Photographic Portrait Prize

The Citigroup Private Bank Australian Photographic Portraiture Prize, now discontinued was first held in 2003, and was hosted by the Art Gallery of NSW.

While a short lived award its aim was to promote outstanding works by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers. The winning entry in each year was acquired for the gallery photographic collection.

The prize was discontinued in 2007, although photography continues to feature prominently at the Gallery, both as part of the collection and in photographic exhibitions.

The inaugural winner in 2003 was Australian fine art, portrait and landscape photographer and sculptor with ‘Railway Blues Jim Conroy’. greg weight Raileay Blues Jim Conway 2003.jpgHe also won the Head On Alternative Photographic Portrait Prize in 2006. His book titled Australian Artist Portraits contains 100 duotone images of some of Australia’s most well known artists. Weight was in the process of photographing Margaret Olly’s paintings in preparation for her exhibition at the time of her death. They day prior to Olly’s death, while putting the final touches to a piece of art, she had said to Weight ” I want to do a bit more on it. Come back tomorrow. See you tomorrow at two”. Overnight Olly passed away. After her death, Weight was compelled to go back to her house and record that intimate space before anything was moved. “Photographic Studies from the Studio of Margaret Olley“, was exhibited at Australian Galleries, Sydney in 2012.

The 2004 winner was Rod McNicol with his time comparison image titled ‘Robert Hunter 1984 – Robert Hunter 2004’. rod mcnicol Robert Hunter 1984 - 2004.jpgMcNicols artist statement at the National Portrait Gallery in preparation for his 2012 exhibition ‘Life and Time: Portraits by Rod McNicol describes him as having consistently analysed the passing of time through the evidence of the photographic portrait. At once confronting and tender, McNicol’s portrait photographs are bold and intimate. McNicol was a finalist in the 2007 and 2010 National Photographic Portrait Prize and the winner of the same award in 2012.

In 2005 the winner was Cassandra Mathie with her digital print ‘Ali and Rahma’. cassandra mathie Ali and Rahma 2005The image showed Ali and Rahma  in their first Australian home, a small suburban flat in Brisbane afterthey arrived in Australia from Dafut, Sudan in June 2004 having escaped persecution in order to start a new, safer life. Mathie is a Brisbane-based documentary photographer and a graduate of Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Photography course. Her work documents and explores the universal issues of identity, culture and migration within different cultural contexts.

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