Happenings in Perth, India … and the UK …

A lot of ‘goings on’ recently with exhibition openings in Perth, a rewarding ‘road trip’ in India, a bit of recognition from ‘Budapest’ … and an image on the walls at the Royal Photographic Society in England.

Travelled to Perth (and Fremantle) last month for two exhibition openings at two events … the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’ (FIPP) one week and the ‘IRIS Portrait Awards’ at the Perth Centre for Photography the next.

Satisfyingly, both included personal works  … ‘Tomotaro on the Block’ and ‘Generations- Aurukun’ in the ‘FIPP’ … and just ‘Generations – Aurukun’ in the ‘IRIS’. Both great opening eves … first time for me in the ‘IRIS’ collection, but third time in the mix for the ‘FIPP’. Nice also to have a good opportunity to spend a little time in the West and catch up with photographer colleagues Richard Wainwright, Roger Garwood, Johannes Reinhart, Peter Ramshaw and Justin Ma… and also sparkling Nikon rep Julie Kimpton.

From Perth it was four flights to Mumbai (including a quick overnight stopover in Little India Singapore) where I met up with friend and former photo editor at the Indian Express, director of Solaris Images … and all round good bloke Srienivas Akella. ‘Srini’ had organised flights for the two of us to Raipur in the state of Chhattisgarh where I had identified one story in particular that I was keen to work on.

Srini has extensive knowledge of his home country and had also searched out a few other possible pic stories to fill any ‘blanks’ in covering my main objective. As it turned out we managed three stories over six days … my main story (which stretched over three days and involved twenty four hours of driving through Chhattisgarh – all will be revealed when the story and pics are placed and published) … pics of two (apparently of five) of the surviving full body tattooed ‘Ramnami’ – a low caste sect that once endured having the name of their god Rama etched over their entire bodies … and a continuation of my earlier ‘Typewriter Wallahs’ pic essay (this time in the city of Raipur) on the men (and woman) of India who persist in working with (and repairing) ancient manual typewriters.

The weeks work culminated back in Mumbai on a big Diwali celebration night of fireworks, colour and food with Srini, his family and his very pleasant community. Thanks Srini !

Also received great news … an email from ‘Portrait Salon’ stating … “Dear Brian, We are delighted to tell you that our judge, Peter Dench, has selected the attached image (‘Tomotaro on the Block’ … yeah that one again) to be included in this year’s Portrait Salon selection. This year, ‘Portrait Salon’ will be exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol, from 21 – 28 November. It will then travel up to Harrogate to be part of the Photo North Festival, from 30 November – 2 December. The images will be presented both as a slideshow, and in print.”

Of course … I am stoked …

UK based ‘Portrait Salon’ is a sort of a ‘Salon des Refusés’ and solicits work that doesn’t make the winners cut of the monumental National Portrait Gallery (London) ‘Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize’ each year. Now in it’s 9th annual edition ‘Portrait Salon’ arguably shows more interesting work than the ‘Taylor Wessing’.

‘Tomotaro’ certainly has been good for me … as well as the ‘Portrait Salon’ and ‘FIPP’ mentioned above, it has also been recognised in the Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA), the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), The Australian Photography Awards (APA) and the 12th International Color Awards.

Not far behind, ‘Generations – Aurukun’ has featured in the ‘IRIS’ and ‘FIPP’ mentioned and also the 2019 Portrait of Humanity and The Australian Photography Awards (APA).

Also at the end of October both of these images were announced ‘Winners’ in their respective categories (Editorial Sports and People) in the inaugural 2019 Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA). Nice news to arrive home in Cairns to …

Images below © Brian Cassey … as follows from top … ‘Ramnami’ Maherttar Ram Tandon at his home in Churella Village, Chhattisgarh, India. Maherttar is covered all over his body with tattoos repeating the name of his God Rama … D. N. Verma amongst old manual typewriters that he is repairing at his Chhattisgarh Typewriter Works company in Raipur … my ‘Generations – Aurukun’ work at the ‘IRIS Awards‘, Perth Centre for Photography … ‘Tomotaro on the Block’ on the wall of the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’, Moore’s Gallery, Fremantle (the same pic as selected for the ‘Portrait Salon’ in the UK’) … ‘Generations – Aurukun’ at the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’, Moore’s Gallery, Fremantle.


'Ramnami' from Chhattisgarh, India - image © by Brian Cassey

D. N. Verma - typewriter technician and owner of Chhattisgarh Typewriter Works in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India - image © Brian Cassey

Image 'Generations - Aurukun' - finalist IRIS Awards, Perth Centre for Photography - © by Brian Cassey

'Tomotaro on the Block' 0 Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FIPP) - Finalist © Brian Cassey

'Generations - Aurukun' - Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FIPP) - Finalist © Brian Cassey


Silas & Rebecca … Now at the IRIS Awards …

Last post I related that two of my images have recently been selected as Finalists in the Fremantle International Portrait Prize

Now I have just learnt that one of the two has also been selected as a Finalist in the Perth Centre for Photography “IRIS Award” for portraiture … and that is bloody satisfying as it’s a ‘first’ for me.

Here’s how the IRIS Award describes itself … “The Award is an international prize recognising new and outstanding portraiture in photographic art. The criteria for selection focuses on portraits that are unique, compelling and engaging whilst maintaining excellence in photography. Concept, meaning and depth are equally as important as well executed work. Originality is essential and the award encourages work that is evocative and provocative and in some ways may be relevant to the current global cultural landscape.”

This year the award was judged by the highly esteemed and Internationally distributed GUP Magazine (Guide to Unique Photography) based in the Netherlands.

It seems this pic (below) met their criteria … “Generations – Aurukun” of Silas and Rebecca Wolmby and their great grand children. That in itself is rewarding, as the pic … originally made in 2016 during a News Ltd job in the Cape York indigenous township … thereafter languished forgotten and unloved in my archive until I again chanced upon it a few months ago. Since then it’s been around. The pic was Shortlisted and book published in the Magnum and British Journal of Photography ‘Portrait of Humanity’ project … and selected as a Finalist in the FIPP.

Very sadly, the wonderful gent Silas has since passed on. However, I hope to be travelling to Aurukun again in the near future and will make sure that Rebecca and the Wolmby family receive a big copy of the image.

The exhibition opening and prize announcement of the IRIS Award is on Friday 18th October at the Perth Centre for Photography Gallery, 357 Murray Street, Perth … just one week after the opening and prize announcement of the FIPP in Fremantle. WA friends … you are warned … 🙂

Image © Brian Cassey

IRIS Awards - Perth Centre for Photography - Finalist - "Generations - Aurukun' by Brian Cassey

‘On the Wall’ at Fremantle International …

Nice to learn that two of my images have been ‘short listed’ and selected as ‘Finalists’ in the bi-annual Fremantle International Portrait Prize. The two pics will be amongst the other ‘Finalists’ on the walls of the FIPP exhibition and vying for some tasty worthwhile prizes (courtesy of Nikon Australia and others) due to be announced on the opening eve at the historic Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery , Fremantle on the 12th of October.

A total of over seventeen hundred entries were received from around the planet … and the selected ‘Finalist’ works hail from as far afield as Croatia, Hungary, the UK, the USA, Indonesia, Vietnam … as well as from across Australia.

My two works selected are … ‘Tomotaro on the Block’ (a portrait of Japanese paralympic swimmer Tomotaro Nakamura which has been mentioned in dispatches a few times previously … here, here, here and here) … and ‘Generations Aurukun’ (a portrait of Aurukun elders Silas and Rebecca Wolmby with their great grand children Shalona and Keola Wolmby … which was also previously selected as a ‘Finalist’ in the massive World wide ‘Portrait of Humanity’ printed collection and awards).

I’ve attended the Fremantle International Portrait Prize exhibition opening and awards eve on a couple of occasions in the past in 2015 and 2013 … and it’s always a great well presented and thoroughly enjoyable event. Hoping I can make the trek across the continent for it again his year as well …

After the big bash opening eve the exhibition of the selected works will be open at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, 46 Henry St, Fremantle, from the 13th to the 27th October. I’m sure it will be very much worth a visit.

Proceeds from this years FIPP go to help the Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA Foundation and to the Kai Eardley Foundation for Youth Mental Health.

Below are my two selected ‘Finalist’ works … ‘Generations Aurukun’ and ‘Tomotaro the Block’ (images © Brian Cassey)

'Generations Aurukun' - Fin almost Fremantle Portrait Prize 2019 - image of Aurukun elders Silas and Rebecca Wolmby with their great grand children - Shalona and Keola Wolmby by Brian Cassey

"Tomotaro on the Block' - Finalist Fremantle International Portrait Prize 2019 - image by Brian Cassey

Fremantle Portrait Prize …

Had the pleasure on the weekend of being a guest at the opening eve of the ‘2013 Fremantle International Portrait Prize’ at the Moore’s Contemporary Art Gallery in … uuumm … Fremantle.

An excellent array of the finest examples of photographic portraiture, I was indeed fortunate to have two of my images amongst the 2013 collection – “Stockman” and “Carol – Burns Survivor”.

Enjoyed the evening’s events with photographic colleagues David Dare Parker, Richard Wainwright, Peter Ramshaw and others as we were entertained by a string quartet (nice touch!).

The exhibited work was of an exceptional standard and a testament to the organisers of the Prize which is in only it’s second year. Work from thirty countries around the Planet were amongst the entries which totalled near two thousand and, indeed, the winning photographer hailed from Croatia! The exhibition runs at Moore’s until September 1st. The next ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’ will be in 2015.

Below are pics of the Moore’s gallery space and my two images as they were hung – “Stockman” and “Carol – Burns Survivor” (©Brian Cassey).