Barcelona & the Pollux Awards …

… very welcome news from Barcelona this morning regarding the 21st Pollux Awards … the prestigious International photography prize hosted by famed Spanish based FotoNostrum Magazine. Even better is that the news involves three of my (at the moment) lesser known works.

“The Last Image of Alf … Alf Neal OAM” has, up to now, been somewhat overshadowed by another earlier image I made of Alf on his hundredth birthday with his great great grandson Kailan … “100 Years & 3 Weeks … Alf Neal OAM” … which has been recognised numerous times around the planet and in Australia.

So it was a gratifying experience to see the portrait of my old mate Alf … made on the verandah of his Yarrabah home in the last days of his one hundred and first and final year … selected as the ‘Winner’ of Pollux ‘People’ category. I know that Alf, if he was still around, would be immensely proud … and I’m sure that his Yarrabah family will be too.

The ‘icing on the cake’ is that two of my so far ‘unsung’ images … “Voices & Bubblegum … Aurukun” & “Surviving Cyclone Jasper … Bill & Michelle” … were both awarded ‘Honorable Mentions’ in the same ‘People’ category … a nice ‘triple’ 🙂 . The ‘Bubblegum’ pic was made at ‘Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ referendum pre-polling in Aurukun, when young Kythie Yunkaporta was more enthralled with the bubblegum skills of Shuntay Marpoodin. The image of Bill and Michelle Dunn was made as they told their harrowing story of survival at their Degarra (Bloomfield) home destroyed in the massive flooding that followed Cyclone Jasper.

The Pollux Awards have been good to me over the years … and this is the fourth year in a row that I’ve been fortunate to be selected as ‘Winner’ of the ‘People’ category (earlier ‘wins’ … 20th Edition here 19th Edition here, 18th Edition here ).

One of the nicest things about the Pollux Awards is that the winners works do end up as physical framed photographs on a wall … the very prestigious walls of the FotoNostrum Gallery, Mediterranean House of Photography, in Barcelona, Spain. That will happen from July 2025 … (a nice time to be in Barcelona and Spain 😉 ? ).

Very nice also to be in the good company of my US photojournalist mate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Robinson Chavez, whose work was selected in the Pollux ‘Documentary & Reportage’ category.

You may find all of this years Pollux Awards winners in a special edition FotoNostrum Magazine here … https://www.fotonostrummag.com/21-pollux … my work is on pages 64 & 65, whilst Michael Robinson Chavez’s works are on page 116.

Images © Brian Cassey

International Color Awards … Two Thirds and More …

… great news on Sunday that TWO of my images have each been awarded “3rd Place Honor of Distinction” in the 17th edition of the “International Color Awards” … “Drying Saris on the Banks of the Ganges” in ‘Photojournalism’ … and … “George at the Bus Stop” in ‘Portrait’

Really, REALLY pleased about the ‘Saris’ image which I made in Varanasi on a totally memorable road trip journey through India with a couple of great photographer colleagues far too many years ago. It’s always been one of my personal favourite photographs, but this is the first time it has been recognised as something a little ‘special’. Thanks ICA !

Of course … it’s also very nice to see an image grabbed in just a minute or two whilst passing a Cairns bus stop one lunch time can mix it at the top end and also gain a 3rd Place Honor of Distinction. Thanks Dr George Skeene OAM !

Not to be forgotten, two more of my works also resonated … with “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” handed an Honorable Mention … and “Crocodile Hunter George Craig” a Finalist Nomination … both in the ‘Portrait’ category.

You may find the first, second and third placed winners (and Honorable Mentions) in ‘Photojournalism’ … here … https://photoshow.colorawards.com/winners.php?x=p&cid=590 … and ‘Portrait’ here … https://photoshow.colorawards.com/winners.php?x=p&cid=591 … and also nice to see young photojournalist and my 2023 Head On Photo Festival photojournalism talk co-presenter Mouneb Taim get one too !

Gotta be happy with that …  

Images © Brian Cassey

Triple in Percival Portrait Prize …

… in news this month … so pleased that all three of my entries in the Percival Portrait Prize were selected as ‘Finalists’.

The three works … “Last of the Trochus Divers – Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware” , “George at the Bus Stop – Dr George Skeene OAM” and “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” … all made the cut and will be exhibited on the beautiful walls of the historic Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville.

Overall winners of the fiscal prizes (in painting, photographic and student) will be announced at the exhibition opening eve event on the Saturday 22nd June . Sounds pretty good to me … the last one two years ago (with subject Aurora in tow as mentioned in a recent post) was highly enjoyable. 

It’s also the third time in a row that I have had all three entries selected as finalists in the prestigipus biennial awards. You may find the works here … 2024, 2022, 2020. In the 2018 edition … my first attempt … I made two entries and both were selected.

Townsville council really turns it on for the Percival opening eve at Perc Tucker on their mall … and I’ll definitely be making the trek to our southern neighbour for the night.

The exhibition will run until the 1st of September at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Corner of Flinders and Denham Streets, Townsville.

Thanks, of course, to my subjects … Albert, George and the sadly late Alf (Thanks Neal family !) Exceptional gentlemen All … 

Images © Brian Cassey

Dodho Photo Books … & Bonn …

… always a pleasure when a Dodho Magazine photo book drops into the old post office box (not literally … they are too big !)

Recently Dodho’s latest volume “Fine Art – Best Photographers of 2023” arrived … and therein gracing a prominent whole page was arguably one of my favourite images … “Bonn Marie – Asking the Question”. The portrait of Cairns girl Bonn Marie has been selected in the ‘Top 25’ of images in the latest Dodho Fine Art Awards … very pleased with that …

The large (12″ X 12″ – 30cm X 30cm) hardcover books are beautifully designed and produced and each contains wonderful work from photographers from around the planet. ‘Fine Art’ is now sitting on my bookshelves next to my other Dodho books ‘Portrait’ (with my image “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” inside … also selected in Best 25) … and ‘Colors’ (with my portrait “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” therein).

Bonn has been an absolute pleasure the other side of the camera. ‘Asking the Question’ has been recognised now in several awards … likely the most prestigious being the winner of 3rd Place in the “International Portrait Photographer of the Year” awards. 

Back in December another of my Bonn portraits … “Marilyn Monroe – 60 Years On – by Bonn” … received attention with an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the Fine Art category of the “Budapest International Foto Awards” (BIFA). You can see this work and find more details of how and why that image came about here

BIG Thanks Bonn, for your patience and professionalism !

If you are inclined … you can grab Dodho’s ‘Fine Art’ book here , ‘Colors’ here … and the ‘Portrait’ book here

Image of Bonn © Brian Cassey

Another Nine for ‘Collectors Print’ Shop …

… new month … more pics … have added NINE new images to the “Signed Collector Prints” collection on my new ‘Shop’ page.  They join eight other works available to buy as 18” X 12” signed prints … all made on archival matt photographic paper 18” on longest side, 12” on shortest side (457mm X 305mm) … and I whack my signature thingy on the front bottom right corner 🙂 .

The latest nine … (below, left to right, top to bottom) … ‘Train Journey – Sri Lanka – 2018’, ‘Singing in the Rain – Dire Straits – 1986’, ‘Palm Island – 2007’, ‘Huli Maiden – Tari PNG – 1987’, ‘Manus – Bismarck Sea – 2016’, ‘Number 55 – 2015’, ‘Jodhpur Wedding Party – 2011’, ‘Two Up – 1987’ and ‘Beef Barons – 2015’ … bring the number of “Signed Collector Prints” currently on offer to 17 … and more will be added periodically.

To take a look and place an order just go to … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/shop/category/prints/

Images © Brian Cassey

On the Stage … with ‘Grit’ …

… a really different place and opportunity to share the story of my several decades hefting cameras around various parts of the planet to tell the odd story or two.

My first … (and likely my last 🙂 ) … appearance on a theatre stage, was yesterday when I had the privilege of taking a small part in the Perseverance Street Theatre Company production of the play “Grit” at the JUTE theatre in Cairns.

The premise of the theatrical and musical production is to highlight and tell stories of resilience, determination, regret, positivity … and ‘grit’. It is performed by four talented members … storyteller Fletcher Colfs accompanied by cast members Abby Bowyer, Ben Adams and Sarah Harvey.

My part was to relate the story (with the pre show input of JUTE creative producer Kathryn Ash) of basically my entire life … both pre and post my first ever two shillings and sixpence camera … to tell the stories of the amazing people I have met and photographed over the decades, many in the midst of unfathomable hardship and suffering . Some had triumphed over adversity … others didn’t …

One who did ‘triumph’ was burns survivor and my pictorial subject Carol Mayer (inset in promotional poster below) … whose bravery and fortitude taught me much in the time I knew her before her untimely so so sad death.

All this was voiced with lead actor Fletcher as a prelude to the rest of the show.

The six scenarios during the play were a beautiful mixture of humour and pathos … poignant, uplifting, thought provoking, enlightening, moving and more. A great way to spend an hour and a half …

The show continues it’s travels around Queensland (without my input) next week to Rockhampton and Bundaberg.

‘Carol Mayer’ image © Brian Cassey

"Grit" a play at the JUTE Theatre in Cairns ... part played by Brian Cassey photographer.

Shannon is Dying … Good Weekend …

Very pleased to see my image grace the cover of ‘Good Weekend’ magazine today … would be nicer if my portrait of terminal cancer patient Shannon Turner led to a story with, perhaps, a better ending.

Shannon Turner is dying … but is also part of something remarkable and ground breaking.
She is one of 35 patients to take part in Australia’s first approved clinical trial of potent
psychedelic drug therapy. 

Inside the magazine journalist Kate Cole-Adams tells at length a wonderful fascinating story about the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic drugs by Shannon and 34 terminally ill others involved in a pioneering treatment.

Kate’s story is a ‘must read’ …

In 2018 Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020 she was told that the cancer had metastasised into her left lung and she was given just a year to live.

At this point I’ll let ‘Good Weekend’ tell more in this ‘preview’ by editor Katrina Strickland on Instagram this morning …

“I’ve never much liked the idea of getting high. Call me a wowser – perhaps control freak is more accurate! – but the notion of losing control of my mind and actions has never held much appeal. Each to their own, I guess.⁠

That said, if I were facing imminent death due to terminal illness, I could see the appeal of getting high, in a safe setting, in a bid to unlock deeper levels of understanding and acceptance. This is what 35 patients signed up to do in a trailblazing clinical trial at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne that tested the use of psilocybin in terminally ill patients.⁠

⁠Their insights into the process are fascinating; so, too, the observation that Australia was lagging behind other major research nations in investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics before this. Now it’s leapfrogged to the front of the pack, with hospitals and clinicians around the globe eagerly awaiting the results. ⁠

⁠Terminally ill patients, no doubt, will also want to hear how effective psilocybin is.⁠”

Kate’s words … spread over four pages inside the magazine accompanied by more pictures … are far too good a read to ignore … and can be found here at … https://www.smh.com.au/national/shannon-is-terminally-ill-in-a-trailblazing-trial-she-took-a-white-pill-20240129-p5f0v1.html … (sadly requiring a subscription). If you can, may I suggest sourcing a ‘hard copy’ of todays The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age, to read the magazine and view the pics all in the better old fashioned way … ‘in print’.

My subject Shannon was an absolute delight … and the work tells a remarkable story with the greatest of respect … Thanks Shannon, Thanks Katrina, Thanks Kate … gratified to be just a small part of it …

Image © Brian Cassey

More New ‘Collectors Prints’ in the Shop …

… just added TWO new images to the ‘Signed Collectors Prints’ collection on my new ‘Shop’ page on the web site.

“Football – Clapham Common London” (2016 – top) and “Rain Over Black Mountain – Cooktown” (2018 – bottom) join six other works available to buy as 18” X 12” signed prints … all made on archival matt photographic paper 18” on longest side, 12” on shortest side (457mm X 305mm) … and I scrawl my signature thingy on the front :-).

These two new additions bring the number of ‘Signed Collector Prints’ currently on offer to 8 … and more will be added gradually. If you see any of my works on the web site or elsewhere that you’d like to see available in the ‘Shop’ print collection please let me know (via an email to ) and I’ll help sort it :-).

To have a browse of the print collection and/or place an order just go to … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/shop/category/prints/

Whilst you are there have a look at the books that I also have available at … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/shop/category/books/

Images © Brian Cassey

New on the Site … Buy Collectors Prints & Books … !

… it’s taken a little while … but my new ‘Shop’ page on the web site is now very much open for business at https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/shop/ !

Click on ‘Shop’ here and you can now make your choice from a variety of ‘Signed Collector Prints’ and/or ‘Signed Limited Edition Books’ … and all within the web site.

The ‘Collectors Prints’ … currently a collection of six of my all time favourite images … will be rotated periodically. They will be printed on archival matt photographic paper 18” on the longest side, 12” on the shortest side (457mm X 305mm) and each print individually signed.

Similarly, the volumes in ‘Signed Limited Edition Books’ will each be individually signed. The volume “A Photographer’s Life – Part One & Part Two” contains all the work from my acclaimed Sydney and Cairns exhibitions of the same name, whilst “To Be Indigenous” is already in the collections of the National Library of Australia in Canberra and the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane.

Make your selections and then click through to cart, shipping and payment (PayPal etc) … and it’s all done !

VERY grateful to my long term web site guru Karl Sandoval of Zosto around the other side of the planet in Berlin, who once again had the amazing patience to work on my behalf … and has produced a great web site ‘Shop’ experience. Karl has been baby sitting myself and the web site for near two decades now … Thanks Karl !

Below are screen shots of the new ‘Shop’ in action. A click on each image will take you the relevant page.

Images © Brian Cassey

Bill, Michelle … & Cyclone Jasper …

“Forgotten in a Paradise Lost to Disaster” 

… that’s the headline The Australian used above my image of Bill and Michelle Dunn standing in the wreckage of their home, published earlier this week.

Their rural property at the tiny far north community of Degarra on the bank of the Bloomfield River Cape York, was not just flooded but scoured away by near 3 metres of rainfall over two days in the aftermath of Cyclone Jasper. 

The pic was used 5 columns across page 3 … (and if it wasn’t for the coronation of Australia’s Danish Queen would likely have been on page 1) … and is arguably the most moving and emotional image I’ve made for some time.

Bill (73) and Michelle (58 ) managed to escape the torrent with their lives as the waters rose “a foot every ten minutes” forcing them to swim out of their kitchen window. Using wound sheets Bill tied the couple to a tree but the flood waters grew too high. Fearing the worst they had to let go … and were swept by the rapidly rising waters to a higher tree where they sat for ten hours before being rescued by another local – their son – in a ‘tinnie’. 85 year old neighbour Ray Dark wasn’t so lucky … he was swept away and is believed to have drowned.

On Sunday … a month after the flood event … I choppered to Wujal Wujal and Degarra with Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr to meet and document the couple and hear their story.

Clearly still highly traumatised, Michelle didn’t want to go right up to the shattered and still saturated remains of the house where she had spent much of her life … “I can’t do it, I can’t do it” she said on the edge of tears. I did manage a few portraits with their house in the background amongst the wreckage and destruction … until Michelle broke down in tears and fell into Bill’s chest. This was one of my very last frames of the few made of Bill and Michelle together that day.

Degarra is still waiting for the ADF to arrive to help Bill, Michelle and the rest of the community start recovery and begin the rest of their now vastly different lives.

Was a very emotional day …

Image © Brian Cassey, (the bottom image is an emotional ‘crop’) … the page 3 image © The Australian

The Wet ‘n’ Windy Visit of Cyclone ‘Jasper’ …

… it’s raining heavily as I pen this … it is the ‘wet’ season after all … but nothing like the utterly torrential rains that Cyclone Jasper brought to Cairns and the far north in mid December.

Although the actual cyclone was somewhat lower on the scale as cyclones go … the rains that followed in Jasper’s wake were the most intense seen up here in many decades.

Breaking most of the very long standing rainfall records, metres high flooding and massive landslides caused absolute havoc … and as usual it’s my sometimes challenging job to cover the happenings photographically. As a freelance this gets a little complicated as the phone runs a little hot from calls from news publications and the ‘wires’ (news agencies).

Over the course of Jasper’s journey across the Coral Sea, it’s approach and crossing of the far north coast and it’s impact and aftermath thereafter … I found myself working for all of AAP (Australian Associated Press), AFP (Agence France Presse), NCA Newswire … and News Ltd. The images I made over the initial couple of weeks of turmoil were syndicated and published around the planet … some turning up in places and publications that I had no idea existed.

Jaspers effect on far north Queensland was massive. The Cairns northern beach suburbs of Holloways, Machans and Yorkeys Knob were inundated with metres of flood water … many residents escaping to their rooftops and eventual chopper rescue. Indigenous townships further north were so badly flooded that entire communities were evacuated. At least one was swept to their death. Metres of rain eroded mountains and caused numerous massive landslides that crushed buildings, covered main roads and changed the landscape … and that’s just part of the story.

Here’s links to just over a handful of the many publications where my work turned up over the cyclone event … The Arkansas Democrat Daily – USA, The Peninsula – Qatar, The Hindustan Times – India, The New Straits Times – Malaysia, RNZ – New Zealand, France 24, International – The News – Pakistan, Kuwait Times … and The Augusta-Margaret River Mail – WA Australia. They were scores more around the planet.

There’s a selection of my Jasper images (so far) below and here are short details of each for context … from top … as follows … 1. The Sanders family watch Jasper roll in across the Coral Sea at Holloways Beach … 2. Linda Applbee sits on the saturated contents stripped from their flooded Holloways Beach home … 3. Two Pictures on the wall … Steven and Caroline Cheng survey the flooding in their house of 38 years at Holloways Beach … 4. Evacuated residents leave the flooded Barron River bridge Cairns to return to their Holloways beach home … 5. Evacuated residents reunite with rescued family members at the Barron River Bridge Cairns … 6. (left) A discharged patient awaits outside the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital behind a line of sand bags … (right) Tree surgeon Brice Stienstra removes a felled tree from Muddies Playground on the Cairns Esplanade … 7. (left) Rattled … Inundated ‘Rattle ‘n’ Hum’ bar on the Esplanade at Palm Cove as Jasper closes in … (right) 11 year old Cairns resident Jaxon Andrews tends to a cyclone battered and drenched white cockatoo … 8. (left) Ergon electrician Justin Pitts prepares to fix a power line victim of Jasper … (right) Motorists traverse flooded Cairns streets during torrential rains … 9. A massive tree snapped by Jasper on the Cairns Esplanade.

The first image of the waves at Holloways Beach turned up full TV screen whilst watching CNN … and the fourth image, made at the Barron River bridge in Cairns, was one of 23 images selected in the ‘Australia’s Best Agency Photography for 2023’ collection published by The Guardian. Nice …

Covering Jasper certainly wasn’t uneventful … my favourite lens became a victim of saturation … and I managed to fracture a vertebrae in a fall … minor stuff … and I’ve a feeling Jasper’s story isn’t quite over yet …

Images © Brian Cassey, AAP, AFP, NCANewswire

‘Tokyo’ First in ’24 …

… nice way to start 2024 ! …

Very gratifying news this week that two of my pics have done ‘it’ again … both winning ‘Honorable Mentions’ in the ‘People’ category of the Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA). The first of the New Year 2024 … 

Both selected TIFA images … “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter ‘Potter’ Thompson” (top) … & … “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” (below) … have been recognised previously. Just before Christmas my portrait of Peter ‘Potter’ in his Kuranda ceramic studio was selected in the Top Twenty in the Capture Magazine portrait awards … whilst my portrait of Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal went a little better and was selected in the Top Ten in the same Awards (and published in the December issue of Capture Magazine) … along with an Honorable mention in the Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA). ‘Alf’ has also racked up several other previous accolades … and for ‘Potter’ it’s the third.

Earlier last year these two images teamed up to win the ‘People’ category of the “19th Pollux International Awards” … which at the time was their first ‘recognitions’ .

Check out these (and others) on my ‘Awards’ page at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

Images © Brian Cassey

Images © Brian Cassey 

Budapest, Dodho & Capture Awards … early Xmas Pressies …

… 3 nice early Chrissie presents … from ‘Budapest International Foto Awards’ (BIFA), Dodho Color Awards’ and Capture Magazines inaugural ‘Capture Awards’ … with four different images featuring.

Most pleasing for me was a first recognition for an image I’m rather fond of … and frankly rather different from my usual ‘stuff’ … entitled “Marilyn Monroe – 60 Years on – By Bonn” (top).

‘Marilyn’ was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art category of the Budapest International … and I’m very happy with that. I’m pretty sure that my subject Bonn Marie will be happy with that too … she did an admirable job of channeling the 50’s and early 60’s sex goddess … fabulous Bonn ! Thanks … and to Sue Kim too for her great nostalgic make up and hair magic.

I’ll try and keep it concise … but the catalyst for creating the image was the 60th anniversary of Marilyn’s (arguably the planet’s greatest ever sex symbol) untimely death in 1962 at the age of just 36. The idea was to  mirror one of the works of US photographer Tom Kelley who had the enviable task of shooting Marilyn’s infamous ‘red velvet’ set in 1949 before her acting career took off (when she had red hair pre the ‘blond bombshell’ era). Strangely Tom’s image didn’t receive lavish attention until Hugh Hefner selected it for the first centrefold in the first ever edition of Playboy Magazine in 1953!

The original is a truly iconic (in the real sense of the word) photograph and played a key role in shaping 20th century history, spawning a redefinition of female sexuality and a sexual revolution.

I like to think that Bonn and I did the original work justice. (Fine Art or not … it’s a real shame that this work is unacceptable on social media and its use would lead to a ban … go figure!)

“100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” also scored an Honourable Mention in the BIFA Portrait category … to add to a growing list of recognitions. Still miss you Alf.

By the way … it would be remiss of me not to mention that Cairns colleague and Hungarian born friend Emese Gyalog also featured in the Budapest awards, winning a Bronze Award and a Honorable Mention for her work. Excellent …

My pic of Green Island croc legend “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” featured in the second edition Dodho Magazine Color Awards … and was awarded with a whole page (third from top) in a quite beautifully produced collection of photography … the Dodho large format hard cover book of the awards best images entitled ‘Color –  Best Photographers of 2023’ (third and fourth pics). Dodho really know how to produce wonderful polished photography books!

Last but certainly not least … “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” was also selected in the ‘Top Ten Portraits’ of the inaugural Capture Magazine “Capture Awards” … and features amongst the winners in the current Summer 24 print edition of Australia’s premier pro photography magazine. A bit of cream on top was also the selection in the top twenty ‘Portraits’ list of my portrait “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter ‘Potter’ Thompson” of the Kuranda master potter (bottom image).

All have been updated to my ‘Awards’ listings page at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

A very nice way to finish 2023 … Many Thanks to all involved … and have a great ’24 !

All images © Brian Cassey

The Legacy and Images of Bruce Martin … ABC Far North …

One of the saddest and most difficult interviews I’ve faced …

Recently I was asked by ABC Far North ‘Breakfast’ presenter Charlie McKillop If i’d be interested in a short live radio interview on the tragic loss of Aurukun and Wik influential leader Bruce Martin at the age of thirty nine.

I first really met ‘Waal Waal’ … (respectfully ‘The Departed’ during mourning) … eleven years ago, when I covered an Aak Puul Ngantam wild cattle mustering operation on Cape York Peninsula for The Australian newspaper. The near week long coverage meant I spent time around the camp fire listening in awe as ‘Waal Waal’ held court and outlined his future vision for the Wik people of Aurukun. (It was later when I realised that we had, in fact, met fleetingly when I made very wet portraits of him during his water polo days in the mid 2000’s)

I was later honoured when he officially opened my exhibition of images of the mustering operation – “Aak Paul Ngantam Stockman” (including portraits of all the crew) – at The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns.

Thereafter ‘Waal Waal’ Martin’s career really took off. He became a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and served as a director of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.

Our last meeting was an impromptu breakfast (with his home made marmalade) in an Aurukun home a couple of years back.

There are a few links here below which document much more of the potential and life cut so cruelly short … and an image of mine that has become synonymous with that life. I … and many many others … will sorely miss you.

And … Yes … the full audio of the interview with Charlie McKillop on ABC Far North is here directly below too … and runs for around six and a half minutes.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-22/far-north-queensland-remembers-aurukun-wik-man-bruce-martin/102629858

https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/play/2014/02/abc-radio-interview-fiona-sewell-aak-puul-ngantam-stockman/

https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/photographs/aak-puul-ngantam-stockman/

Image © Brian Cassey

Young (and Old) Guns … The Australian …

… nice to be involved in an exclusive The Australian special on National gun registry and young (and old) gun shooters. The stories and pics ran over most of page 3 in today’s publication and centred on an imminent National Firearms Registry and the controversy over the legislation covering young shooters.

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon at a Mareeba Pistol Club obstacle shooting event talking and making images of the participants whose ages spanned from 12 to over 70 … all something new to me.

Although not yet published, my personal favourite image from that afternoon’s work was a portrait style grab of pistol packing 70 year old Torres Strait resident and experienced shooter Ian ‘Ging’ Butcher, ready to compete with his Infinity 38 SuperComp weapon … a gun with an over A$15000 price tag (top).

Second is the image that graced a large part of today’s The Australian page 3 … 12 year old Quinn Coates-Marnane … and third a screen grab of that page. Featured fourth is a portrait of already very experienced shooter 18 year old Bronte Matthews with hand on her Bul SAS 2 Ultimate racer 38mm Super pistol. Last is Quinn once again at the moment of firing a timed volley at a variety of static targets.

A different way to spend a Sunday afternoon … 

Images © Brian Cassey 

Head On Photo Festival … Brilliant …

Crackin’ long weekend at the 2023 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. 

Great to catch up with so many friends and photography colleagues. Amongst those photographers (and SO sorry for those fleetingly met and missed here) … and roughly in order they appeared …  Mark ‘Crusty’ Baker, David Gray, Rick Stevens, Mike Bowers, Peter Solness, Gary Ramage, Janie Barrett, John Donegan, Dean Sewell, Nicky Cately,  Judith Nangala Crispin, Jessica Hromas, Andrew Quilty, Michael Coyne, Glenn Porter, (pocket UK rocket) Jennifer Forward-Hayter,  John Swainston , Fiona Bowring and Dianne Brooks (who did an amazing job as my personal ‘chauffeur’ 😉 )

Then … you’ve got the fabulous dedicated Head On crew … Moshe Rosenzveig OAM, Anita, Steven, Emma, Charles, Lana et al. Amazin’ job !

Great to see the almost endless brilliant photography works at Bondi Beach, Reservoir Gardens, TAFE Ultimo etc … being part of a photo judges panel talk with colleagues Judith Nangala Crispin and Jessica Hromas … and to see my Head On Portrait Prize Finalist ‘Alf Neal’ work on the wall amongst a brilliant Bondi Pavilion exhibition in company with the work of media colleagues Gary Ramage, Kate Geraghty, Glenn Porter and forty odd others.

But wait … there’s more … the third showing for the “Paper Tigers” exhibition of Australian photojournalism, this time in the spacious realms of TAFE Ultimo … collection curated by myself and Moshe.

Wouldn’t have missed all this for quids … go see  … (and that’s the ‘name dropping’ other with 😉 )

Below are two of my works at the current Head On Festival … “Voices – 100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” amongst the Portrait Prize Finalists … and “Abdullatif – Beaten Asylum Seeker” amongst the sixty brilliant works of photojournalism that is “Paper Tigers”.

Images © Brian Cassey @headonphotofest #headonphoto 

Clarion Awards … Thank You Neal Family of Yarrabah …

… a great night at the Queensland Clarion Awards in Brisbane on the weekend.

The ‘Clarions’ are the annual awards for Queenslands media fraternity hosted my the MEAA (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) and, in their own words, “recognise excellence, independence, innovation and originality in storytelling and distinctive reporting. This can be through research and investigations, well-crafted and innovative presentations, news-breaking single stories or features, and engaging, entertaining and/or informative reporting.” (They also recognise the work of us ‘photographers’ too 😉 !)

Was very happy to be the recipient of both the major photography awards … ‘Best News Photograph’ for “Voices –  100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” … and … ‘Best Photographic Essay’ for “The Voice – Alf Neal OAM at 100”. Gratifyingly, it’s the third year in a row that I’ve been selected as winner of the Best Essay … puts the pressure on somewhat for next year.

I must greatly sincerely thank the Neal family of Yarrabah for allowing me to document the last days of the wonderful and distinguished legend and gentleman that was Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM (in particular the help from Alf’s son Percy … Thank You Percy). I’ve written much on Alf’s life here previously

I hope I have given a wonderful man the respect (and memories for his family) that he deserves. Miss you Alf.

It was also very nice to read the comments on my works by the judges …

Voices – 100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM’ by Brian Cassey is in a class of its own and a standout news picture. From the story to the access to the execution, Brian nailed the image and while doing so told an important story. Alf’s life was dedicated to activism and this poignant portrait raises hopes that the changes he didn’t live to witness in his lifetime will come to fruition to better the future of his great great grandson, Kailan. Well done Brian, we hope to one day see this image hanging at the National Portrait Gallery!

‘The Voice – Alf Neal OAM at 100′ by Brian Cassey ticked everyone of the criteria for this category for me. The story, ‘The Voice’, is in the news most days. Brian Cassey developed and nurtured a relationship with the subject. He focused on one man to tell a more complicated story. He was trusted, which gave him access at a very sensitive time for this community. His research allowed a depth to his storytelling. The images and words reflect one another adding great depth to the coverage. His essay tells the story very well. It is beautifully photographed.

Of course … the Clarion Awards are also a great opportunity to visit the big city and catch up with the many photographer and journalist friends and colleagues that aren’t fortunate enough to live and work in the Tropics ;-). Thanks MEAA.

Below I’ve added just a few pics from the winning essay … if you fancy, the complete essay set of twelve images may be found on my web site at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

Images © Brian Cassey of Alf, his funeral at Yarrabah and interment at Ngarrabullgan (Mt Mulligan) … Tweets (orX’s) by MEAA

Free Palestine … Brisbane …

… a quick weekend visit to Brisbane to attend the ‘Clarion Awards’ (Queensland’s annual media awards bash – more on that in another post) … and to catch up with UQ Uni studying daughter.

Daughter and friend were keen to join the “Free Palestine” rally in central Brisbane … so it seemed a good idea to spend some quality time and also attend and document a very current and important (disturbing) news story.

Thousands gathered to fill King George Square before a spirited march around the Brisbane central business district.  A motorcycle police officer I spoke to said it was the largest rally he’d seen in many many years. Impassioned but incident free, the rally shared the message about the Palestinian peoples several decades long fight for freedom, a homeland and some dignity … sadly to an almost deserted city centre.

Here below are just five of the many images I made at the rally on Saturday afternoon. More from the set may be found on my my Facebook page at … https://www.facebook.com/brian.cassey1 … and/or on my Instagram account at … https://www.instagram.com/brian_cassey/ .

Definitely an interesting activity to spend time with your placard waving daughter 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

Two George’s … Albert … & Kowanyama … 20th Pollux Awards …

Excellent news that my image “George at the Bus Stop” was just selected as WINNER of the ‘20th Pollux International Photo Awards’ – People … whilst three other of my works received Honourable Mentions !

Very nice Result ! Thank You so much to all my wonderful subjects … 

Whilst the portrait of George Skeene OAM got the biggest nod … “The Last of the Trochus Divers” (Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware), “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” and the series “The People from the Place of Many Waters” (Kowanyama) all received Hon Mentions in the same ‘People’ category.

Winning images will be presented at an exhibition at the Fotonostrum Gallery, Barcelona, Spain in December 2024.

Gratifyingly, it’s the first award ‘recognitions’ for both “George at the Bus Stop” and “The Last of the Trochus Divers” … whilst it’s the second such for “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” and “The People from the Place of Many Waters”. 

Wonder if I can get to Spain ? 🙂

20th Pollux Awards ‘WINNER’ & ‘Honourable Mentions’ X 3  – ‘People ‘ … Images all © Brian Cassey @brian_cassey

Images © Brian Cassey

“Yes” ? … “No” ? … Who Knows ? … A Week Full of “Voices” …

Last week  … manic !  Flight to Aurukun with indigenous leader Noel Pearson, another long day flying back to Aurukun and on to Pormpuraaw and Doomadgee Cape York Peninsula with Bob Katter … and in between following ‘Yes’ campaign director Dean Parkin all around Cairns. 

As the ‘Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ referendum draws ever closer, campaigning is in full swing … and there has been regular arrivals of ‘campaigners’ from ‘down south’ flocking to the Far North (and more turning up later on this week.)

Pearson’s visit to Aurukun and Parkin’s in Cairns were covered for ‘The Australian’ (including a nice page 1) … and Katter in an epic three destination Cape York flights saga, was for Bob’s campaign.

These TEN images have been chosen from across the hundreds I made over a hectic week … and they are also featured (arguably better) on my Instagram account and may be found here … https://www.instagram.com/p/Cx94Gy6vP4C/

  1. Bubblegum Discovery – Aurukun with Katter
  2. Bob Katter plants an ‘illegal’ potato in Doomadgee
  3. Young child explores the cenotaph in Aurukun – with Katter
  4. Dawn Koondumbin (75) reads up on the ‘Voice’ – in Aurukun with Pearson
  5. Bob Katter checks vegetable & fruit prices in the Doomadgee shop
  6. Phyllis Yunkaporta with Sophera Kerindun – in Aurukun with Pearson
  7. Deserted swim pool in Pormpuraaw – with Katter (left)
  8. Noel Pearson meets Bertha Yunkaporta (91) – in Aurukun (right)
  9. ‘Yes’ campaign Director Dean Parkin in Cairns (left)
  10. Bob Katter flies back from Aurukun, Pormpuraaw and Doomadgee (right)

Poses the question … what am I going to do after the referendum 🙂 ? !

Images © Brian Cassey

Dr George Skeene at “Burning Cane” … Sold

Still time to take in the work of the far norths best portrait artists across all mediums at the Crate 59 “Burning Cane” exhibition in Cairns. Now in its second year the exhibition consists of over 40 works of great portraiture and it’s certain to become an annual firm favourite.

Crate 59 was packed for the “Burning Cane” opening eve event back in September … and I was very happy to have a photographic work on the gallery wall. “George at the Bus Stop” is a pretty straight forward piece of portrait photography … in contrast to many of the innovative and creative painted, drawn and sculptured works … but nevertheless seemed to attract a lot of attention. The framed work was bought by a local art collector (not sure If I can mention his name) and it was nice to see the ‘Red Dot’.

The story of “George at the Bus Stop” is one of those serendipitous twists of fate … a couple of minutes chance encounter that you can read all about George and our meeting in a previous post here.

Dr George Skeene OAM was a gentleman in those few moments … and he is very definitely a scholar (hence the OAM 🙂 ).

If you havn’t been already, “Burning Cane” is still open to viewers for the next couple of weeks but hours are limited to when Billy’s Coffee is open … Monday to Thursday 6am to 12.30, Friday and Saturday 6am to 3pm. Grab yourself a strong dark cuppa and take a look at some great art …

Last day is Thursday October 12th.

Image © Brian Cassey … “George at the Bus Stop” at the “Burning Cane” exhibition – Dr George Skeene OAM

Mono Awards & “Alf at 100” …

Just quickly and not a biggie … but a little something to help keep the special memory of Alf Neal OAM alive …

This image below of Alf was from the last I made of the most significant aboriginal elder … one hundred year old Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM … before he quietly passed away in May. You may read the story of that last time I photographed Alf on his balcony of his home in Yarrabah … and the massive impact he made to indigenous Australia over his ten decades … here at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/images/2023/05/will-miss-you-alf-100/  … and here at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/publications/2023/04/alf-at-a-hundred-and-the-sunday-mail/ .

So … you may be able to see why I am so pleased to receive a “Highly Commended” recognition for Alf’s pic in the 2023 “Mono Awards” for black and white imagery. The image means a lot to me … and it’s nice to see that others have appreciated Alf and his story.

Meanwhile, another image I made of Alf the week of Alf’s one hundredth birthday last October … “100 Years & 3 Weeks” … has been quietly and consistently racking up awards … with another few announcements imminent. 

Image © Brian Cassey

8th Year … Trinity Bay High Student Portrait Prize …

This past week I once again had the delightful task of judging the works of Trinity Bay High School students in their annual Photographic Portrait Prize … and presenting the awards for the eighth year in a row.

Yearly, I’ve been amazed by the quality of photographic portraiture produced by the students … some barely in their teens. Looking back on my pictorial skills when their age, I would have been way down the bottom of class.

Having said that, this year when faced with over sixty quality portraits lining the Visual Arts walls, I was even more stunned. The collective students had really excelled and produced a ‘best ever’ portraiture exhibition.

Selecting the three winners was a daunting and lengthy task. In the end the overall winner boiled down to an almost impossible choice between two great portraits … neither of which would look out of place published in National Geographic magazine. Ultimately the self portrait ‘Window of Soul’ (top) by David-Paul Onakoy got the winning nod over ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’ (second from top) made by his mate David Mashengo … but only just !! The Congolese student pair both produced wonderfully constructed portraits that told a story. David-Paul took home the winners prize of a DSLR camera courtesy of sponsors Garricks Camera House.

Interestingly and in contrast to the previous couple of years … this years three winners all showed strong eye contact in their portraits, with the beautifully executed and literally eye-catching work by Sienna Stuart-Bennet of her friend Shakira, ‘Vision’, making up the top prized trio.

I could have easily awarded a dozen or so ‘Honourable Mentions’ but had to limit the decision to just three, coincidently all black and white portraits. The works of … Jade Gubb (titled ‘Dystopian Gremlin’ – great attitude and angle of view) … Noecocha Cowley (‘Mary’ – striking use of shadow) … and Mattie-Leigh Hanson (‘Seashore’ – beautifully constructed and composed), prevailed. Virgil Gill won the top prize amongst the school staff section for the work ‘Sunshine’ … whilst ‘Sweet 16’ by student Shirley Vue (bottom image) was chosen by popular vote as ‘Peoples Choice’.

Much praise must go to the dedicated Visual Arts teaching staff at the school who are fostering and moulding this amazing young photographic talent.

You can view all the TBHS students winning works from the past seven years by clicking here… 2022202120202019201820172016

See you all next year for number nine …

Images © The Student Artists … from top … David-Paul Onakoy, David Mashengo, Sienna Stuart-Bennet, Jade Gubb, Noecocha Cowley & Mattie-Leigh Hanson, Shirley Vue

IRIS Award … It’s Alf …

… I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone which of my images was selected as a Finalist in the Perth Centre for Photography’s IRIS Awards a few weeks ago … the list of selected works was a well kept secret … but I can now !

Last Friday saw the opening eve of the awards in Perth … and the forty works selected as Finalists filled the PCP gallery. There was my image “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” hanging nicely on the wall (thanks to the printing and framing skills of Paul Maietta and the crew at Fitzgerald Photo Imaging).

A little forward planning and a lot of positive finger crossing meant that I managed to arrive in Perth from London two days before Fridays’ opening event (shattered following the seventeen hour direct flight that I booked many months ago !).

It’s the third time in a row that my work has been selected as a finalist in this biennial award … links to my previous Finalist works may be found here (2021) … and here (2019) .

Sadly Alf didn’t get to hear of this latest ‘recognition’ of his work in indigenous community and on the 1967 referendum, as he passed away quietly in May this year.

However, “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” is continuing to wrack up accolades and preserve the memory of a wonderful inspirational Yarrabah gentleman.

Image of Alf © Brian Cassey

IRIS Awards - Perth Centre for Photography 2023 Finalists