (also known as fruit bats). She bottle-feeds them six times a day, moisturises their wings with baby lotion and keeps them stimulated with kids’ toys. In the wild, mother bats would lick them clean, but Julie draws the line at that! All going well, at about two months of age they will go to a larger crèche before being released into the flying fox colony at Melbourne’s Yarra Bend Park. The species, a vitally important pollinator for our native forests, has suffered significant population decline and is now listed as vulnerable. Julie’s work is more important than ever.
Amanda, 2017 by Bill Gekas. Amanda is a friend of the family and single mother of two young children. She had broken up with her partner just hours before this photo was taken. Her gaze into the lens portrays a sense of uncertainty about the future, yet a willingness and strength to persevere, to get through whatever may lie ahead.
Stella #1, 2017 by Michele Aboud. Stella has the presence of a bygone era. Her naturally enigmatic expression entices the viewer to remain a second longer – we feel that she is very comfortable in front of the lens. The setting is formal, not by design, but simply by working with what the environment provided. The muted colour palette enhances this formality.
John Patten (Johnny Jarrett), 1958 Australian bantamweight boxing champion, 2017 by Tiffany Jane Garvie. John Patten is a Yorta and Bundjalung man. He is an Aboriginal elder and community leader. In 1958 John was the Australian bantamweight boxing champion and fought under the name of Johnny Jarrett. He was also a champion rugby player. Even as an elder today, he still shows the strength that he carried in the sporting arena.
43 finalists have recently been announced in one of the country’s pre-eminent portrait photography competitions, the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2018. The finalists were announced by the National Portrait Gallery from a total of 3,224 entries.
The Winner will receive a $30,000 cash prize courtesy of the Portrait Gallery, $15,000 of lighting equipment and accessories from Profoto, and $5,000 of paper and film supplies from Ilford. The Highly Commended will receive an Eizo ColourEdge Editing Monitor valued up to $4,000, courtesy of Eizo. The Art Handlers’ Award recipient will receive $2,000 cash plus return shipping of their artwork after the regional tour courtesy of International Art Services (IAS).
The judging panel for this year included the Portrait Gallery’s Senior Curator, Christopher Chapman, contemporary artist and photographer, Petrina Hicks, and curator of Contemporary Design and International Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Robert Cooke. "Huddled together in the viewing room, we quickly realised that each of us valued different elements in photographic portraiture very strongly," Chapman said. "It’s always the case that different judges will bring different points of view to the selection process, and it is fascinating to reflect on how particular photographs continue to remain at the forefront as the selection becomes increasingly focused."
National Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 finalists
Michele Aboud, Scott Anthony Andrews, Lara Del Arte, Zia Atahi, Julia Ann Cameron, Brett Canet-Gibson, Timothy James Coad, Eva Collins, Harold David Combs, Adrian Cook, Tamara Dean, Alex Ellinghausen, Adam Ferguson, Tiffany Jane Garvie, Bill Gekas, Saleheh Gholami, Douglas Philip Gimesy, Lee Grant, Holly Granville-Edge, Gary Grealy, Rhett Hammerton, James Horan, Lyndal Irons, Dianne Jones, Kristyn Jones, Dave Laslett, Stuart Miller, Emma Phillips, Joel Brian Pratley, David Prichard, Filomena Rizzo, David Rosetzky, Laura Sikes, Stephanie Simcox, Anna Sinclair, Hugh Snelgrove, Renée Stamatova, Jacqui Stockdale, George Voulgaropoulos, Marzena Wasikowska, Nicole Katherine Wells
The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2018 exhibition will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from 24 March 2018 until 17 June 2018, before touring the country.