Tokyo … and “Mother Africa” …

…  nice timing and Merry Xmas …

Early in the hours of Christmas Eve an email dropped in with the nice news that my image “Mother Africa” had been selected again … this time for a “Bronze” award in the ’22 Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) Fine Art category.

So pleased that this work has gained attention. To be accurate the making of this image (in a friends little basic shed studio) engendered a lot of emotion … and tears.  My subject, the delightful currently Australia based  African American Aurora Coulter,  knew the ‘look’ that would make the photograph ‘work’ at depicting the historical … (and still current when you take into consideration the death of black man George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers etc) … treatment of her forebears in the US. Aurora dug into the depths of past memories and experiences for this image … and for that I’m so grateful. Her emotion made it ‘work’.

“Mother Africa” has been selected previously in other awards since it was made in January earlier this (nearly over) year … the International Portrait Photographer of the Year, The Pollux Awards, the International Photography Awards (IPA), Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA), Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), the Percival Portrait Prize … and … another arguably more prestigious prize that I am not at liberty yet to tell anyone about 🙂

Once again Aurora … the very biggest Thanks … !

Image © Brian Cassey

Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) 2022 - WINNER - Bronze Award - Fine Art - image by Brian Cassey

The Good News … but … The Saddest News Of All …

I confess … it’s hard to write this one … (but please read on … )

Two women … one young and vibrant … the other a little older but with an immense strength … two very different stories. 

The link … apart from a little similarity of pose etc … is that both have just been announced as Winners of Bronze Awards in the Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA – Hungary). images ©Brian Cassey

The saddest and must unfair news is that Carol (“The Skin I’m In” – first pic) died last weekend at the end of a far too short life full of tragedy, pain and many triumphs of will  … on the very day these awards were announced. Carol was severely burnt in a house fire as a young mum. Her family was told she would not survive. Following a year of coma, countless skin grafts and care … survive she did. She made the most of it … 

She dedicated the years since the accident to spreading the message to other burns survivors that there is still much to live for and celebrate. Carol’s rationale in allowing me to make personal images of her showing the extent of the burns to her body was part of that ideal. The work … and the positive reaction to the work … gave Carol added confidence to engage in speaking engagements that provided hope to many.

My images of Carol turned up in numerous awards, news articles and TV programs … and there are links to many on my blog pages. Amongst them are … “They Did It … Pics In Space X 3” which tells of Carol’s image (and two others of mine) being sent and projected in ‘Space’ and the resulting feature on the TV program “The Project” .  More on the subject here at “Pics in Space’ … Out of This World with ‘Portrait of Humanity” .  (The projection of Carol’s pic in ‘space’ and transmitted across the Universe … now seems very fitting.) There are many more and Carol’s images have been a regular occurrence on my ‘Awards Page’.

I spent more time talking to Carol than actually photographing her … she was my friend … myself and the community will sorely miss but never forget her.

… and then we have Bonn Marie … young, vibrant and all red hair, freckles and an innate curiosity with the World. She’s fun, deep and intelligent … and a joy to work with. Couldn’t help but name the second image “Bonn – Asking the Question”.

Somewhat strange that these two pics were recognised together with Bronze Awards … Carol’s in People Portrait and Bonn’s in Fine Art Portrait.

Images © Brian Cassey

Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA) 2020 - Bronze Award - People Portraits - "The Skin I'm In" by Brian Cassey

Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA) 2020 - Bronze Award - Fine Art Portraits - "Bonn - Asking The Question" by Brian Cassey


Moscow, Moscow, Moscow …

Pleased to have three images selected to each receive an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the just announced 2020 ‘Moscow International Foto Awards’. Especially pleasing is that all three are relatively ‘new’ images … two made in February and the other made in India last October.

It is the first ‘accolade’ for the portrait of Bonn … “Bonn Marie – Asking the Question” … made at a social gathering in the studio shed of fellow Cairns photographer Marc Steiner. It was Bonn’s first real time seriously in front of the camera … she’s a talented little red head and done very good ! (it’s also the first time one of my pics has been mentioned in a ‘Fine Art’ category.)

Kate … my subject in “Kate – Waiting for Her New Breasts” … is one of the very nicest and most resilient women I’ve met. To cut a long story short … Kate had a double mastectomy eight years ago after being diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and expected to have reconstructive surgery soon after. Thanks to the inadequacies of the hospital wait list system she is still waiting …

The image ran front page of the Queensland Sunday Mail and prompted the Queensland Health Minister to fast track her surgery … than along came covid-19. She’s still again (patiently) waiting …

This is the second mention for Kate’s image following it’s selection as a Finalist in the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize currently exhibiting at the Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville.

“Ramnami” is a image I made in Chhattisgarh, India whilst on a day off from covering the story of Indian coal mining giant Adani’s continued destruction of the Hasdeo Arand forest and it’s tribal Gond peoples. Maherttar Ram Tandon is member of the Hindu sect Ramnami Samaj and his entire body is covered with the tattooed text of their god रामराम – Ram Ram – making him one of the only five still surviving ’Naksikh’.

This image has also just been selected on the shortlist of the global and prestigious ‘Portrait of Humanity’ 2020 collection and will be, amongst other things, projected on a screen in the stratosphere and then transmitted as a digital binary file through space on a (possibly) never ending journey. More details about the Image and it’s space journey are here …

The Moscow International Foto Awards have become something of an annual habit and have clocked up a fair few mentions since the first win in 2014. Check through the years here if so inclined

Images © Brian Cassey


Moscow International Foto Awards 2020 - winning images by Brian Cassey x 3