International Color Awards … Two Thirds and More …

… great news on Sunday that TWO of my images have each been awarded “3rd Place Honor of Distinction” in the 17th edition of the “International Color Awards” … “Drying Saris on the Banks of the Ganges” in ‘Photojournalism’ … and … “George at the Bus Stop” in ‘Portrait’

Really, REALLY pleased about the ‘Saris’ image which I made in Varanasi on a totally memorable road trip journey through India with a couple of great photographer colleagues far too many years ago. It’s always been one of my personal favourite photographs, but this is the first time it has been recognised as something a little ‘special’. Thanks ICA !

Of course … it’s also very nice to see an image grabbed in just a minute or two whilst passing a Cairns bus stop one lunch time can mix it at the top end and also gain a 3rd Place Honor of Distinction. Thanks Dr George Skeene OAM !

Not to be forgotten, two more of my works also resonated … with “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” handed an Honorable Mention … and “Crocodile Hunter George Craig” a Finalist Nomination … both in the ‘Portrait’ category.

You may find the first, second and third placed winners (and Honorable Mentions) in ‘Photojournalism’ … here … https://photoshow.colorawards.com/winners.php?x=p&cid=590 … and ‘Portrait’ here … https://photoshow.colorawards.com/winners.php?x=p&cid=591 … and also nice to see young photojournalist and my 2023 Head On Photo Festival photojournalism talk co-presenter Mouneb Taim get one too !

Gotta be happy with that …  

Images © Brian Cassey

Triple in Percival Portrait Prize …

… in news this month … so pleased that all three of my entries in the Percival Portrait Prize were selected as ‘Finalists’.

The three works … “Last of the Trochus Divers – Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware” , “George at the Bus Stop – Dr George Skeene OAM” and “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” … all made the cut and will be exhibited on the beautiful walls of the historic Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville.

Overall winners of the fiscal prizes (in painting, photographic and student) will be announced at the exhibition opening eve event on the Saturday 22nd June . Sounds pretty good to me … the last one two years ago (with subject Aurora in tow as mentioned in a recent post) was highly enjoyable. 

It’s also the third time in a row that I have had all three entries selected as finalists in the prestigipus biennial awards. You may find the works here … 2024, 2022, 2020. In the 2018 edition … my first attempt … I made two entries and both were selected.

Townsville council really turns it on for the Percival opening eve at Perc Tucker on their mall … and I’ll definitely be making the trek to our southern neighbour for the night.

The exhibition will run until the 1st of September at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Corner of Flinders and Denham Streets, Townsville.

Thanks, of course, to my subjects … Albert, George and the sadly late Alf (Thanks Neal family !) Exceptional gentlemen All … 

Images © Brian Cassey

Shannon is Dying … Good Weekend …

Very pleased to see my image grace the cover of ‘Good Weekend’ magazine today … would be nicer if my portrait of terminal cancer patient Shannon Turner led to a story with, perhaps, a better ending.

Shannon Turner is dying … but is also part of something remarkable and ground breaking.
She is one of 35 patients to take part in Australia’s first approved clinical trial of potent
psychedelic drug therapy. 

Inside the magazine journalist Kate Cole-Adams tells at length a wonderful fascinating story about the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic drugs by Shannon and 34 terminally ill others involved in a pioneering treatment.

Kate’s story is a ‘must read’ …

In 2018 Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020 she was told that the cancer had metastasised into her left lung and she was given just a year to live.

At this point I’ll let ‘Good Weekend’ tell more in this ‘preview’ by editor Katrina Strickland on Instagram this morning …

“I’ve never much liked the idea of getting high. Call me a wowser – perhaps control freak is more accurate! – but the notion of losing control of my mind and actions has never held much appeal. Each to their own, I guess.⁠

That said, if I were facing imminent death due to terminal illness, I could see the appeal of getting high, in a safe setting, in a bid to unlock deeper levels of understanding and acceptance. This is what 35 patients signed up to do in a trailblazing clinical trial at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne that tested the use of psilocybin in terminally ill patients.⁠

⁠Their insights into the process are fascinating; so, too, the observation that Australia was lagging behind other major research nations in investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics before this. Now it’s leapfrogged to the front of the pack, with hospitals and clinicians around the globe eagerly awaiting the results. ⁠

⁠Terminally ill patients, no doubt, will also want to hear how effective psilocybin is.⁠”

Kate’s words … spread over four pages inside the magazine accompanied by more pictures … are far too good a read to ignore … and can be found here at … https://www.smh.com.au/national/shannon-is-terminally-ill-in-a-trailblazing-trial-she-took-a-white-pill-20240129-p5f0v1.html … (sadly requiring a subscription). If you can, may I suggest sourcing a ‘hard copy’ of todays The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age, to read the magazine and view the pics all in the better old fashioned way … ‘in print’.

My subject Shannon was an absolute delight … and the work tells a remarkable story with the greatest of respect … Thanks Shannon, Thanks Katrina, Thanks Kate … gratified to be just a small part of it …

Image © Brian Cassey

Bill, Michelle … & Cyclone Jasper …

“Forgotten in a Paradise Lost to Disaster” 

… that’s the headline The Australian used above my image of Bill and Michelle Dunn standing in the wreckage of their home, published earlier this week.

Their rural property at the tiny far north community of Degarra on the bank of the Bloomfield River Cape York, was not just flooded but scoured away by near 3 metres of rainfall over two days in the aftermath of Cyclone Jasper. 

The pic was used 5 columns across page 3 … (and if it wasn’t for the coronation of Australia’s Danish Queen would likely have been on page 1) … and is arguably the most moving and emotional image I’ve made for some time.

Bill (73) and Michelle (58 ) managed to escape the torrent with their lives as the waters rose “a foot every ten minutes” forcing them to swim out of their kitchen window. Using wound sheets Bill tied the couple to a tree but the flood waters grew too high. Fearing the worst they had to let go … and were swept by the rapidly rising waters to a higher tree where they sat for ten hours before being rescued by another local – their son – in a ‘tinnie’. 85 year old neighbour Ray Dark wasn’t so lucky … he was swept away and is believed to have drowned.

On Sunday … a month after the flood event … I choppered to Wujal Wujal and Degarra with Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr to meet and document the couple and hear their story.

Clearly still highly traumatised, Michelle didn’t want to go right up to the shattered and still saturated remains of the house where she had spent much of her life … “I can’t do it, I can’t do it” she said on the edge of tears. I did manage a few portraits with their house in the background amongst the wreckage and destruction … until Michelle broke down in tears and fell into Bill’s chest. This was one of my very last frames of the few made of Bill and Michelle together that day.

Degarra is still waiting for the ADF to arrive to help Bill, Michelle and the rest of the community start recovery and begin the rest of their now vastly different lives.

Was a very emotional day …

Image © Brian Cassey, (the bottom image is an emotional ‘crop’) … the page 3 image © The Australian

Young (and Old) Guns … The Australian …

… nice to be involved in an exclusive The Australian special on National gun registry and young (and old) gun shooters. The stories and pics ran over most of page 3 in today’s publication and centred on an imminent National Firearms Registry and the controversy over the legislation covering young shooters.

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon at a Mareeba Pistol Club obstacle shooting event talking and making images of the participants whose ages spanned from 12 to over 70 … all something new to me.

Although not yet published, my personal favourite image from that afternoon’s work was a portrait style grab of pistol packing 70 year old Torres Strait resident and experienced shooter Ian ‘Ging’ Butcher, ready to compete with his Infinity 38 SuperComp weapon … a gun with an over A$15000 price tag (top).

Second is the image that graced a large part of today’s The Australian page 3 … 12 year old Quinn Coates-Marnane … and third a screen grab of that page. Featured fourth is a portrait of already very experienced shooter 18 year old Bronte Matthews with hand on her Bul SAS 2 Ultimate racer 38mm Super pistol. Last is Quinn once again at the moment of firing a timed volley at a variety of static targets.

A different way to spend a Sunday afternoon … 

Images © Brian Cassey 

Two George’s … Albert … & Kowanyama … 20th Pollux Awards …

Excellent news that my image “George at the Bus Stop” was just selected as WINNER of the ‘20th Pollux International Photo Awards’ – People … whilst three other of my works received Honourable Mentions !

Very nice Result ! Thank You so much to all my wonderful subjects … 

Whilst the portrait of George Skeene OAM got the biggest nod … “The Last of the Trochus Divers” (Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware), “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” and the series “The People from the Place of Many Waters” (Kowanyama) all received Hon Mentions in the same ‘People’ category.

Winning images will be presented at an exhibition at the Fotonostrum Gallery, Barcelona, Spain in December 2024.

Gratifyingly, it’s the first award ‘recognitions’ for both “George at the Bus Stop” and “The Last of the Trochus Divers” … whilst it’s the second such for “George Craig – Crocodile Hunter” and “The People from the Place of Many Waters”. 

Wonder if I can get to Spain ? 🙂

20th Pollux Awards ‘WINNER’ & ‘Honourable Mentions’ X 3  – ‘People ‘ … Images all © Brian Cassey @brian_cassey

Images © Brian Cassey

Dr George Skeene at “Burning Cane” … Sold

Still time to take in the work of the far norths best portrait artists across all mediums at the Crate 59 “Burning Cane” exhibition in Cairns. Now in its second year the exhibition consists of over 40 works of great portraiture and it’s certain to become an annual firm favourite.

Crate 59 was packed for the “Burning Cane” opening eve event back in September … and I was very happy to have a photographic work on the gallery wall. “George at the Bus Stop” is a pretty straight forward piece of portrait photography … in contrast to many of the innovative and creative painted, drawn and sculptured works … but nevertheless seemed to attract a lot of attention. The framed work was bought by a local art collector (not sure If I can mention his name) and it was nice to see the ‘Red Dot’.

The story of “George at the Bus Stop” is one of those serendipitous twists of fate … a couple of minutes chance encounter that you can read all about George and our meeting in a previous post here.

Dr George Skeene OAM was a gentleman in those few moments … and he is very definitely a scholar (hence the OAM 🙂 ).

If you havn’t been already, “Burning Cane” is still open to viewers for the next couple of weeks but hours are limited to when Billy’s Coffee is open … Monday to Thursday 6am to 12.30, Friday and Saturday 6am to 3pm. Grab yourself a strong dark cuppa and take a look at some great art …

Last day is Thursday October 12th.

Image © Brian Cassey … “George at the Bus Stop” at the “Burning Cane” exhibition – Dr George Skeene OAM

Mono Awards & “Alf at 100” …

Just quickly and not a biggie … but a little something to help keep the special memory of Alf Neal OAM alive …

This image below of Alf was from the last I made of the most significant aboriginal elder … one hundred year old Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM … before he quietly passed away in May. You may read the story of that last time I photographed Alf on his balcony of his home in Yarrabah … and the massive impact he made to indigenous Australia over his ten decades … here at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/images/2023/05/will-miss-you-alf-100/  … and here at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/publications/2023/04/alf-at-a-hundred-and-the-sunday-mail/ .

So … you may be able to see why I am so pleased to receive a “Highly Commended” recognition for Alf’s pic in the 2023 “Mono Awards” for black and white imagery. The image means a lot to me … and it’s nice to see that others have appreciated Alf and his story.

Meanwhile, another image I made of Alf the week of Alf’s one hundredth birthday last October … “100 Years & 3 Weeks” … has been quietly and consistently racking up awards … with another few announcements imminent. 

Image © Brian Cassey

“People From the Place of Many Waters” Lands in Paris …

Nice to receive the news recently that this set of portraits made in a little pop up studio during a workshop I hosted in the indigenous community of Kowanyama Cape York Peninsula late last year … “People From The Place of Many Waters” … was awarded an ‘Honorable Mention’ in ‘Portraiture – Series’ at this years prestigious “Le Prix De La Photographie De Paris” (Paris Photo Prize … PX3).

Many Thanks to the wonderful people of Kowanyama, Cape York Peninsula … the “People From The Place of Many Waters” . In particular my selection of subjects below from the hundreds of portraits made … David “Crow” Kitchener (top) – James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum (second from top) – Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress – Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley – Neville Henry – Zacchias Daniel – Arnold Possum – Charmaine Lawrence and Ruban Gibo … and all the many others who I portrayed during the program and workshop … and Tania Major who facilitated the visit for the RISE arts program.

In addition, another of my images … “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” (yeah that one again – see other posts) … was also selected for an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the same PX3 awards, portraiture singles category … a nice welcome double 😉 !

Images © Brian Cassey

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

Albert … the Last of the Trochus Divers … and CIAF …

Now 83 years old Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware began his career as a trochus diver deckhand at the age of fifteen. He is now one of just a handful of Torres Strait and Aboriginal survivors of the trochus and pearl shell industry that dominated the farm northern Australian economy in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Initially working trochus from small boats with a crew of four Albert eventually progressed to diving for pearl shell from larger lugger boats after the bottom fell out of the trochus market.

Albert still calls St Pauls on Moa Island in the Torres Strait ‘home ‘ despite his post seafaring exploits as a Cape York stockman and stints working on the railways and roads of far north Queensland.

A prolific story teller, Albert can bend your ears for hours with great humour and enthusiasm. One highlight of our conversations was this tale of the time he rode a whale. Diving for pearl shell at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone they came across a twelve metre hump back whale stranded in a lagoon. The whale has doing circles around the lagoon so Albert and his mate jumped in, hung onto the whale tail and went for a spin. (The whale was fine and escaped to freedom when the tide rose.)

I met Albert at the opening of “Lugger Bort” … a Cairns Indigenous Art Fair event at The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns. The brilliant exhibition curated by Nerelle Nicol focuses on “the working life of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islanders who worked the pearling, Beche-de-mer and trochus industries living on luggers in Far North Queensland” was a ‘must see’ but sadly ended yesterday, Sunday.

A pleasure to listen to Albert tell his stories and to make his portrait … and … as he told me … “The journey is still on”.

Image © Brian Cassey

“Alf” & “Potter” Win Pollux International Award …

… very welcome news  … TWO of my recent images combined to win the ‘People’ category of the “19th Pollux International Awards” … first time ‘recognitions’ for them both.

Always satisfying when ‘new’ pics get a bit of attention.

The images “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf” and “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” … below … are the two works that were jointly selected as the Winner of the ‘People’ category.

“100 Years & 3 Weeks” (bottom) features prominent Kuku Djungan elder and aboriginal and islander leader and activist Alf Neal and his three week old great great grandson Kailan Murgha at their Yarrabah home two days before the community celebration of Alf’s centenary.

Alf was a driving force in a decade long fight for the 1967 referendum which resulted in Indigenous peoples recognition in Australia’s Constitution. He was awarded ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community’ in 2019.

“Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” (top) features prominent Master Potter … Peter “Potter” Thompson … in his Kuranda rainforest studio ‘Five Treasures’ where he produces his imaginative Asian/Taoist inspired clay works fired in wood-fired kilns. 

“Potter” is something of a miracle having survived three heart attacks over his decades long career producing works that have graced galleries far and wide. The tattoo over his pace maker enhanced heart and chest states ’N F Resuscitare’ (‘Do Not Resuscitate’) and his blood group … a testament to his longevity and Impeccably wry and dry sense of humour.

Was also excellent to see US mate, Washington Post shooter and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Robinson Chavez get a mention in the ‘Documentary & Reportage’ category for his fantastic work in Ukraine.

The Pollux Awards have been awarding the best of the planets photographic works for near a couple of decades. 

Winners work will be exhibited, large scale, on the walls of the FotoNostrum Gallery in Barcelona, Spain in December later this year. (NB … I’ve had work exhibited in the Fotonostrum Gallery in Barcelona previously … back in 2021 with my portrait of Carol Mayer … “The Skin I’m In”. )

Pretty happy with that 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

 

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

415,000 Entries … 200+ countries … Sony World Photography …

Yes … you’ve likely seen this work before 🙂 (as recently as my last post here … sorry) … BUT … what IS new is that “Mother Africa – Aurora” has been selected (announced yesterday) in the ‘Shortlist’ of just fourteen images in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards for ‘Portraiture’. When you consider that this years Sony World wide awards attracted approximately four hundred and fifteen thousand entries from over two hundred countries, you’ll maybe understand why I’m pretty ‘chuffed’ and grateful that I can now show it again here in this context !

The fourteen short listed Open works in ‘Portraiture’ emanated from photographers around the planet  …  Denmark, the Philippines, Slovakia, USA, Angola, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria (2), Poland (2) and the UK (3) … (see complete list below). (You may notice that, unusually, Sony decided to put myself and my work in the UK column (place of birth) rather than the more common place of residence column (Aus) … very nice to be British again 😉 )

The Winners and short listed works from this years awards … arguably the Worlds largest and most prestigious … will be published as a collection in a hard cover book ‘Sony World Photography Awards 2023’, … whilst Winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at beautiful Somerset House in my old home town London from April 14 – May 1, 2023. (Hope my UK family can make it 😉 ).

“Mother Africa” was also short listed this month in “Portrait of Humanity” … a planet wide award and collection of photographic portraiture by the “British Journal of Photography” … and has also received major attention in several other International and Australian awards.

(NB … SO grateful to my subject, delightful African American Australian based Aurora Coulter … Thanks again ‘Rora’ !)

Image © Brian Cassey

Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.
Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.

Vol.5 … Portrait of Humanity

Very pleased with the announcement last eve … “Mother Africa” selected in the prestigious International “Portrait of Humanity 2023” awards ‘Shortlist’.   (Have known for a little while that the work “Mother Africa” featuring Aurora Coulter (below) was ‘Shortlisted’ but was sworn to secrecy till yesterdays official ‘announcement.)

Now in it’s 5th ‘edition’ and organised by the venerable highly respected British Journal of Photography 1854 … Portrait of Humanity has fast become one of the most select, yet largest, collections of contemporary portrait photography on the planet. 

“Mother Africa” will be amongst the other short listed works published in the “Portrait of Humanity 2023” hard cover book published by Hoxton Mini Press.

I was also stoked to be ’shortlisted’ in the first, second and fourth editions of POH over past years. First and second edition winning portraits … “Aurukun – Generations”, “Ramnami” and “The Skin I’m In” were exhibited ‘in space’ above the planet by Portrait of Humanity in a very creative exercise. Last year’s selected work in edition four was “Covid Vax & Ice Cream “ … a portrait of Leanna Bulmer after her Covid vaccination at Yarrabah. 

Many Thanks once again must go to my talented and delightful subject Aurora … making the picture was an emotional moment in our friend Marc’s ‘studio shed’ and Aurora really made it ‘work’.

The image is certainly racking up a nice little ‘collection’ 🙂 … check out previous recognitions for “Mother Africa” on my ‘Awards’ page at … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards .

 Image © Brian Cassey @brian_cassey @bjp1854 @portrait_of_humanity @1854_PoH @The British Journal of Photography

"Portrait of Humanity 2023" - Shortlisted and published in Portrait of Humanity 2023 by Hoxton Mini Press - "Mother Africa - Aurora" - Image by Brian Cassey

Kowanyama Portraits …

Every now and then a job turns up that’s … well … a little different. December saw one of those.

Former ‘Young Australian of the Year’ (2007) Tania Major contacted me and asked if I may like to host ‘portrait sessions’ and a workshop in her home township of Kowanyama on western Cape York just before Christmas. The idea … part of the RISE Arts Program … was to raise awareness of the possibilities of photographic portraiture in the indigenous community and provide any residents who ‘sat’ (or stood, leant or lay) with a timely portrait before Christmas. Nice idea …

So … I traveled to Kowanyama, set up a makeshift studio in the Kowanyama Arts & Culture Centre … and spent four days meeting and photographing the fabulous characters who arrived almost constantly. Elderly, young, very young and not so young …

It was not only great fun but also a truly positive and rewarding event.

The seven portraits I’ve selected here below are just a tiny proportion of the over three hundred I made during the program.

Thanks Tania ( @tanmajor ) … and to the Kowanyama residents for their wonderful hospitality and humour at what was a difficult time for the community (which I won’t go into here.)

Portraits left to right from top …

David “Crow” Kitchener … Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress … and … James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum … Zacchias Daniel … and … Neville Henry … Arnold Possum … and … Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley.

Images © Brian Cassey

 

Indigenous Portraits froid Kowanyama Workshop - December 2022 by Brian Cassey

 

 

Marilyn Monroe, Playboy Magazine … & Bonn …

… VERY much a departure from what I normally do … and for that matter … what I’ve ever done.

I admit … this image I produced may look somewhat ‘familiar’ to many of a certain ‘vintage’. However, I can assure you that it is brand new. The ‘polar opposite’ of photojournalism, documentary, reportage etc, it does, indeed, tell a timely story I wanted to tell.

The year 2022 marked the 60th anniversary of the death of arguably the planet’s greatest ever sex symbol … movie star and blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe. She died at just 36 …

There were many thousands of photographs made of Marilyn (Norma Jeane) during her stellar but far too short career as an actress, model, sometimes singer … and undeniable centre of massive unrelenting attention.

What I aimed to portray in this work was a recreation of ‘Marilyn’ in the vintage style of the days of the mid last century when she captivated audiences around the World … and in Cairns character and model Bonn Marie I knew I had just the person to make that happen. (Bonn had previously featured in one of my works that gained a fair bit of International attention.)

In particular … this image I made of Bonn (below) mirrors one of the works of US photographer Tom Kelley who had the enviable task of shooting Marilyn’s infamous ‘red velvet’ set in 1949 before her acting career took off (when she had red hair pre the ‘blond bombshell’ era). Strangely Tom’s image didn’t receive lavish attention until Hugh Hefner selected it for the first centrefold in the first ever edition of Playboy Magazine in 1953 !

I still can’t get over the fantastic job that Bonn (aided by the mastery of make up artist Sue Kim) did in morphing into Marilyn’s character and look … the resemblance is chilling. Despite the fact that I didn’t attempt to copy the original pose in Tom’s work directly … the similarities in body shape, pose, style, expression and more are obvious. Bonn created a damn fine Marilyn …

A couple of little interesting asides about the original Kelley image. Originally … pre Playboy … Marilyn faced right to left in the frame. Hefner decided to reverse it in the magazine centrefold … and that’s the way I made the ‘tribute’ image with Bonn. As well as making Hefner’s new magazine a massive success, Kelley’s image … an image of tastefulness and sophistication … became truly historic, played a key role in shaping 20th century history, led to a redefinition of female sexuality in America and spawned a sexual revolution.

This is the first time ever I’ve ‘remade’ an earlier image by another photographer … and I’m damn sure it will also be the last … but I do hope you enjoy the resulting work, Bonn’s amazing ‘Marilyn’ portrayal and the rationale behind retelling a pivotal and timely part of the Monroe story.

This “Marilyn” – Bonn large framed work (below) is currently pride of place on the wall in the exhibition “Red Hot” (and available for sale) at the Kite Gallery in Cairns. The exhibition of great works runs until 16th January 2023 and is well worth checking out.

Image © Brian Cassey … with subject Bonn Marie and hair, makeup Sue Kim … (with Thanks and acknowledgement to photographer Tom Kelley)

Tribute to Marilyn Monroe sixty years after her untimely death in 1962 .... Image by Brian Cassey © (with Bonn Marie) based on the 1949 'Red sheet' work by photographer Tom Kelley which became Marilyn's and Playboy Magazines first ever cenrefold. in the magazine's first edition in 1953.

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

“Do Not Resuscitate” … Peter Potter …

I’ve known the skills of Kuranda master ceramicist Peter “Potter” Thompson for some time … but up until a couple of weeks ago had never met him. I did try and arrange a portrait session with Peter a couple of years back but at the time he politely demurred.

Peter has been building his rainforest studio practice for 50 years and is amongst Australia’s most accomplished practitioners of wood-fired pottery, his cutting edge work gracing major galleries far and wide.

His workshop ‘Five Treasures’ is where he creates and fires his Orient inspired creations in expansive high temperature kilns fired by locally collected timber, following Taoist principles. His passion for each and every piece is obvious.

Peter’s outwardly quiet demeanour belies a no nonsense approach to both his work and his life … and he portrays an impeccably wry sense of humour.

The harshness of his work environment has impacted his health … and Peter has survived three heart attacks over the last twenty years. In true Peter style the tattoo above his heart (and pacemaker) means ‘Do Not Resuscitate’. Chemical emissions from the kiln firings have also impacted his lung capacity.

A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Peter by Ian Whittaker who has authored a book on his life and work. Peter showed me around his studio home, workshop and kilns as he earnestly talked about his magic pottery … and his upcoming hospital stay for yet another major operation.

Peter allowed me to make a series of portraits … and this one (below) I believe most accurately shows his complex character and environment as his life as a potter encircles him.

Thank You Peter … good luck with the latest operation.

Image © Brian Cassey

“Mother Africa” in International Photography Awards (IPA) …

Must admit … there was a lot of emotion entailed in making this image “Mother Africa”. Without getting too personal my captivating subject Aurora Coulter was heavily invested in the subject, history and experience of making this work. Aurora … normally vibrant and ebullient … dug deep into past personal experiences to channel the emotional plight of her African American forebears over the centuries. There were tears …

So … I’m delighted as much for Aurora as for myself that this work has been recognised several times around the planet … the latest being last weeks notification of an “Honourable Mention” in the ‘Portrait’ section of the 2022 International Photography Awards (IPA).

Over the last few months “Mother Africa” … made in January this year in a friends shed studio (Thanks Marc) … has also catalogued other mentions in … the 2022 Pollux Awards (Portrait – Honourable Mention), the Moscow International Foto Awards (People Culture – Bronze Award), the 2022 International Portrait Photographer of the Year (Published in IPPOTY Top 101 Portraits selection and book), the 2022 Percival Photographic Prize (Townsville – Finalist) and the 15th International Colour Awards (Portrait – Finalist).

Even later news (from just last eve) … “Mother Africa” will be one of the thirty works exhibited in an inaugural portraiture exhibition at the Crate 59 Gallery in Cairns.

“The Burning Cane Portrait Exhibition” (for portraiture in any medium made this year by Queensland artists) will open on the 4th of November and run for three weeks. “Mother Africa” will be there (very) large on the walls from the celebratory opening event … which, sadly, I will miss as I’ll be at the launch of the 2022 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. More on both of these events at a later date.

Image © Brian Cassey (and massive Thanks again Aurora !)

Judging School Students Portraiture at TBHS …

The years fly by … it seems almost yesterday that I was asked for the first time to judge the work of Trinity Bay High Schools photography class students. It was actually seven years ago in 2016 … and the students whose work was displayed in that years exhibition will now be well into their twenties.

This year I once again had the distinct pleasure of being asked to judge the schools annual photographic portrait prize … for the seventh year in a row.

Last week that judging took place followed by the announcement of winners and presentations …

There were a whole host of great portraits adorning the walls of the schools gallery that could have made it into the winners circle including (but not only) works by Axil Austin, Marie Johnson, Naomi Rubambo, Patrick Munguyiko and Prince Mashengo.

A very challenging decision this year … but after circling the gallery works on the wall many times …  with several breaks for rumination … i came up with these results (images below, counter clockwise from top) … Winner – ‘Bridezilla’ by Ali Talty , Second Place – ‘Mutesi’ by Angelique Iradukanda, Third Place – ‘Muslim Girl’ by Samita Khadka and Highly Commended – ‘The Deadly Clown’ by Mamta Bista. At bottom below is the work that was voted Peoples Choice by visitors to the exhibition … ‘Island Eyes’ by Peiwa Wamala  … and personally I’m glad they did :-).

Ali’s Winning work ‘Bridezilla’ was unmissable on the wall … a highly detailed image from a great quality file. It’s one of those images that you can’t stop looking around and searching for little details and making your own ‘interpretations’. (Still not one hundred percent about the title tho’ 😉 ). For her excellent wining work Ali was presented with a DSLR camera courtesy of sponsor Garricks Camera House, Cairns by teacher Ian Whittaker.

Angelique’s Second Place ‘Mutesi’ is a nicely put together classy, sophisticated work … nice interesting pose by the subject, displaying her to best effect.

An excellent quality image file and the use of great quality of the light and careful pose and composition used in Samita’s ‘Muslim Girl’ made it an exceptional work and a well deserved Third.

Some may feel that the selection of Mamta’s ‘The Deadly Clown’ may have been a ‘controversial’ decision. My take is that the almost abstract work is totally unmissable and unforgettable … some viewers remarked it was ‘very scary’. Great … if an image evokes emotion I’m all for it. I’ve seen the body of work that Mamta selected this image from … and it’s great creative work that deserved recognition.

The Trinity Bay teachers excelled this year with more entries in the ‘Staff Award’ than previous years … and my selection for best staff entry was a clever black and white work ‘Infinite Gambit’ by Kelly Nottle.

Over the years I’ve been constantly amazed by the work that these grade 12, 11 and younger students produce … and the work that that the teachers of the Visual Arts Faculty … this year Luke Madsen, Caroline Mudge and Clair Lloyd … nurture their students to produce.

Can’t wait for my eighth TBHS Photographic Portrait Prize next year …

You can find the previous winning images from the last six years of the TBHS portrait prize here …20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the students … (top four – counter clockwise from top) … ‘Bridezilla’ by Ali Talty, ‘Mutesi’ by Angelique Iradukanda, ‘Muslim Girl’ by Samita Khadka and ‘The Deadly Clown’ by Mamta Bista … (bottom) … ‘Island Eyes’ by Peiwa Wamala

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize 2022 - winner by Ali Talty - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize 2022 - 3rd and 2nd Place - Muslim Girl Samita Khadka_ Mutesi by Angelique - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize - Honourable - The Deadly Clown by Mamta Bista - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize - People's Choice - Island Eyes - Peiwa Wamala

 

‘Veronica’ Wins MIFA Gold …

But wait … there’s more !  Hot on the heels of the wonderful 2022 ‘International Portrait Photographer of the Year’ results … see the post on the 25th of June … has come the results from the 2022 ‘Moscow International Foto Awards’ (MIFA). (N.B – not political or warmongering in any way).

The great new news is my images picked up two gongs … a Winning shiny Gold in the ‘Editorial’ category and a Bronze in the ‘People’ category.

Really stoked to see ‘Veronica – Where Home Brew Kills’ … an image I made (top below) in Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria whilst covering the story of a dangerous home brew alcohol epidemic in the community … take out the Gold placement in Editorial & Environment. It’s the second time it’s caught the eye, winning an ‘Honourable Mention’ earlier this year in the 2022 17th Pollux Awards. (Will prepare a print for Veronica and her family and deliver to them when next I get to Mornington Island.)

Also in the MIFA mix was my portrait of the delightful African American Aurora (bottom of this post) entitled ‘Mother Africa’ which won a Bronze award in People/Culture. The aim of ‘Mother Africa’ was to represent the ill treatment of Aurora’s African forbears in the America’s over the centuries. The work is racking up a list of recognitions with previous selections in 2022 The Percival Portrait Prize, the 2022 International Color Awards and the 2022 International Portrait Photographer of the Year.

Huge Thanks to Veronica and Aurora … can’t do this stuff without wonderful subjects.

Without overdoing it … there’s a couple of more bits of good news coming … but I’m not allowed at this stage to share the details 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA) 2022 Winning images Gold Award - Editorial Environment - "Veronica - Where Home Brew Kills", Bronze Award - People Culture - "Mother Africa" by Brian Cassey

Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA) 2022 Winning images Gold Award - Editorial Environment - "Veronica - Where Home Brew Kills", Bronze Award - People Culture - "Mother Africa" by Brian Cassey

Walkley Awards … Nikon Portrait Prize Announcement … Sydney

It’s very short as I was too busy nattering to photographer mates and colleagues I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic, was hampered by a large glass of Shiraz in my hand whilst seated at the Nikon table and missed the start of the announcement. 🙂

However, below is a little vid of part of the announcement of my Nikon Portrait Prize win with the work “The Yarrick Family of Kunhanhaa” (my third win in this category in the last ten years) at the 2021 66th Walkley Awards presentation event at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Darling Harbour, Sydney last Friday eve. Click to play … and the sound is the best bit :-).

Three (New) Images Selected in Percival Portrait Prize …

Chuffed that three of my portraits are getting their FIRST award recognition after being selected yesterday (Friday) as Finalists in the bi-annual Percival Portrait Prize. They will be exhibited on the gracious walls of the historic Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville.

The award runs in conjunction with the Percival Painting Portrait Prize and attracts entries from around Australia and Internationally.

Nice to see these three more recent images selected … ‘Covid Vax & Ice Cream’ (top – Leanne at Yarrabah after her Covid vaccination),  ‘Mother Africa’ (centre – African American Aurora Coulter) and ‘Graham Elms – Legendary Larrikin’ (bottom) … all made in far north Queensland in the last few months.

‘Covid Vax & Ice Cream’ was made for a The Australian story on the door to door vaccination program in the indigenous community of Yarrabah. ‘Mother Africa’ … of Colorado USA raised African American Aurora Coulter …  was made to depict the historic plight of black Americans, an issue very close to Aurora’s heart. ‘Graham Elms – Legendary Larrikin’ was made for a Sunday Mail series on … well … ‘Larrikins’. Graham is your archetypal far north Queensland bad boy of old.

It’s now three ‘Percival’s’ in a row that I have had work selected to be exhibited … three works in 2018 hereand two in 2016 here

The winners of this years Percival Photographic Portrait Prize will be selected and announced at the exhibition opening at Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville on the 23rd April and will show till July 3rd.

Images © Brian Cassey

 

Walkley ‘Masterclass’ (and Walkley Presentation Eve) This Week … Hi Sydney !

Over the last couple of years since that damn virus reared it’s ugly knobbly profile, I’ve been trying to get back down to Sydney … each journey (five booked in all) very carefully planned to coincide with the ‘latest’ outbreak or lockdown. Missed out on several great events including two Head On Photo Festivals, a couple of exhibitions of my work … and the launch and exhibition of the ‘Paper Tigers’ Australian photojournalism project that I worked on with Moshe Rosenvzeig. It’s been a ‘bugger’ … (but, of course, a very minor inconvenience compared with those many more adversely effected by the pandemic.)

Don’t want to speak too soon … but Thanks to the Walkley Foundation (and Nikon Australia), in just a few days I’ll be winging my way to Sydney town to host a ‘Masterclass’ … ‘The Portrait & Photojournalism’ … and also attend the ‘delayed’ ’66th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism’ presentation night.

The invitation to my little talk about portraiture and photojournalism in Sydney came in the wake of my win in the Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize a couple of months back (see post here) with the image “The Yarrick Family of Kunhanhaa” … my third win in the prize in the last ten years and the reason for attending this years awards eve. The promo describes the event thus … “What makes a great portrait and when is a portrait photojournalism? Award-winning photojournalist Brian Cassey will discuss this question and the power of lighting, composition and how to achieve the best results. Plus the importance of building trust and rapport with your subject”.

So … it kicks off Thursday at high noon at Macleay College, Chippendale and will run for approximately two hours (no one will be allowed to fall asleep 🙂 ).

Next day … the Friday … the Walkley presentation eve event gets underway in Darling Harbour … really looking forward to that !

If  you are are in Sydney and fancy listening to me for a couple of hours you may book and find all the details of ‘The Portrait and Photojournalism’ event here … https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/masterclass-the-portrait-photojournalism-tickets-216702070727  … and in the image below.

Portrait here by Marc Steiner ©

 

 

The Portrait & Photojournalism - Walkley Masterclass by photographer Brian Cassey - Sydney Australia February 2022