Dodho Published Again … & Looking Good at the Percival’s …

Nice chunky parcel dropped into my PO box this week. Inside was the Dodho Magazines hard cover book of the works selected as Finalists in the 2024 Dodo Portrait Prize. A really nice publication and collection …

So pleased to find that my image of Kuranda based artist Peter “Potter” Thompson (top) looking great across a whole page. If anyone deserves the recognition it’s Peter and the image title … “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter ‘Potter’ Thompson” … may give a clue to why.

A Master Ceramicist, Peter ‘Potter’ Thompson has been working the kilns in the Kuranda rainforest studio that he has called home for over fifty years. Peter – amongst Australia’s most accomplished practitioners of wood-fired kiln pottery – is something of a miracle having survived three heart attacks over his career producing imaginative Asian/Taoist inspired works that have graced galleries far and wide. On his pace maker heart chest is tattooed ’N F Resuscitare’ (‘Do Not Resuscitate’) and his blood group – a testament to his dry sense of humour.

This image of Peter has also been recognised in the 2024 Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA), the 2023 Pollux International Awards and Australia’s Capture Awards. Thanks Peter !

Recently I also visited the Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville where three of my other images graced the walls in the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize … “George at the Bus Stop – Dr George Skeene OAM”, “Last of the Trochus Divers – Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware” and “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” (see the other two pics below). The Townsville council host a fabulous show of portrait photography which is accompanied by the works of artists who prefer to use paints … The Percival Portrait Prize. Both shows are worth some time exploring and are open until September 1st.

Images © Brian Cassey

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

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

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

‘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 

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

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

Aurukun Artist Keith Wikmunea …

… had the very distinct privilege and pleasure to travel to Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula recently to portray indigenous artist Keith Wikmunea. He then was soon to be announced the winner of the $100,000 Telstra Indigenous Art Award, the top prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (NATSIAA) in Darwin. Images of Keith and his work were required to spread around Australia’s media in conjunction with the story of his win.

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days with Keith and Wik & Kugu Aurukun Arts Centre Manager Gabe Waterman as our winner worked on sculpting a ‘camp dog’ in the arts centre workshop … and out and about at various locations around the indigenous township. Keith was patient and a delight.

His $100,000 sculptured milkwood winning work – entitled “Ku’, Theewith & Kalampang: The White Cockatoo, Galah and the Wandering Dog” – was inspired by his ancestors, says Keith. He has already spent his prize money on a boat and a car for his family.

My images of Keith appeared in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and many other print and web publications around Australia … and will also grace Sydney railway stations to spread the word about his win, his talent and the Telstra award.

Below are some of my favourite images of Keith in Aurukun and a mock up of the Telstra promotional banner work soon to be seen in Sydney stations.

Images © Brian Cassey

“People From the Place of Many Waters” Lands in Paris …

Nice to receive the news recently that this set of portraits made in a little pop up studio during a workshop I hosted in the indigenous community of Kowanyama Cape York Peninsula late last year … “People From The Place of Many Waters” … was awarded an ‘Honorable Mention’ in ‘Portraiture – Series’ at this years prestigious “Le Prix De La Photographie De Paris” (Paris Photo Prize … PX3).

Many Thanks to the wonderful people of Kowanyama, Cape York Peninsula … the “People From The Place of Many Waters” . In particular my selection of subjects below from the hundreds of portraits made … David “Crow” Kitchener (top) – James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum (second from top) – Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress – Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley – Neville Henry – Zacchias Daniel – Arnold Possum – Charmaine Lawrence and Ruban Gibo … and all the many others who I portrayed during the program and workshop … and Tania Major who facilitated the visit for the RISE arts program.

In addition, another of my images … “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” (yeah that one again – see other posts) … was also selected for an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the same PX3 awards, portraiture singles category … a nice welcome double 😉 !

Images © Brian Cassey

The Funeral and Interment of Alf Neal OAM …

Honoured to be accepted by the Kuku Djungan clan and the Neal family to document the funeral and interment ‘on country’ of the legendary highly respected aboriginal elder, bush lawyer and former cane cutter Alf Neal OAM.

Alf passed away with dignity in late May at the age of 100 … after a legendary life devoted to the betterment of Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Alf “Popeye” Neal was born in 1922 on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan west of Cairns, Alf was moved to the indigenous community of Yarrabah at the age of two. His earliest memories were of learning aboriginal lore – and white man law.

In the 60’s Alf was a major member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League which fought a decade long campaign to have Indigenous peoples recognised in the Constitution and counted in the census of 1967.

In 2019 he was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly the 1967 Referendum Campaign’.

I’ve portrayed Alf many times over the years … and like to think I’m a Neal family friend. I’ll sure miss the quiet impressive gentleman … and so will Australia’s ATSI community at large.

His funeral was at St Alban’s Church in Yarrabah … where it appeared half the community turned up. (top 2 images). His interment followed the next day on his beautiful Ngarrabullgan traditional country and attended by his extended Djungan clan, Neal family and invited guests (bottom 3). These are just a handful of the many I made over the two days of proceedings.

More images from these two ’sorry’ days may be found on my IG page here … https://www.instagram.com/p/CuTovFYLHGH/  … and on my FB page here … https://www.facebook.com/brian.cassey1…  whilst previous posts with more on Alf’s life and my portraits etc may be found here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/2023/05/will-miss-you-alf-100/ … & … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/publications/2023/04/alf-at-a-hundred-and-the-sunday-mail/… & … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/images/2022/10/one-hundred-years-three-weeks/

Vale Alf … now forever ‘on country’.

Images © Brian Cassey

India … Modi … Adani … the Gond … & The Washington Post …

… very gratified to be a part of a significant political and environmental story crafted and published yesterday by The Washington Post.

The story … by journalists Gerry Shih, Karishma Mehrotra and Anant Gupta and accompanied by two of my images from Chhattisgarh, India … is entitled “India Cracks Down on Critics of Coal”. The lengthy story documents how India’s Modi government is using state power to help Gutam Adani expand his coal operations in the country and silence the voices of NGO’s and other critics both Internationally and internally.

A large focus of the story is the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand forest in Chhattisgarh state central India by the expansion of open cut coal mines already operating or planned … with Adani a major player. It also documents the special relationship between Gutam Adani and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the impacts on any opposition to coal expansion.

In 2019 I wrote and illustrated a story on the impact of the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand, the effects on the Gond tribal people who have called it home for centuries and the plans for many more coal mines in the pristine forest area, home to elephants, jaguars and other wild life. The story was featured in The Guardian (main story and a photo gallery) and several other International publications including CNN, Italy’s ‘Corriere Della Sera’ newspaper, ‘Orion’ environmental magazine and more. The Washington Post story updates the situation in my original story and expands into how the Indian government is cracking down on any dissent, be it International NGO’s or Indian Nationals, as Adani and others carve up the profits from unbridled coal expansion.

It is a worrying, troublesome but important and fascinating read … highly recommended … and may be found here … https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/05/india-coal-adani-modi-crackdown/  (no subscription required). My two supporting images from the Hasdeo Arand forest are shown below.

Images © Brian Cassey – publication The Washington Post

The Washington Post story on India crack down on critics of coal - Adani & the Gond - images by Brian Cassey
The Washington Post story on India crack down on critics of coal - Adani & the Gond - images by Brian Cassey

A Tiny Dot In The Pacific Ocean …

50 year old Sydney masseuse Michelle Lee gently shipped her oars in Port Douglas  Wednesday April 5th 2023 to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean … an epic feat that spanned 240 days.

Michelle left Ensenada Mexico in her row boat ‘The Australian Maid’ on August 8th 2022 with approximately 14000 kms ahead of her, much of it dodging numerous Cyclones (Hurricanes) and the unexpected. It was not only the weather that impacted her progress … she was shadowed by large sharks across the ocean (one decided to visit Michelle by jumping into the boat) … and currents and tides slowed her last run in to the Australian coast changing landfall from Cairns to Port Douglas.

She had previously defeated the lesser shorter challenge of rowing across the Atlantic in 68 days … a feat that led to her being named the 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

I was contacted by the event media consultant Liz Inglis to help cover Michelle’s Australian arrival … and contacted AAP who gladly snapped up the opportunity. Below are just a tiny portion … five … of the large set of photographs I made of her arrival. More can be found on my Instagram feed (10 images) at https://www.instagram.com/p/CqtmLTBB7U3/ … and on my Facebook page (12 images) at … https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10160849699665984&set=pcb.10160849701405984.

My full set of 43 images may be found on the AAP website at … https://photos.aap.com.au/search/Michelle%20Lee%20port%20douglas

Amongst many other media, The Guardian run a nice story on Michelle’s journey and arrival accompanied by some of my pics here … https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/05/bit-of-a-battle-michelle-lee-reaches-queensland-after-rowing-out-of-mexico-240-days-ago .

The images of Michelle’s landing in Aus have been syndicated widely around the planet over the last few days.

Images © AAP/Brian Cassey @australianassociatedpress

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

“The Legend That Is George” …

Recently travelled to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef with photographer colleague Emese Gyalog to meet and document, soon to be 93 year old croc legend George Craig.

To say George has lived a life is a massive understatement. Schooled in England but born in South America, George dived with epic Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller in an aquatic show before stowing away on a ship at London’s docks to Jamaica where he picked bananas. Then he found himself in Darwin Australia defusing WWII bombs.

However, the travel that most impacted the direction of George’s life was to the Fly River in Papua New Guinea, where he set about croc hunting … later turning to croc ‘collecting’. George not only ‘collected’ crocs but also a massive trove of PNG artefacts unmatched almost anywhere.

In the 1970’s when he needed somewhere to put all these crocs and art he took over tourist venture Marineland Melanesia at Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, where he lives and works to this day. George also brought a mate of his to Green Island from the NT … a now 5 5 metre “saltie” named “Cassius” … the largest croc in captivity on the planet. (See here Guinness Book of Records.)

You may read much more about George, his early croc hunting, collecting and PNG artefacts here … https://oceanicart.com/PROVENANCE/George-Craig/1

It was an absolute pleasure to photograph George on Green Island … on his favourite chair where he sometimes paints, amongst his amazing collections of probably priceless art … and with his massive mate “Cassius”.

The Courier Mail were delighted to see the work and ran it today Saturday on page three (with a pic pointer from page 1), with a story brilliantly constructed by journo, wordsmith and mate Michael Madigan.

I do like “Cassius” but I’m much fonder of the portraits I made of George in his happy place with his art works, one of which leads this little set below.

Thanks George , Cassius and Emese … had a great rewarding day !

Images © Brian Cassey, publication © The Courier Mail

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story of former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story on former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story on former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

“Alf” & “Potter” Win Pollux International Award …

… very welcome news  … TWO of my recent images combined to win the ‘People’ category of the “19th Pollux International Awards” … first time ‘recognitions’ for them both.

Always satisfying when ‘new’ pics get a bit of attention.

The images “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf” and “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” … below … are the two works that were jointly selected as the Winner of the ‘People’ category.

“100 Years & 3 Weeks” (bottom) features prominent Kuku Djungan elder and aboriginal and islander leader and activist Alf Neal and his three week old great great grandson Kailan Murgha at their Yarrabah home two days before the community celebration of Alf’s centenary.

Alf was a driving force in a decade long fight for the 1967 referendum which resulted in Indigenous peoples recognition in Australia’s Constitution. He was awarded ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community’ in 2019.

“Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” (top) features prominent Master Potter … Peter “Potter” Thompson … in his Kuranda rainforest studio ‘Five Treasures’ where he produces his imaginative Asian/Taoist inspired clay works fired in wood-fired kilns. 

“Potter” is something of a miracle having survived three heart attacks over his decades long career producing works that have graced galleries far and wide. The tattoo over his pace maker enhanced heart and chest states ’N F Resuscitare’ (‘Do Not Resuscitate’) and his blood group … a testament to his longevity and Impeccably wry and dry sense of humour.

Was also excellent to see US mate, Washington Post shooter and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Robinson Chavez get a mention in the ‘Documentary & Reportage’ category for his fantastic work in Ukraine.

The Pollux Awards have been awarding the best of the planets photographic works for near a couple of decades. 

Winners work will be exhibited, large scale, on the walls of the FotoNostrum Gallery in Barcelona, Spain in December later this year. (NB … I’ve had work exhibited in the Fotonostrum Gallery in Barcelona previously … back in 2021 with my portrait of Carol Mayer … “The Skin I’m In”. )

Pretty happy with that 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

 

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

415,000 Entries … 200+ countries … Sony World Photography …

Yes … you’ve likely seen this work before 🙂 (as recently as my last post here … sorry) … BUT … what IS new is that “Mother Africa – Aurora” has been selected (announced yesterday) in the ‘Shortlist’ of just fourteen images in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards for ‘Portraiture’. When you consider that this years Sony World wide awards attracted approximately four hundred and fifteen thousand entries from over two hundred countries, you’ll maybe understand why I’m pretty ‘chuffed’ and grateful that I can now show it again here in this context !

The fourteen short listed Open works in ‘Portraiture’ emanated from photographers around the planet  …  Denmark, the Philippines, Slovakia, USA, Angola, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria (2), Poland (2) and the UK (3) … (see complete list below). (You may notice that, unusually, Sony decided to put myself and my work in the UK column (place of birth) rather than the more common place of residence column (Aus) … very nice to be British again 😉 )

The Winners and short listed works from this years awards … arguably the Worlds largest and most prestigious … will be published as a collection in a hard cover book ‘Sony World Photography Awards 2023’, … whilst Winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at beautiful Somerset House in my old home town London from April 14 – May 1, 2023. (Hope my UK family can make it 😉 ).

“Mother Africa” was also short listed this month in “Portrait of Humanity” … a planet wide award and collection of photographic portraiture by the “British Journal of Photography” … and has also received major attention in several other International and Australian awards.

(NB … SO grateful to my subject, delightful African American Australian based Aurora Coulter … Thanks again ‘Rora’ !)

Image © Brian Cassey

Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.
Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.

Kowanyama Portraits …

Every now and then a job turns up that’s … well … a little different. December saw one of those.

Former ‘Young Australian of the Year’ (2007) Tania Major contacted me and asked if I may like to host ‘portrait sessions’ and a workshop in her home township of Kowanyama on western Cape York just before Christmas. The idea … part of the RISE Arts Program … was to raise awareness of the possibilities of photographic portraiture in the indigenous community and provide any residents who ‘sat’ (or stood, leant or lay) with a timely portrait before Christmas. Nice idea …

So … I traveled to Kowanyama, set up a makeshift studio in the Kowanyama Arts & Culture Centre … and spent four days meeting and photographing the fabulous characters who arrived almost constantly. Elderly, young, very young and not so young …

It was not only great fun but also a truly positive and rewarding event.

The seven portraits I’ve selected here below are just a tiny proportion of the over three hundred I made during the program.

Thanks Tania ( @tanmajor ) … and to the Kowanyama residents for their wonderful hospitality and humour at what was a difficult time for the community (which I won’t go into here.)

Portraits left to right from top …

David “Crow” Kitchener … Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress … and … James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum … Zacchias Daniel … and … Neville Henry … Arnold Possum … and … Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley.

Images © Brian Cassey

 

Indigenous Portraits froid Kowanyama Workshop - December 2022 by Brian Cassey