• © Carole Mills Noronha. Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, and Portrait category winner.
    © Carole Mills Noronha. Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, and Portrait category winner.

Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021 revealed!

While the wait must have felt like an eternity, we can now finally reveal the overall winner of the region’s biggest search for the next generation of the best emerging talent. Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers presented by Fujifilm is now in its 13th year, and like last year boasts double-digit growth, and almost 60% over the last two years.

For the 2021 competition, we relied on a judging panel comprising 37 leading professionals and industry experts from Australia and around the globe. The impressive and inspiring list appears at the bottom of this article.

Massive congratulations must go to this year, the overall winner, Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, Carole Mills Noronha. Besides taking out the Portrait category, she also won the Documentary category, with both of her winning portfolios receiving the greatest number of votes in the final stage of judging. The result means that not only is she the overall winner, but the overall runner-up as well – something that's never before happened in the history of the competition! 

© Carole Mills Noronha. Overall runner-up – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, and Documentary category winner.
© Carole Mills Noronha. Overall runner-up – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021,
and Documentary category winner.

Along with the highly coveted title of Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, she also takes home the grand prize, a Fujifilm X-T4 and XF18-135mm lens valued at $4,578, as well as a Fujifilm X100V valued at $2,349 for being named overall runner-up, courtesy of our major sponsor, Fujifilm. View her winning portfolio here.

Recognition and huge congratulations must go to Graeme Gordon as well, overall third place and winner of the newly introduced Open Category. He also wowed the judges taking out the Architecture category as well.

So, how are the result for the competition determined? To arrive at our category winners, runners-up, and top place-getters, a total of 535 votes were tallied. Across the nine categories, we relied on anywhere from six to eighteen judges to rate their top five portfolios. To determine the overall winner, Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, along with the overall runner-up, a further 102 votes were tallied and weighted, with judges rating their top three portfolios from a pool consisting of only the category winners.

© Graeme Gordon. Overall 3rd place – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, and Open category winner.
© Graeme Gordon. Overall 3rd place – Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer 2021, and Open category winner.

Category winners and runners-up will be revealed on the Capture website later, so please keep an eye out. Alternatively, to learn all the results including the winners, runners-up, and top place-getters across the nine categories, and see their breathtaking work, check out the May/June/July edition online very soon, or track down the paper edition from your favourite newsagent in the next week or so. Entrants whose portfolio submissions were Highly Commended and Commended will be notified via e-mail later this month, along with those in the Top 10, 20, etc.

Overall winner – what the judges thought

What impressed me about this set of images was the creative approach that plays with time, memory, and the importance of family pictures. The aesthetic quality is beautiful and conjures up feelings of warmth and the nostalgia for a past that the photographer also has effectively meshed with the present. This is a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of photography and our personal memories, executed with a warm and beautiful visual statement. – Ed Kashi

This series of photos work well together to evoke memories and raise questions. While the ‘then and now’ approach is not unique, I have never seen it done before in a domestic situation. Then and now in a family home is powerful, raising questions about how lives are lived across generations. The use of colour balances nostalgia with contemporary life well. This simple approach is both intriguing and heart-warming. Well done! – Sarah Rhodes

Overall runner-up – what the judges thought

A successful documentary essay needs to be cohesive in style, light, composition, mood, and storytelling. This winning portfolio translates all that beautifully through detail and the subject’s personality and the juxtaposition of old photographs. There are unexpected moments and quiet moments and a sense of place. The photographer has gained the trust in the subject and goes beyond the unexpected to an intimacy that translates his unvarnished reality of life. – Renée C. Byer

What I love about photography that tells a story is when it allows the viewer to fill in the gaps and create his or her own interpretation. This work is no exception; embellished with detail, without being literal, painting a picture throughout that is both evocative and beautiful. – Sean Izzard

To our supporters and sponsors

Massive thanks to our major sponsor Fujifilm, along with all our category sponsors: BenQ, Cyclorama Projects, Nisi Filters, SanDisk, Spicers, The Brownbill Effect, and WD. Competitions like this simply aren’t possible without their incredible generosity and commitment to supporting emerging photographic talent. Thank you!


We’re thrilled to boast the rather impressive group of top professionals and industry leaders who helped determine the winners of Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers 2021.

2021 judging panel

Abigail Varney – abigailvarney.com
Adam Ferguson –adamfergusonstudio.com
Adrian Cook – www.adriancookphotography.com
Alex Cearns – www.houndstoothstudio.com.au
Anthony KcKee – www.anthonymckee.com.au
Art Streiber – www.artstreiber.com
Ashley Gilbertson – www.ashleygilbertson.com
Belinda Richards – www.frogdogstudios.com.au
Cade Martin – www.cademartin.com
Daniel Berehulak – www.danielberehulak.com
Ed Kashi – www.edkashi.com
Gary Knight – www.garyknight.org
Greg Gorman – www.gormanphotography.com
Ignacio Palacios – www.iptravelphotography.com.au
Jason Ierace – www.jasonierace.com
John Gollings – www.gollings.com.au
John Stanmeyer – www.stanmeyer.com
Leah King-Smith – staff.qut.edu.au/staff/l.king-smith
Michael Cook – www.michaelcook.net.au
Michael Grecco – www.michaelgrecco.com
Mridula Amin – www.mridulaamin.com
Paul Hoelen – www.paulhoelen.com
Paula Bronstein – paulaphoto.com
Ponch Hawkes – www.ponchhawkes.com
Rachel Mounsey – rachelmounsey.com.au
Randal Ford – www.randalford.com
Renée C. Byer – www.reneecbyer.com
Richard Wood – www.richardwood.co.nz
Robert Coppa – www.robertcoppa.com
Sally Brownbill – www.thebrownbilleffect.com
Sarah Rhodes – www.sarahrhodes.com
Sean Izzard – www.seanizzard.com
Steve Wise – www.27creative.com.au
Tajette O’Halloran – www.tajetteohalloran.com
Tim Griffith – www.timgriffith.com
Tony Hewitt – www.tonyhewitt.com
William Long – www.longshots.com.au



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