It wasn’t the image that I would have anticipated to make the ‘Finalist’ selection of Australia’s richest photographic prize … (‘landscape’ isn’t my usual ‘thing’) … but … Thanks Moran … a loverly surprise and I’m more than happy to accept it 🙂 .
“Rain Over Black Mountain” was last week selected (from a field of over three thousand) as one of thirty ‘Finalist’ images to be exhibited in the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize 2019 at Juniper Hall, Paddington, Sydney … and vie for the first prize winners purse of $50K.
The image was made during a short late afternoon Cessna Caravan flight last May from Cairns to Cooktown on my way to a work assignment for Good to Great Schools in Hopevale. Black Mountain … known to Aborigines as “Kalkajaka” or loosely translated “Mountain of Death” … lies just south of the Cooktown township. (I toyed with a title for the image as “Rain Over the Mountain of Death” but that seemed somewhat overly dramatic 🙂 ).
A local aboriginal belief is that the black granite monolith is the result of the explosion when a chameleon like medicine man who had a taste for human flesh was struck by lightning leaving a massive pile of charred black rock. Aboriginals, apparently, don’t go there amid fears that those who do will not return … and there is evidence to support their apprehensions. It is said that the mountain has swallowed up prospectors, criminals on the run, policemen, native hikers, an entire Aboriginal tribe and a herd of cattle … and there are old records that seem to confirm some of those incidents. Whatever the truth Black Mountain is a dark foreboding place.
“Rain Over Black Mountain” was one of two images entered into this years Moran … and my fourth time as a Moran prize finalist. I initially thought my second entered work this year … “Tomotaro on the Block” … was more of a finals contender but it only made it as far as the semi finalist selection. However, in retrospect and despite being made in Cairns, it may be said that ‘Tomotaro on the Block” does lack some ‘Australian-ness-ness’ in an award that celebrates what it is that is ‘quintessentially Australian’. (‘Tomotaro’ has already picked up it’s fair share of accolades … here, here & here.)
The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize exhibition runs from the 4th May to 2nd June (as part of the ‘Head On Photo Festival’) … with the winners announcement and exhibition ‘opening’ on the 7th May. Expecting a great eve and an excellent opportunity to catch up with several friends/colleagues who have also been selected in the ‘Finalist’ mix. ( #MoranPrizes )
Image © Brian Cassey