Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers 2023: Winners and runners-up announced
Queensland photographer Cat Leedon has been named Overall Winner, Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers 2023. Leedon's highly personal and powerful self-portrait series, "Breast Cancer, Age 36," also won first place in the Portrait category.
Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers, presented by Fujifilm, recognises, encourages, and promotes talented photographers in the early stages of their careers. Now in its 15th year the competition is judged by a panel of 45 leading professional photographers and industry experts from around the world.
Winners and runners-up share in a prize pool of $24,000 including $9,000 cash and $15,000 worth of prizes from major sponsor Fujifilm and category sponsors Camera House, The Brownbill Effect, WD, SanDisk, BenQ and MSI.
Leedon's love of documenting family life began after the birth of her first child and she says her photography is informed by her background in design, sociology, travel and her recently identified neurodivergence. The winning series documents her experiences following a breast cancer diagnosis in 2021.
"As I searched to understand my diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options, I was bombarded with endless photos of mostly older women, smiling in pink," says Leedon.
"The brave warriors who had survived – thriving and happy. But as a young single mum of two, contemplating my life being cut short – I wasn’t smiling, I was in pain.
"The toxic positivity of being shown only happy survivors simply added to my anguish. I’m not brave, thriving, happy. I’m scared, scarred, and numb.
"As a photographer who embraces capturing the realities of life and questioning the status quo, I embarked on a self-portrait series. Combining conceptual and documentary approaches, the resulting series covers three surgeries, chemotherapy, and the eventual loss of both breasts."
Leedon has won a Fujifilm X-H2S and 16-80mm f/4 lens valued at $5,998, $1,000 in cash and a $1,000 gift card from Camera House.
Yu Pang George Chan, winner of the Documentary category, was also named Overall Runner-up in the competition with his series 'Starring as Elvis' which focused on Elvis impersonators and their fans at Parkes Elvis Festival in regional NSW and Big Al’s Elvis World in Sydney.
“In this series I wanted to explore the influence of American pop culture prior to the internet, the Elvis impersonator industry, and most importantly, fans’ fascination with Elvis and how they project their love onto the impersonators,” said Chan.
Chan wins $1,000 cash, a Fujifilm X-S10 and XC15-45mm lens valued at $1,899 and a WD Prize Pack.
Andrew Hutchings won the Animal category with his series 'The Welkin Eye' which included images of a carpet python, green tree frog and huntsman spider, all photographed in situ.
“These animals were docile enough and positioned in a way that allowed me to get my wide angle lens up close and low,” says Hutchings.
“Multiple shots were taken to capture the animal’s surrounds. I like to consider available ambient light that can be captured and incorporated in a composition.”
Hutchings wins $1,000 and a BenQ photography monitor.
Steve Day's winning Architecture portfolio 'Looking Up in London' was conceived during a holiday to the UK.
"I wanted to present a cohesive series of images with similar editing, composition, and theme so they belong together,” says Day.
“I also wanted to show what can be seen if we just look up. People are often busy looking down at their phones or focusing on getting somewhere, if they took the time to look up at their surroundings, they may appreciate these modern marvels that surround us.”
Day wins $1,000.
Winner of the Landscape category, Gergo Rugli, captured slow-shutter-speed images of breaking waves for his series 'Tales of the Wind'. Two of the three photos were captured in the ocean using an underwater housing, while the third was taken from the shore with a telephoto lens.
“I love watching the rolling waves,” says Rugli who moved to Australia eight years ago and immediately fell in love with the ocean.
“They captivate me with their ever-changing shapes and power. By watching and capturing them I enter into a different, magical world that is far away from everyday reality. To express this world, I like shooting in low-light environments, using a slow shutter speed which creates a blurry, moody look. Generally, I vary my shutter speed between 1/8 and 1/25s.”
Rugli wins $1,000 and a Fujifilm X-E4 with XF 27mm f/2.8 WR lens valued at $1,799.
BLACK & WHITE WINNER
Winner of the Black & White category Aaron Lee Noyes first picked up a camera when he was 12 years old. He fondly recalls being driven to the local pharmacy to pick up freshly developed rolls of film. He is self-taught and counts among his influences Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Claude Gassian, Basstian Woudt, Phil Sharp and Dina Broadhurst.
“‘Contemplative Stillness’ is about being truly and deeply unapologetic about who we are and how we are viewed,” says Noyes. “The images are simple in their composition, though heavily layered. Their texture and complexities help emphasise the message: not to be bothered by judgement of choices, or one’s vanity, and proudly turn your back, or stare at your criticism unmoved.”
Noyes wins $1,000 and a SanDisk prize pack.
Melbourne-based photographer Dani Watson won the Art category with a series of aerial images of strikingly colourful basketball courts.
"By examining these sites from a unique vantage point it has become apparent that our courts and fields are more than mere functional objects," says Watson. They are interesting colour blocks with complex lines and symmetrical shapes. Through this project I aim to show how ordinary everyday spaces can possess artistic beauty and evoke emotion when viewed in the right light.”
Watson wins $1,000 and a MSI prize pack
Following his success in the Documentary category Sydney-based Yu Pang George Chan also won the Travel category. His series 'The Last Fishermen in Hong Kong' laments the decline of traditional fishing practices in his home town.
"Due to overfishing, government policies, COVID-19 and other challenges, the local fishing industry is now in danger: young people are not entering the industry, industrial-level, large-scale fishing operations are endangering traditional fishing practises and most of the remaining fishermen are reaching retirement age,” he says.
“I was born and lived my childhood in Aberdeen, Hong Kong, and this project serves the purpose to record the life and practice of probably the last generation of Hong Kong fishermen.”
Chan wins $1,000.
SINGLE SHOT WINNER
The Single Shot category went to Natalie Meredith, with her spontaneous image 'Premiership Jubilation' which captures the post-match delight of a victorious rugby team.
“The moment I entered the change room, I positioned myself to take advantage of the late afternoon light, filling the frame as the light streamed through the side window,” says Meredith. “As the jubilant winning team began to belt out the club song, bottles of champagne were sprayed from all angles, producing an amazing golden glow in the photograph.”
Meredith has won $1,000 plus a professional photo consultation with Sally Brownbill.
The latest issue of Capture magazine includes extended stories on each of the category winners and runners-up, plus you can see the work of the Top 20 place getters in the Animal, Art, Black & White, Landscape and Portrait categories and the Top 10 place getters in the Documentary, Architecture and Travel categories.
This issue also features tips from the judges and a look back at some of the past winners of Australasia's Top Emerging Photographers. Capture will be available in newsstands and digitally on Zinio in the coming days.
You can see the work of the runners-up in each of the nine categories as well as the Top 10 and 20 lists below. Each of the runners up wins a Camera House voucher valued at $200.
ANIMAL TOP 20
1. Andrew Hutchings – The Welkin Eye
2. Isabella Irsigler – One of a Kind
3. Matt Bagley – Ocean Chameleons
4. Stephane Thomas – Stripes
5. Jessica Fynmore – In the Best Light
6. Gergo Rugli – Dusky Rays
7. Rowan Dear – Cuttlefish Of Cabbage Tree Bay
8. Mike George – Pelicans
9. Allen Koppe – In Time
10. Gergo Rugli – Water Puppies
11. Simone Osborne – At the Waterhole
12. Josh Blank – The Savage Side of Nature
13. Heather Mcneice – Antics of a Red-Eyed Tree Frog
14. Rowan Dear – The Mating Game
15. Paul Kerr – Brown Vultures: Costa Rica
16. Ketut Suwitra – Mosquitoes
17. Mitchell Lewis – Green Room
18. Kathleen Stock – Spiders
19. Kristyn Taylor – Home of the Gentoo
20. Brody Gamble – Marsupial Mountain
ARCHITECTURE TOP 10
1. Steve Day – Looking Up in London
2. Dani Watson – Circulus
3. Anne Bonser – Primary Impact
4. Federico Rekowski – Architectural Art
5. Stephane Thomas – Sharp Lines
6. Kathy Wallace – Windows
7. Theresia Hall – The Stairs in University of Sydney
8. Federico Rekowski – Anatomy of a Building
9. Troy Williams – Architecture of Canberra
10. Kathy Wallace – Spirals
ART TOP 20
1. Dani Watson – All Court Up II
2. Luke David – Presence
3. Allen Koppe – Dancing Ghosts
4. Oliver Crawford – Blood Moon
5. Christine Houston – My New Friend Grief
6. Ruth Woodrow – Doors of Melbourne
7. Sarah Maslankiewicz – Head in the Clouds
8. Jonathan Gu – Twilight Blaze
9. Todd Cleave – Owls and Dogs
10. Graeme Gordon – Monochrome
11. Theresa Lee – Ever Present
12. Andrew Atkinson – Above the Tide
13. Ray Fritz – Personae
14. Adrian Donoghue – The Adventures of Young Matilda 2
15. Mary Jo Gomez-Jackson – Fluidum
16. Lesley Bretherton – Still Life with Iris, Fuschia and Honeysuckle
17. Cushla Monk – The Flannel Flowers
18. Renee Doyle – Beauty of Refractions
19. John Peters – Growing Up
20. Dani Watson – Internal
BLACK & WHITE RUNNER-UP
BLACK & WHITE TOP 20
1. Aaron Lee Noyes – Contemplative Stillness
2. Gavin Libotte – Ascension
3. Alan Coligado – Step into Squares
4. Cat Leedon – Post-op
5. Isobel Meyer – Kangaroo Water Hole
6. Graeme Gordon – In the Zone
7. Merinda Boekhoudt – The Wild Ones
8. Federico Rekowski – Solo Journeys
9. Edi Ivancic – The Infinity
10. Steve Day – Looking Up In London 2
11. David Niu – Observer
12. Edi Ivancic – Quay Quarter Tower
13. Jack Gargasz – Bodyscapes
14. Marc Alexander – Shoot for the Stars
15. Michael Rayment – Home, Dear Home
16. Theresia Hall – Queen Victoria Building Stairs
17. Theresia Hall – Rocks and Texture
18. Dennis Rickard – Seats and Shadows
19. Tarnya Hook – Head in the Clouds
20. Joel Leske – Swirling sands
DOCUMENTARY TOP 10
1. Yu Pang George Chan – Starring As Elvis
2. Melissa Crisa – The Last Summer Before High School
3. Nikola Blagojevic – Cabramatta
4. David Niu – Sunday in Madrid
5. Yu Pang George Chan – The Last Fishermen in Hong Kong
6. Nikola Blagojevic – Lost and Found
7. Anita Davidson – Kus Pazari
8. Jay Kogler – September 18th, 2021 - Anti-Lockdown Protest has Photojournalists Targeted by Police
9. Imogen Caruso – Women's Right to Healthcare
10. Nadja Arold – Growing Up
LANDSCAPE TOP 20
1. Gergo Rugli – Tales of the Wind
2. Russell Turner – Shark Bay Dunes
3. Dani Watson – Terra Artem
4. Niall Chang – Harmony in Chaos
5. Gergo Rugli – Whispering Pools
6. Christine Goerner – Mountain Ash
7. Peter Ogden – Too Much Lake
8. Dean Maguire – Resurgence
9. Dani Watson – The Land Of Elemental Beauty II
10. Dani Watson – Tyrrell
11. Jackie Wilson – Petrified Trees
12. Christine Goerner – Otherworldly Land
13. Seongjoo Han – Three Sisters Peaks
14. Benjamin Maze – Nevergreen
15. Lynne Broughton – Cracked Prints
16. David Dahlenburg – Outback Pink Lake
17. David Sov – Being on Mars
18. Graeme Gordon – Variance
19. Zofia Seymour – Solid space
20. Stephane Thomas – Serene Sunset at Merewether
PORTRAIT TOP 20
1. Cat Leedon – Breast Cancer, age 36
2. Tracy Botica – Lake Days
3. David Bignell – Self Expression
4. Natalie Arber – The Light Sleeper
5. Matt Bagley – A Place Called Home
6. Aaron Lee Noyes – Portrait of Waddle
7. Jayden ONeill – Return to the Homeland
8. Sherryn Lowndes – Farm Life
9. David Chesterfield – Veritee
10. Mick Jones – Different Strokes'
11. Kathleen Stock – Milk
12. Dannii Phelps – Between Two Worlds
13. Minami Ivory – How Do I Bury You If I Don't Have Your Body: Counted, Graded, Numbered
14. Natalie Arber – Mission to Planet Vertigo
15. Mariana Zilbershteyn – 1939-2010
16. Guy Sadler – Former, Current and Future
17. Patrick Halloran – Amina
18. Kate Stock – Shadow Play
19. Renee Hibbert – The Garden
20. Wendy Wiseman – Last Light
SINGLE SHOT RUNNER-UP
SINGLE SHOT TOP 20
1. Natalie Meredith – Premiership Jubilation
2. Nadja Arold – The Girl and the Kite
3. Kay Cypher – The Wind
4. Katherine Jenkins – Over Exposed
5. Ebony Allen-Ankins – The First Look
6. Melissa Crisa – Boys of Summer
7. Melissa Crisa – Summertime Antics and Airplanes
8. Brett Watson – Punched Out
9. Julie Kenny – Crossing Paths
10. Jo Ward – Onlookers on a Foggy Morning Landing
11. Luke David – Old Hill St Police Station
12. Valentin Zhmodikov – I Am
13. Louise Hollands – Beach Retro
14. David Dahlenburg – Modern Legacy
15. Irma Ferreira – The Salt Lakes of Shark Bay
16. Natalie Arber – Miss Apprehended
17. Stephane Thomas – Free Fall
18. Brett Ferguson – Big Country
19. Ruth Woodrow – Driving Through the Canola
20. Jack Gargasz – Half Past Midnight
TRAVEL TOP 10
1. Yu Pang George Chan – The Last Fishermen in Hong Kong
2. David Niu – Italy Without Face Masks
3. Max Maujean – Amsterdam
4. Jim Barker – The Colour of Morocco
5. Paul Bartlett – Bali: From The Inside Out
6. Jamie van Leeuwen – Qatar: The Heart of a country
7. Polly Fenton – Laura Quinkan Dance Festival
8. Simone Osborne – Namibia's Dunes
9. Gail Mitchell – The Colours of Tasmania
10. Nathan Stewart – Road to Khumjung Village
A massive thank you to all our wonderful judges for sharing their invaluable time and expertise. We recommend you look at their websites and be inspired by their captivating images.
Adrian Cook adriancookphotography.com
Aletheia Casey aletheiacasey.com
Alex Cearns houndstoothstudio.com.au
Amy Toensing amytoensing.com
Andrea Bruce andreabruce.com
Anthony McKee anthonymckee.com.au
Brooke Shaden brookeshaden.com
Cameron Spencer cameronjspencer.com
Cassie Trotter instagram.com/casilda_eh
Chloe Bartram chloebartram.com
Chris Budgeon chrisbudgeon.com
Christian Vieler vieler-photography.com
Dianna Snape diannasnape.com.au
Erik Johansson erikjohanssonphoto.com
Fiona Wolf wolfwerk.net
George Apostolidis georgeapostolidis.com.au
Isamu Sawa isamusawa.com.au
Jessica Hromas jessicahromas.com
Judith Crispin judithcrispin.com
Karen Alsop storyart.com.au
Karen Waller karenwaller.com.au
Krystle Wright krystlewright.com
Leila Jeffreys leilajeffreys.com
Lisa Maree Williams lisamareewilliams.com
Liz Ham lizham.com
Lynton Crabb crabb.com.au
Maggie Steber maggiesteber.com
Megan Lewis meganlewis.com.au
Natalie Grono nataliegrono.com
Patrick Brown patrickbrownphoto.com
Paul Hoelen paulhoelen.com
Peter Brew-Bevan peterbrew-bevan.com
Pippa Milne instagram.com/pippimilne
Ricardo Da Cunha ricardodacunha.com.au
Richard I’Anson richardianson.com
Ron Haviv ronhaviv.com
Sally Brownbill thebrownbilleffect.com
Samantha Everton samanthaeverton.com
Simon Harsent simonharsent.com
Simon Lister simonlisterphotography.com
Tim Booth timbooth.com
Tim Griffith timgriffith.com
Tim Tadder timtadder.com
Tony Hewitt tonyhewitt.com
William Long longshots.com.au