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 

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

A Few New ‘Award Updates’ …

A few nice recognitions over the past few weeks … 🙂

Firstly … so nice to once again be selected as a Finalist in the Perth Centre for Photography’s ‘IRIS’ portrait awards …  a biennial award that my work has now been selected for the third time in a row. The actual finalist works chosen this time are still a necessary secret … but all will be revealed when the exhibition of finalist and winners works opens at PCP’s Perth gallery on September 1st. Fortunately I will be in Perth at that time en route back from the UK.

PCP describes the ‘IRIS’ awards so … “The IRIS Award celebrates excellence in portraiture photography, revealing portraits that are unique, original and conceptually stimulating. IRIS has been running for 18 years, with the inaugural exhibition held back in 2003”.

I missed seeing my last finalist work on the ‘IRIS” exhibition wall in 2021“Tears for George Floyd … 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” …  due to the Covid-19 pandemic … so I’m looking forward to being there for this one.

Arguably the one of the nicest surprises was the news that my portrait of the now sadly departed 100 year old Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM entitled “100 Years & 3 Weeks” was selected in the ‘Best 25’ of the Dohdo International photography magazines “Portrait – Best Photographers of 2023” collection. The pic of Alf is now nicely included in the large format hard cover year book “Portrait” (see top image below) and will also be exhibited in an online ‘Best 25’ collection for the next year. 

(The same image of Alf was earlier this year also selected as the Winner of the ‘People’ category of the 19th International Pollux Awards.)

In the 16th International Color Awards announced recently my works were selected as ‘Honourable Mentions’ in both the ‘Portrait’ category (with image “Covid Vax & Ice Cream”) and the ‘Children of the World’ category (with image “Veronica – Where Home Brew Kills”) … whilst my image “Scooter” also made the finalist cut in ‘Portrait’. See the trio of images below. All three have been acknowledged in previous awards.

Lastly in ‘new’ award dispatches … “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” again resonated when it was selected as a finalist in the ‘People’ category of the 2023 ‘ReFocus Colour Awards‘.

A pleasant few weeks … 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

Alf at a Hundred … and The Sunday Mail …

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and portraying now one hundred year old Alfie “Popeye” Neal OAM for a few decades … a gentleman with quiet determination and a mission to improve the plight of Australia’s indigenous residents.

Long an advocate and fighter for indigenous rights, Alf was born in the early 1920’s on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan) west of Cairns. Moved to the indigenous community of Yarrabah, he was baptised at the age of 2 and grew up in dormitories. His earliest memories were of learning white man law alongside the traditions of aboriginal lore.

In 2019 the former bush lawyer and cane cutter was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly the 1967 Referendum Campaign’. Alf was a leader in the decades long fight for the referendum which eventually resulted in Indigenous peoples historic recognition in Australia’s Constitution.

In light of the ongoing “Voices” campaign and upcoming referendum, I pitched an image of Alf and his three week old great great grandson …  “100 Years & 3 Weeks” … to the Sunday Mail … and big thanks to journalist Michael ‘Mad Dog’ Madigan for is great words and SM Pic Ed Jamie Hanson (in his last week on the paper after 30 odd years) for getting this story across the line and over three pages of last Sundays edition. 

The top pic is a very recent previously unpublished portrait of Alf that I made on his Yarrabah verandah …  image two (bottom left) is a page grab  of “100 Years & 3 Weeks” in the Sunday Mail … and image three (bottom right) is todays two page SM spread of Michael’s words on Alf’s colourful life and achievements with some more of my ‘Alf’ pics from across the years.

Thanks Alf, son Percy, journo ‘Mad Dog’ and pic ed Jamie. (A very ‘special Thanks’ for Jamie for being ‘one of the best’ pic editors …  happy (chosen) redundancy and enjoy life outside the media, Jamie … Thanks for everything !).

Images © Brian Cassey, publication The Sunday Mail

Voices - Alf Neal OAM at 100 - "100 Years & 3 Weeks" - images by Brian Cassey - Yarrabah