The Portrait Photographers of Trinity Bay High School …

A pleasure once again to be faced with the task of judging the work of the extraordinary visual arts students at Trinity Bay High School in their annual photographic portrait prize. This is the fifth year I’ve had the privilege of being the arbiter of their collective efforts at portraiture. Would have to say that this years overall collection well exceeds the standards of the previous four years.

Although slightly down on numbers from last year (not surprisingly during a year when their school curriculum has been adversely impacted by Covid-19) approximately fifty portrait prints lined the walls at the Trinity Bay school.

Standout ‘Best in Show’ winner was a somewhat controversial exceptional image entitled ‘Dysthymia’ by grade 12 student Kayla Allan of her sister Keira. I must confess that that I was unfamiliar with the term ‘Dysthymia’ and had to look it up.

A form of clinical depression, dysthymia is from the Greek word meaning “bad state of mind” or “ill humour”. Symptoms include depressed mood, disturbed sleep, low energy, poor concentration, poor appetite, low self-esteem, and hopelessness.

Once seen, the image (top – below) doesn’t let you go … the irresistible eyes follow you around … and it vividly tells ‘a story’ commensurate with it’s title. I won’t forget the work … or the meaning of the word ‘Dysthymia’.

Kayla deservedly received a Nikon DSLR camera for her work courtesy of sponsor Garricks Camera House.

The Seniors Prize (for grades 11 and 12) went to Kelli Baker (grade 11) for an eerie self portrait ‘A Watery Veil’ (below – second from top). The Juniors Prize (grades 7 to 10) I awarded to Sam Williams (grade 10) for his equally atmospheric portrait entitled ‘Isolation’ of his mum Kylie (third row – right). Each were awarded vouchers to spend on photo kit at Garricks.

Also handed out several well deserved ‘Highly Commended’ awards to Juniors … Shaun McIntyre (grade 10) for ‘Thoughts’ of subject Layla Johnson (pensively looking remarkably like a young actress Genna Davis – below – bottom), Imogen Toohey (grade 7) for an ‘Untitled’ work … and Seniors … Madison Robinson (grade 11) for ‘Expectations’ (below – third row left), Chantelle Nolan (grade 12) for ‘Behind’ and Hanna Browning (grade 11) for ‘Secluded Minds’. (NB – My apologies to Hanna, Chantelle and Imogen – unable to present your work here due to ‘space’ issues.)

The visual arts teachers at Trinity Bay also deserve their own award for fostering these photographic talents amongst their student numbers. Again, a distinct pleasure to be involved.

Links to previous years winners and works can be found here … 20192018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the Artists … from top … Kayla Allan, Kelli Baker, Madison Robinson (left), Sam Willams (right), Shaun McIntyre.

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winner Kayla Allan - judged by Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winner Kelli Baker - judged by Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winners Madison Robinson & Sam Williams - judged by Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winner Shaun McIntyre - judged by Brian Cassey

Bowness Prize Night …

Great evening in Melbourne on Wednesday … “The Wilfred and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize” 2016 celebration night. Didn’t know what to expect at the ‘Bowness’ … never made it to the ‘Finalist’ stage before to find out. However, the inclusion of my image ‘Beef Barons’ in the shortlist this year gave me a reason to travel to the Monash Gallery of Art and experience one of Australia’s highest profile photography prizes.

The space given over to the ‘Bowness’ prize was cavernous. The wall space for displaying the Finalists works … some of them massive pieces … was immense. (I considered beforehand that my photograph was a reasonably large piece … but it was totally dwarfed by many others works. Note to self … remember if ever there is a ‘next time’).

This years prize judging panel was headed by legendary Australian film director, producer and screenwriter Fred Schepisi AO (a bit of a buzz to have your work selected by such an eminent ‘pictorialist’) ably assisted by photographer John Gollings and MGA Director Kallie Blauhorn.

The twenty five grand prize went to the largest work in the show … a striking landscape by Valerie Sparkes entitled “Prospero’s Island – North East 2016”. It could so easily have been any number of the fantastic shortlisted works displayed around the walls.

This years ‘Bowness Prize’ exhibition catalogue took a novel creative turn in the form of a box of ‘postcards’ of each of the Finalists work. Clever …

Below is the catalogue ‘postcard’ of my work ‘Beef Barons’ sitting (centre) amongst many of the other Finalists … and an image of ‘Beef Barons’ attracting a little attention on the exhibition wall.

Images © Brian Cassey and the individual photographers.

Bowness Photography Prize 2016 - Beef Barons - Brian Cassey

Bowness & Beef Barons …

The William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize‘ – (known more briefly as the ‘Bowness Photography Prize’) – was established just ten short years ago by the Monash Gallery of Art but has grown to be one of the most important … and lucrative … photography prizes in Australia. It is an ‘open’ prize and attracts all forms of photography with no thematic restrictions – and entries this year numbered nearly two and a half thousand from around six hundred artists.

So … to receive the email today from Bowness with the news that one of my images has been selected as a ‘Finalist’ was something of a shock and a buzz!

My ‘Beef Barons’ image –  of Daintree cattle farmers 71 year old Janice and husband 84 year old Keith Osborne – made the shortlist cut, along with a truly extraordinary collection of work by fellow finalists. (After checking out the rest I’m under no illusions that ‘Beef Barons’ will progress any further in the prize.)

I notice that two of my matey photographer colleagues – Stephen Dupont and Russell Shakespeare – are also ‘shortlisted’, but many others on the ‘list’ are unfamiliar to me which can only point to the wealth of photographic talent that abounds in this country.

The work of all finalists will show at the Monash Gallery of Art in Victoria from September 1st till October 16th – and the big night opening and award of the 25 grand prize money and other prizes will be on Wednesday September 7th.

‘Beef Barons’ is shown below … Thanks to my subjects Janice and Keith ! (The pic has already picked up an earlier win in a remarkably different prize – the ‘2016 Rural Press Club – Excellence in Rural Photography Award’ – and was originally published in the Courier Mail)

(Press Update – since the Bowness announcement various stories have been published about the work of the finalists – including this one at ‘The Creators Project’ which features eight of the shortlisted images including ‘Beef Barons’. Click here to view.)

UPDATE … 23rd July … this pic ran today in the ‘Weekend Australian Magazine’ as a double page spread in the weekly feature ‘Heart of the Nation’ … with a great story by Ross Bilton. You can read Ross’s revealing interview with charming cattle farmer Janice, and see the pic in larger format, at …

Image © Brian Cassey

Bowes Photography Prize 2016, Wilfred and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, Beef Barons, Finalist 2016 by Brian Cassey