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 …  … and on my FB page here ……  whilst previous posts with more on Alf’s life and my portraits etc may be found here … … & …… & …

Vale Alf … now forever ‘on country’.

Images © Brian Cassey

“Australian Life” … Sydney Awards & Exhibition Including “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” …

… this is the way to display photographers work !

Just spent a few days in Sydney town to take in the opening of the 2022 “Australian Life” photographic awards and exhibition in Hyde Park … and it’s a cracker ! 

The work of twenty eight selected award Finalists … very gratifyingly including my “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” portrait of Yarrabah’s Leanne Bulmer …  are showcased along one of Hyde Park’s main pedestrian thoroughfares. Each work is brilliantly displayed at 2.8 metres wide in massive lightboxes … at dusk the pictorial effect was startling. 

The range of work displayed is diverse, sometimes poignant, sometimes amusing, invariably fascinating and a visual feast. 

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore commented on the event …  “These images are thought-provoking, joyful, harrowing. Each one captures a moment in time somewhere in Australia and together they form a record of the challenges and richness of Australian life”.

The twenty eight works in the exhibition were selected from a total of over seventeen hundred images from around the country. Many Thanks to all the photographers who were selected and made this exhibition ‘special’.

Opening eve, of course, it rained constantly … but since then the weather has been kinder and a constant flow of pedestrians have taken in the show.

If you are unable to visit the exhibition in Sydney you may find all the exhibition images on the City of Sydney website at …… but it isn’t as good as ‘being there’.

You can also listen to a two minute audio file on my “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” image … that is available to access by scanning a barcode under the displayed work in Hyde Park … here …

Great to see this City of Sydney – Art & About event return following a two year pandemic hiatus. The exhibit is open to all in Hyde Park (adjacent to St James Station) until October 9th.

Images © Brian Cassey – “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” – top and second from left bottom image (other individual works © the artists) … Thanks (once again) to my subject Leanne.

2022 "Australian Life" photo awards - Hyde Park, Sydney - Art & About - "Covid Vax & Ice Cream" by Brian Cassey

2022 "Australian Life" photo awards - Hyde Park, Sydney - Art & About - "Covid Vax & Ice Cream" by Brian Cassey

2022 "Australian Life" photo awards - Hyde Park, Sydney - Art & About - "Covid Vax & Ice Cream" by Brian Cassey

‘Paper Tigers’ … on ‘Google Arts & Culture’ …

Delighted to learn that ‘Paper Tigers’ … the compilation of the work of sixty Australian photojournalists curated by myself and Head On Photo Festival director Moshe Rosenvzeig OAM … now has another great published ‘airing’ on the distinguished ‘Google Arts & Culture’ platform (including, of course, my contribution ‘Abdullatif – Beaten Asylum Seeker’ – below – from one of the GA&C pages).

It was a (lengthy) and rewarding pleasure to work with Moshe to collate this project … and wonderful to see it now showing on a new platform amongst significant works from the Worlds leading museums and archives including (but far, far from ‘not only’) MoMa in New York, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and the Tate Britain in London.

‘Paper Tigers – an Anthology of Australian Contemporary Photojournalism’ has already been exhibited to acclaim ‘on the walls’ at the ‘Twenty Twenty Six Gallery’ in Sydney (during last years Head On Photo Festival) and is also available in book form on the Head On website at … … (if it hasn’t already sold out again).

The ‘Paper Tigers’ works can now be found on the ‘Google Arts & Culture’ platform at ……

Thanks to all the contributing PJ’s (some of which I nagged mercilessly) and the amazin’ Head On Photo Festival team.

#headonphotofestival #photojournalismaustralia

‘Abdullatif’ Image … ‘Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize’ Winner 2016 © Brian Cassey

'Paper Tigers' on the Google Arts and Culture site - curated by Brian Cassey and Moshe Rosenvzeig - image by Brian Cassey

Covid, Adani, Global Climate Catastrophe … CNN and Me …

… great to be part of a massive Covid-19 story of global importance just published on CNN.

The story entitled ‘The One Chance We Have’ delves into the story of how … during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent confusion and devastation of the global economy … fossil fuel producing countries are injecting taxpayer money into propping up polluting industries that are hastening an earlier climate catastrophe. 

The story uses vignettes from four fossil fuel producing countries … Canada, Poland, Australia and India … to substantiate the premise that ‘The pandemic gave the world a golden opportunity to fix the climate crisis. We’re about to waste it.’

My work appears in the ‘India’ segment … and comprises six of the images I made just on a year ago in Chhattisgarh … set amongst a lengthy story (somewhat based on my original words but ‘updated’) on the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand forest and the Gond tribal population by Indian mining giant Adani hand in hand with Modi’s government.

My images and words from Chhattisgarh have previously been published in The Guardian (here and here), in Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera (here) and elsewhere.  Very gratifying to see the work picked up again.

I must stress that this current story on CNN is a great and incredibly important piece of journalism and is well worth a look (at the images) and a good long read. Please do … there is far too much in the story to go into here and the implications for the future of the planet are chilling. 

I’m joined pictorially in the piece (in the ‘Australian’ section of the story) by Aussie based colleagues David Maurice Smith and Matthew Abbott. Hi Guys !

Thanks CNN for the important story and for using my work to help illustrate it. Thanks yet again to my fixer/friend Srienivas Akella from Mumbai … brilliant travelling with you.

Below … images (3 of my 6) © Brian Cassey … from the CNN story ‘The One Chance We Have’.

CNN story 'The One Chance We Have' on Covid-19 pandemic hastening a global climate catastrophe - images by Brian Cassey

CNN story 'The One Chance We Have' on Covid-19 pandemic hastening a global climate catastrophe - images by Brian Cassey

BBC 5 Live Interview

Prior to the launch of my exhibition “A Photographer’s Life – Part One” at the 2017 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, I was interviewed by my old mate BBC Australia correspondent Phil Mercer.

The BBC 5 Live interview, hosted by Phil and Rhod Sharp, became a rather lengthy affair and touched on my photographic work over the decades, the then pending exhibition in Sydney, various aspects of photography and photojournalism … and my life in the UK and Australia. It runs for near 22 minutes.

Nikon Walkley’s In Brisbane …

Thanks to Nikon Australia and the Walkley Foundation I last week again travelled to Brisbane to help launch the ‘2014 Nikon Walkley Press Photography Exhibition’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Great to catch up with colleagues and mates once again but first I had to do the ‘official bit’ on stage and wax (probably not so) lyrical – to an audience of about 70 guests – about the work of Australia’s press photographers and the wonderful images collected into this years exhibition displayed on the textured and colourful walls of the Powerhouse. I then joined forces on stage with Nikon Walkley News category finalist – Courier Mail staffer and mate – Peter Wallace … and we talked about how he worked to obtain his great image of now convicted murderer Gerard Baden-Clay.

A great evening that I hope everyone enjoyed … and ‘Thanks’ to the Walkley’s, Nikon and all at the Powerhouse.

If you get the chance to see the exhibition – either in Brisbane or in other touring venues – you will not be disappointed. The work is extraordinary (as is usual every year) and a testament to the talent of Australia’s press photographers.

Below a pic – courtesy of Nikon’s Chris Dalton – of yours truly hiding behind the microphone at the Nikon Walkley exhibition launch with the work of Sport finalist Brett Costello on the big screen . Image © Chris Dalton


“Eyes … the Soul of a Photograph”

Compiled from images selected from my archives specifically for presentation at the ‘Nikon Walkley Brisbane Slide Night’, the Powerhouse Brisbane on 3rd September 2014  – “Eyes” reinforces the axiom that, in photography as in life, the eyes are the gateway to the soul … and the still image.

In voting by the audience on the evening at the Powerhouse, “Eyes … the Soul of a Photograph”, was awarded close count ‘runner up’. News of the event can be found on the Walkley web site at …

Images and Presentation © Brian Cassey

“Better Pictures” Mag

Nice interview spread in the current “Better Pictures” magazine – a 3 page feature on photojournalism and I entitled “Inside Story”.

The articles tells of the challenges of photojournalism in this day and age (from my humble perspective) – and a little about my history in photography and the kit I use.

Good to see my images of Hong Kong Cage Homes, Carol Mayer’s portrait, the Fiji coup and the Holi Festival in Rajasthan used … but not fussed about the text and blocks encroaching on the images look!

Although “Better Pictures” is mainly a publication for enthusiasts any little bit of profile building never goes astray!

Below are images of the three pages of the magazine … images © Brian Cassey




Bigger Pics Close …

Thanks to Karl Sandoval and Julian Communication the web site revamp is just days away. On completion you will notice the images are rendered much larger than on the old site – with pics adjusted for viewing screen size. Navigation will also be improved. You will also notice other tweeks and improvements. Will update you all here when the new site goes ‘live’.

Photojournalism Panel Talk on ABC Radio National

As the media industry declines and respected journalists and photojournalists are bundled involuntarily from their newspapers in droves, Richard Aedy from ABC’s Radio National hosts a somewhat optimistic ‘panel talk’ on the future of photojournalism.

Running for 28 minutes and 30 seconds, Richard’s ‘Media Report – Photojournalism Special’ segment features experienced photojournalists Andrew Meares from Fairfax’s Canberra bureau, deputy pic editor of AAP April Fonti … and a certain Cairns freelancer  … Me !

The entire show may be found at …

… or simply click on the interview here below.


A Little Chat at the Walkley Media Conference …

Last week I was fortunate (and honoured) to be invited to be a part of the Walkley Media Conference – “What’s the Story? Inventing the Future” – in Brisbane. Felt rather humble to be part of a great list of speakers that included the ABC’s Mark Scott, Greg Hywood (CEO of Fairfax Media), well known humourist and journalist Wendy Harmer – and many distinguished others – all of whom, I’m sure, had more experience in this ‘speaking’ lark than I !

My session was scheduled for three and a half hours … (and went for four! – didn’t realise I could talk that long!) and touched on the changes in media photography over the last decades, the state of play today, how to handle the difficulties encountered and what we may expect in the future. A mix of about two dozen journalists, photographers and students patiently listened and asked a myriad of thoughtful questions over the session. I thank them for their attention ! (‘Thanks’ is also due to Nikon’s Quentin Visentin who demonstrated the new Nikon 1 kit to the audience.)

My congratulations and ‘Thanks’ also to the MEAA and the Walkley Foundation for a fantastic conference!

Of course … my highlight of the Brisbane visit was the 2011 Walkley Awards presentation at the Convention & Exhibition Centre on Sunday eve. A brilliant night to be a part of – very gratified to receive the recognition of the Nikon Walkley Best Portrait Award for my image  ‘Carol – Burns Survivor’ – and to share the evening with talented press photographers Glenn Campbell,  Craig Greenhill, Stuart McEvoy, Rob Maccoll, Nev Madsen, the Getty guys, 2011 Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year Phil Hillyard … as well as many journalist and industry colleagues. Great Night!

Whilst searching for material for my conference session I came across one of the very first photographs I ever took … at the age of about ten or eleven … and my first ever camera that made that image – a bakelite VP Twin camera that was bought (begrudgingly by my parents) from Woolworths in the Isle of Wight for two shillings and six pence ! (about fifty cents). I’m NOT telling anybody how long ago that actually WAS … but below I’ve posted the image (of the Cunard liner “RMS Queen Elizabeth” in the Solent UK – I was a boy into ships and trains at that stage!) and a pic of the camera. I used both images at the commencement of the Walkley Conference session.

© Image by Brian Cassey (a little while ago!)