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

Another Nine for ‘Collectors Print’ Shop …

… new month … more pics … have added NINE new images to the “Signed Collector Prints” collection on my new ‘Shop’ page.  They join eight other works available to buy as 18” X 12” signed prints … all made on archival matt photographic paper 18” on longest side, 12” on shortest side (457mm X 305mm) … and I whack my signature thingy on the front bottom right corner 🙂 .

The latest nine … (below, left to right, top to bottom) … ‘Train Journey – Sri Lanka – 2018’, ‘Singing in the Rain – Dire Straits – 1986’, ‘Palm Island – 2007’, ‘Huli Maiden – Tari PNG – 1987’, ‘Manus – Bismarck Sea – 2016’, ‘Number 55 – 2015’, ‘Jodhpur Wedding Party – 2011’, ‘Two Up – 1987’ and ‘Beef Barons – 2015’ … bring the number of “Signed Collector Prints” currently on offer to 17 … and more will be added periodically.

To take a look and place an order just go to … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/shop/category/prints/

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

Clarion Awards … Thank You Neal Family of Yarrabah …

… a great night at the Queensland Clarion Awards in Brisbane on the weekend.

The ‘Clarions’ are the annual awards for Queenslands media fraternity hosted my the MEAA (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) and, in their own words, “recognise excellence, independence, innovation and originality in storytelling and distinctive reporting. This can be through research and investigations, well-crafted and innovative presentations, news-breaking single stories or features, and engaging, entertaining and/or informative reporting.” (They also recognise the work of us ‘photographers’ too 😉 !)

Was very happy to be the recipient of both the major photography awards … ‘Best News Photograph’ for “Voices –  100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” … and … ‘Best Photographic Essay’ for “The Voice – Alf Neal OAM at 100”. Gratifyingly, it’s the third year in a row that I’ve been selected as winner of the Best Essay … puts the pressure on somewhat for next year.

I must greatly sincerely thank the Neal family of Yarrabah for allowing me to document the last days of the wonderful and distinguished legend and gentleman that was Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM (in particular the help from Alf’s son Percy … Thank You Percy). I’ve written much on Alf’s life here previously

I hope I have given a wonderful man the respect (and memories for his family) that he deserves. Miss you Alf.

It was also very nice to read the comments on my works by the judges …

Voices – 100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM’ by Brian Cassey is in a class of its own and a standout news picture. From the story to the access to the execution, Brian nailed the image and while doing so told an important story. Alf’s life was dedicated to activism and this poignant portrait raises hopes that the changes he didn’t live to witness in his lifetime will come to fruition to better the future of his great great grandson, Kailan. Well done Brian, we hope to one day see this image hanging at the National Portrait Gallery!

‘The Voice – Alf Neal OAM at 100′ by Brian Cassey ticked everyone of the criteria for this category for me. The story, ‘The Voice’, is in the news most days. Brian Cassey developed and nurtured a relationship with the subject. He focused on one man to tell a more complicated story. He was trusted, which gave him access at a very sensitive time for this community. His research allowed a depth to his storytelling. The images and words reflect one another adding great depth to the coverage. His essay tells the story very well. It is beautifully photographed.

Of course … the Clarion Awards are also a great opportunity to visit the big city and catch up with the many photographer and journalist friends and colleagues that aren’t fortunate enough to live and work in the Tropics ;-). Thanks MEAA.

Below I’ve added just a few pics from the winning essay … if you fancy, the complete essay set of twelve images may be found on my web site at … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

Images © Brian Cassey of Alf, his funeral at Yarrabah and interment at Ngarrabullgan (Mt Mulligan) … Tweets (orX’s) by MEAA

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

8th Year … Trinity Bay High Student Portrait Prize …

This past week I once again had the delightful task of judging the works of Trinity Bay High School students in their annual Photographic Portrait Prize … and presenting the awards for the eighth year in a row.

Yearly, I’ve been amazed by the quality of photographic portraiture produced by the students … some barely in their teens. Looking back on my pictorial skills when their age, I would have been way down the bottom of class.

Having said that, this year when faced with over sixty quality portraits lining the Visual Arts walls, I was even more stunned. The collective students had really excelled and produced a ‘best ever’ portraiture exhibition.

Selecting the three winners was a daunting and lengthy task. In the end the overall winner boiled down to an almost impossible choice between two great portraits … neither of which would look out of place published in National Geographic magazine. Ultimately the self portrait ‘Window of Soul’ (top) by David-Paul Onakoy got the winning nod over ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’ (second from top) made by his mate David Mashengo … but only just !! The Congolese student pair both produced wonderfully constructed portraits that told a story. David-Paul took home the winners prize of a DSLR camera courtesy of sponsors Garricks Camera House.

Interestingly and in contrast to the previous couple of years … this years three winners all showed strong eye contact in their portraits, with the beautifully executed and literally eye-catching work by Sienna Stuart-Bennet of her friend Shakira, ‘Vision’, making up the top prized trio.

I could have easily awarded a dozen or so ‘Honourable Mentions’ but had to limit the decision to just three, coincidently all black and white portraits. The works of … Jade Gubb (titled ‘Dystopian Gremlin’ – great attitude and angle of view) … Noecocha Cowley (‘Mary’ – striking use of shadow) … and Mattie-Leigh Hanson (‘Seashore’ – beautifully constructed and composed), prevailed. Virgil Gill won the top prize amongst the school staff section for the work ‘Sunshine’ … whilst ‘Sweet 16’ by student Shirley Vue (bottom image) was chosen by popular vote as ‘Peoples Choice’.

Much praise must go to the dedicated Visual Arts teaching staff at the school who are fostering and moulding this amazing young photographic talent.

You can view all the TBHS students winning works from the past seven years by clicking here… 2022202120202019201820172016

See you all next year for number nine …

Images © The Student Artists … from top … David-Paul Onakoy, David Mashengo, Sienna Stuart-Bennet, Jade Gubb, Noecocha Cowley & Mattie-Leigh Hanson, Shirley Vue

“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 !)

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

More For The Awards Page …

… just about recovering from personal euphoria following my exhibition opening at the Court House Gallery and the Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize win (Thanks to all for your comments, likes etc etc !) … whilst in the meantime these items about some other very pleasant ‘recognitions’ and ‘mentions in dispatches’ have also arrived … for the record as follows …

Head On Portrait Prize Semi Finalist  … “The Yarrick Family of Kunhahaa” … screening at the Head On Portrait Prize exhibition now showing at Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Sydney.

Australian Photography Awards … Two Shortlisted in ‘Documentary’ … “The Yarrick Family of Kunhahaa” & “Tears For George Floyd – 8 Minutes & 46 Seconds”.  Winners will be announced over the five days between November 29th and December 3rd.

Fotonostrum International Portrait Award – ‘Jury’s Special Selection’ by Art Streiber – “Tears For George Floyd – 8 Minutes & 46 Seconds”, “Kate – Waiting For Her New Breasts II” & “The Yarrick Family Of Kunhanhaa”.

International Photography Awards (IPA) – Highly Commended X 2 – ‘People’ – “The Yarrick Family Of Kunhanhaa” – ‘Editorial’ – “Tears For George Floyd – 8 Minutes & 46 Seconds”.

Black & White Spider Awards 16th Edition – Finalist Nominee X 4 in ‘Silhouette’ – “Charlie & the Pandemic”, ‘Portrait’ – “Ramnami” & “The Skin I’m In II’, ‘Photojournalism’ – “Tears For George Floyd – 8 Minutes & 46 Seconds”.

Very pleased about that. The complete list of ‘Awards’ … (shameless self promotion) … can be found here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

Some will be aware that lots of these images (above) have been previously recognised in other awards and splashed around a lot lately … so … here’s two from the list (Black & White Spyder Awards) that havn’t 🙂 … for  “Charlie & the Pandemic” it’s a ‘first’ … and for “Ramnami” it’s a fourth gong (but I like it 😉  … below)

Images © Brian Cassey

Black & White Spyder Awards -Nominee - Silhouette - "Charlie & the Pandemic" by Brian Cassey

Black & White Spyder Awards - Nominee - Portrait - "Ramnami" by 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

PNG To Percival Prize …

Pleased that I made it back from an incredible Papua New Guinea gig on Friday morning … just in time to jump on a flight to Townsville for the opening eve ‘bash’ of the 2018 Percival Photographic Portrait Prize.

The ‘Percival’s’ are relatively new … a biennial prize now into it’s third edition. Despite it’s relative youth it has quickly grown into a worthwhile quality event attracting work from some of the best photographic portrait artists from around the country. A ten grand first prize has ensured that. It is run by the Townsville City Council and the exhibition of finalists work graces the clean crisp confines of the Pinnacles Gallery in Thuringowa.

Great to have two works on the walls of the finalist’s exhibition … as also did friends and photographer colleagues Jon Lewis, Peter Solness and Felicity Cole … whilst Rod McNicol and Glen O’Malley scored one apiece. Although there are one or two questionable works in the large expertly lit exhibition the overall standard of the majority is impressive, rivalling many other more notable prizes across the land. The City of Townsville Council also produces what has to be one of the best and most professional printed exhibition catalogues I have seen.

I havn’t previously mentioned my works that have been selected …  but can reveal that they are … “The Skin I’m In – II” of Carol Mayer (the same image that has graced the National Portrait Gallery and several other exhibition walls) … and “Mowisha from Jumbun” made in the indigenous township near Tully. Nothing new here I’m afraid …

The winner of the, not insubstantial, cash was Sydney’s Kellie Leczinska with her work “Mbathio, Marrickville”. The job of judging fell to Cherie McNair, Director and CEO, Australian Centre for Photography and Judy Annear, former Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Townsville Council should heartily and genuinely be congratulated for hosting this award and exhibition and for their support of the photographic arts. Would be wonderful to see Cairns do something similar …

The exhibition runs at the Pinnacles Gallery, 20 Village Boulevard, Thuringowa Central, Townsville, 10am to 5pm till the 15th July.

Below are images of my works on the gallery walls. (© Brian Cassey)

 

2018 Percival Photographic Portrait Prize - "Mowisha from Jumbun" - by Brian Cassey

2018 Percival Photographic Portrait Prize - "The Skin I'm In - II" - by Brian Cassey

 

 

Rural Press Awards … there is a free lunch …

… but I won’t be there for it!

Was invited to a free lunch tomorrow at The Tattersall’s Club in Brisbane for the presentation of this year’s  “Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards” … but sadly can’t take it up.

Seems my image of young indigenous girl “Mowisha from Jumbun” has been selected as the Winner of the ‘Excellence in Rural Photography – People’ award. The pic was made whilst I was working in the Jumbun aboriginal community in the Murray River valley near Tully, North Queensland for an SBS story “The Town at the End of the Road” by Mark White.

Jumbun residents, like little Mowisha, are predominantly from the Girrimay and Dyirbal Aboriginal clans. Her community of about a hundred are battling the controlling Indigenous Land Council to resurrect a farming industry. The 200ha Jumbun property is still listed on the ILC’s books as Jumbun Farm, despite nothing currently being grown there by its residents. That wasn’t always the case. Jumbun was founded in 1975 as a farming community under the Whitlam government, By the 1980s it was growing produce including bananas, pumpkins and zucchinis and exporting to Sydney and Melbourne. However, changes in farming practices, crop blight and cyclones meant the industry dried up.

Residents are desperate to revive the community’s fortunes but have received no support from the ILC to help them restart farming produce and running cattle. The community needs to produce to stave off the prospect of disappearing completely. For little Mowisha Jumbun is her home, history and possible employment … but without farming the future of her community is, indeed, bleak.

This was the first time that I’ve won anything whilst working for SBS … but hopefully not the last. Gratifyingly, this is the third year in a row that I’ve been named the ‘People’ category winner (here … are this year 20182017, 2016). Don’t know if I can keep that one up …!

Below – the Winning “Mowisha from Jumbun’ image – © Brian Cassey

Press Excellence in Rural Journalism Awards- Brisbane - People category - Winner - "Mowisha from Jumbun" by Brian Cassey

Some B&W Success …

Can’t say that I’ve ever entered a Black & White photography specific award in the past … but when I noticed that Monovisions Black and White Photography Magazine was hosting their ‘First Edition’ (inaugural) Monovisions B&W International Photography Awards … I thought … what the hell … why not give it a bash!

I have just had some news today from Monovisions … and I’m a little pleased I did.

Appears I have three dispatches from the awards … winning a Second place and two Highly Commended awards in the Portrait category.

A B&W edition of my ‘The Skin I’m In – II” portrait (Thanks again due to my subject Carol … you’ve done it again!) was selected as Second Place Winner … only topped by the winning portrait work of Marco Gressler from Switzerland. Third place went to the work of Agnieszka Mac Uchman from Poland.

In fact such was the International flavour of the selected works that my two ‘Highly Commended’ images (“Mowisha from Jumbun” and “Aak Puul Ngantam Stockman – Dominic” …  below) sat amongst other acknowledged works from … Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, USA, the Netherlands, Croatia, France, China, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Slovakia, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Lithuania, Austria, Bangladesh, Qatar, Brazil, Kenya, Canada, Romania, India, Turkey, Portugal, Argentina … and Macau ! To also grab a ‘second’ from amongst all that lot is pretty satisfying.

To the ‘film purest’ I must point out that each of my three selected images started out as full colour digital image files … and not film !!  Sorry bout that …

Images © Brian Cassey … click on each to take you to their relevant Monovisions Photography Awards pages.

 

2017 Monovisions B&W Photography Awards - Portrait - "The Skin I'm In - II" - by Brian Cassey2017 Monovisions B&W Photography Awards - Portrait - "Mowisha from Jumbun" - by Brian Cassey

2017 Monovisions B&W Photography Awards - Portrait - "Aak Puul Ngnatam Stockman - Dominic" - by Brian Cassey

The Final Frame … Nikon F2 and AFP400TX …

Well that brought back memories …

Back when shooting film and you have one frame left on your roll of thirty six … and something too good to miss presents itself.

Thanks to Renato Repetto‘s excellent AFP400TX project (#AFP400TX, @AFP400TX – see my earlier post) I recently got to revisit that long forgotten scenario. As explained earlier the project aims to get a manual everything Nikon F2 loaded with just one 36 frame roll of Tri-X film into the hands of selected photographers around Australia … and from the resulting images compile capital city exhibitions and a book.

An admirable project that I’m very pleased to be a part of.

I took my turn with the beautiful F2 a couple of weeks ago. Renato has just received my processed images back from the project sponsors Rewind Photo Lab in NSW … and has allowed me to use one image to show you guys what’s going on. (The rest are a secret until the project culmination.)

Prior to making this particular image I had already shot a variety of scenarios and carefully used 35 of the precious 36 frames on the roll. Then I met Geoff …

… and Geoff had a story to tell.

An accomplished musician, Geoff Tozer has been told he is dying. He has been diagnosed with bowel, bladder, bone and advanced spinal cancer. But … he says … “I’m too busy to die”. Geoff told me he’s a friend of Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and accomplished in Wyman’s musicality. He is set to work on the soundtrack of a new movie on the short life of Stones member Brian Jones … possibly alongside musician legends Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Mick Fleetwood.

So … with just that one frame left on my project roll of film I was feeling a bit of pressure when I lined up the image and pressed the shutter to make Geoff’s portrait.

It was with some relief that I received the scanned image (below) from Renato last eve !

The AFP400TX Nikon F2 camera is now winging it’s way down to Victoria for Melbourne photographers Michael Coyne, Jesse Marlow, Tracey Nearmy, Barat Ali Batoor and Andrew Chapman to make their contribution.

Image © Brian Cassey

AFP400TX Project - "Too Busy To Die" by Brian Cassey Cairns Australia

Finalist in Martin Kantor Ballarat Tribute …

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale has been a fixture for Australian and International photographers and their audiences since 2005 … and the festival prides itself on “immersing the historic township in photographic art”. The 2017 program is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors during the month long festival from mid August.

This year they have also introduced an important new exhibit … the inaugural Ballarat International Foto Biennale Martin Kantor Prize … and I’m somewhat stoked to have been selected as one of the twenty eight Finalists.

The rationale of the prize is to recognise “portraiture of significant Australians” … and perhaps they don’t come much more ‘significant’ than my Finalist subject … Noel Pearson. I made the image of Noel whilst he was mesmerising an audience during one of his oratory triumphs at an indigenous convention in Port Douglas. The light was extremely low and the framing of the image was made ‘in camera’. (Image below)

I’m joined in the finalist selection but some of Australia’s very best photographic portraitists including George Fetting, Tamara Dean, Rod McNicol, Tobias Titz, Tony KearneyDavid Darcy  … and the prize is a fitting tribute to the late Martin Kantor. a photographer and philanthropist who was known for his arresting portraits of famous musicians and artists.

The Martin Kantor Prize exhibition runs for the length of the festival … 19th August to 17th September … at Ballarat Town Hall. The overall winner of the the $15,000 acquisitive prize will be announced at 2pm on the 20th August. Sadly I doubt if I will be able to get there to see it.

Image of Noel Pearson © Brian Cassey

Ballarat International Foto Biennale Martin Kantor Prize - 'Noel Pearson' - by BRIAN CASSEY

Bi ’16, Hi ’17 …

Thanks to Murray Young for pointing this out (I was across the other side of the planet so initially missed it) … great showing in the first publication of 2017 in the Sunday Mail, January 1.

The S Mail used my image of beaten asylum seeker Abdullatif Almoftaji across the entire front page cover of their photographic retrospective special … ‘2016 Pictures of the Year’ … which also included some mind blowing and soon to be, if not already, ‘iconic’ (for want of a better term) images … including Cameron Spencer’s Getty image of Usain BoltBurhan Ozbilici’s startling AP image of Mevlut Mert Altintas after murdering Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, Jonathan Bachman’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ Baton Rouge protest pic of leshia Evans … and Mahmoud Raslan’s haunting image of 5 year old Syrian child Omran Daqneesh in Aleppo. All images that will go down in history.

Real Chuffed to have my image part of such an amazing collection.

My pic of beaten 20 year old Iraqi asylum seeker Abdullatif was made at the Manus Island Papua New Guinea police watch house during a visit to document the island’s detainees. In December it was recognised as the winner of the Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize for 2016.

Below is a grab of the January 1st three page Sunday Mail special ‘In the Frame – Pictures of the Year’ (Abdullatif image © Brian Cassey)

Pictures of the Year 2016 - Abdulaftif Almoftaji - Manus Island by Brian Cassey

Pictures of the Year 2016 - Abdulaftif Almoftaji - Manus Island by Brian Cassey

 

National Portrait Gallery … Yes …

I’m not allowed to give you much in the way of details about this yet … sworn to secrecy … but may I say that I’m absolutely stoked to learn the news that an (unnamed at the moment) image of mine has been selected as a Finalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘National Photographic Portrait Prize’ for 2017 … !

Apparently close to three thousand entries were received for this years awards … and it’s great to make the finalist cut.

Nice to add the NPPP to the other finalist awards over the last few months … the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize, the Bowness Photography Prize, the Contemporary Landscapes in Photography (CLIP) Awards … along with a second place in the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), two wins in the Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) … and a much appreciated Win in the Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize.

I feel a very fortunate fellow right now … 🙂

All ‘National Photographic Portrait Prize’ finalist and winning works will be revealed at the opening of the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Canberra, ACT on the 31st March. (Note to self … must book flights …) There’s a prize of $25,000 at stake for the creator of the most outstanding photographic portrait. This year there will also be prizes for Highly Commended as well an Art Handlers’ Award and People’s Choice Award.  The exhibition will run till the 18th June before touring to the Blue Mountains, Mornington Peninsula, Western Sydney, and Devonport, with also the possibility of a fifth venue being added.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

 

Sensational Walkley’s …

What a night … and a what a result … !

The 2016 Walkley Awards on Friday eve at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre heralded an historic ‘first’ … the mega talented and great guy photojournalist Andrew Quilty the first photographer to ever take out the biggest prize – the ‘Gold Walkley’.

Nobody deserves it more …

Andrew is totally dedicated to his craft and gave away a job at Fairfax to move to Afghanistan as a freelance. His work is extraordinary.

I was fortunate – by way of my Nikon-Walkley Portrait win – to be seated at the same table 55 as Andrew on Friday eve … along with the incredibly legendary war photojournalist Tim Page and partner Marianna Harris, Walkley advisory board member and photographer Michael Amendolia, prolific photography journalist Alison Steven-Taylor (‘Photojournalism Now’), my Cairns photographer mate Marc McCormack and Mrs Sandra, Tanie Harris Sansey … and Andrew’s delightful mum Ann.

Definitely the best table of the night !

Before the evenings events commenced Andrew had already bagged the Nikon-Walkley ‘Photo of the Year’ award … and soon added the ‘News Photo’ award … before thrilling the scores of media photographers – and everyone else in the room  – with the final award of the night – the ‘Gold Walkley’. Magic …

A absolute pleasure to chat with Tim … and delighted that he suggested we swap prints … my Portrait Prize pic for one of his amazing historic combat images. Pretty stoked about that …

The rest of the Nikon-Walkley photography awards were also ‘spot on’ … with Alex Coppel taking out ‘Press Photographer of the Year’, Cameron Spencer the ‘Sports Photography’ award and David Maurice Smith the ‘Feature/Photographic Essay’ award … all against some amazing ‘Finalist’ opposition.

Well done Walkley’s and Nikon … truly memorable !

Below is top … Tim Page watching the announcement of my ‘Nikon-Walkley Portrait Prize’ win from our table … and below … the older PJ legend Tim chats with the newer legend Andrew Quilty after his ‘Gold Walkley’ win.

Images © Brian Cassey 2016

2016 Walkley Awards - Nikon-Walkley Awards - Gold Walkley, Andrew Quilty - Portraiture, Brian Cassey

Walkley Awards 2016 - Nikon-Walkley Awards - Winner Gold Walkley, Andrew Quilty - Portraiture, Brian Cassey

Something Completely Different … ‘Blunt’ …

Tenth Anniversary ‘Blunt’ – ten years since Cairns artists Dominic Johns and Roland Nancarrow created “The Blunt Edge of Portraiture” in a light hearted nod to established portrait prizes … the Archibald and Moran Prizes.

Embraced by Cairns artists of many creative mediums, the invitational ‘Blunt’ has grown massively since inception. Each artist is challenged to create a portrait work that captures the essence of a fellow artist … and on Saturday eve nearly seventy portraits lined the walls of the homely Pink Phoenix Gallery for the tenth anniversary “Blunt of the Decade” celebration … and there is no celebration like a ‘Blunt’ celebration !

I was charged to create a work of young artist Fiona Price … who had her first exhibition ‘Eyes’ just a couple of years back (seems we have a fascination with eyes in common 🙂 ).

To match the unbridled creativity of Cairns artists I thought I’d better create something a little more ‘out of the box’ creatively than my usual work … and with the help of a very receptive Fiona put together my entry (below … full frame (top) and on the wall on Saturday at Pink Phoenix Gallery). Fiona gamely endured body paint and house paint … and the pain of paint in her eye. Thanks Fiona … !

This years big ‘Blunt’ winner was Jessica Roelofs for her portrait of fellow artist Suzi O’Malley.

Sadly … the ‘Blunt’ has outgrown the suburban Pink Phoenix Gallery … but 2017 might just possibly herald a new era of ‘Blunt’ at the wonderful and spacious Tanks Arts Centre. Bring it on …

UPDATE : Pleased to discover that my portrait (below) of Fiona has been selected in a “Best of Blunt” collection to be exhibitied at the ‘Flying Monkey Gallery’ in Sheridan Street Cairns from mid December through to January.

Images © Brian Cassey 2016

2016 Blunt Edge of Portraiture - 10th Anniversary - Portrait of Fiona Price by Brian Cassey

2016bluntblog1small

Front on Fairfax …

I certainly don’t do as much work for Fairfax publications as once I did (newspaper budgets across the board have sunk almost out of sight) but still get various odd commissions from The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and the The Australian Financial Review.

So it was a pleasant surprise to get a message from The Age pic ed Leigh Henningham with the news that one of my images was on their front page on Friday … and turns out it was also page 1 of the SMH. It’s been a while since a pic of mine has graced both major Fairfax newspaper front pages on the same day …

The pic of a surgeon who wished to remain anonymous (creating a little challenge) was made inside a hospital surgery several weeks ago.

Below is a pic of The Age newspaper page 1 … the layout in The Age is marginally better than the SMH … and The Age managed to spell my name correctly in the pic credit … doh !

Image © Brian Cassey

The Age, Sydney Morning Herald -page 1 - 23.09.2016 - image by Brian Cassey

Fostering Young Portrait Photographers …

I first clicked the shutter of a camera (two shillings and sixpence at Woolworths) at what would, in those good old days, have been considered a young age. The work produced was erratic and questionable … but I fluked the odd one or two that I was happy with.

This week I had the pleasure to be involved with scores of young photographers whose work at a similar age far outshines my earliest efforts. Along with fellow Cairns photographer Romy Bullerjahn, I was asked to judge and present prizes at the 2016 Trinity Bay High School Portrait Photography Prize.

I really didn’t know what to expect before walking into the schools gallery to select the winning portraits from about fifty entries … many of a quite startling quality. Picking winners was a difficult task for Romy and myself but we eventually settled on first, second, third and two highly commended (as well as two ‘staff’ prizes).

The story around 14 year old Matt Hastie’s selected winning portrait “Shades” is remarkable. Matt only picked up his first DSLR camera a month ago – a ‘loaner’ from the school inventory. Prior to that he had only made ‘phone’ pictures. His prize winning evocative image (below – top) was made during that first ever ‘proper photography assignment’.

Shell shocked and shy, Matt said he was ‘pretty happy’ to win and to be presented with the prize of his very own Canon DSLR courtesy of Garricks Camera House. He is now enthusiastic about his plan to choose Photo Imaging as an elective school subject from grade 10 … and maybe one day pursue a professional photography career.

Fractionally behind Matt’s work were images by students of a similar age or younger – Matilda Sail (2nd – year 7), Eden Cvetkovic, (3rd – year 11), Eliza Sail, (commended – Year 9) and Pagan Sutcliffe (commended – Year 11). Delon Clark took out the Peoples Choice Award.

When I was their age it was inconceivable for schools to teach photography. With the help of Trinity Bay Arts teachers Ian Whittaker, Sean Tooley and the Arts department staff and program, these young aspiring students have made great strides towards becoming the next generation of photographers and photographic artists.

Images – Top – Winner “Shades’ by Matthew Hastie © . Below – clockwise from top left – works by Matilda Sail © 2nd, Eden Cvetkovic © 3rd, Pagan Sutcliffe © HC, Eliza Sail © HC, Delon Clarke © Peoples Choice.

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize inner 2016 by Matthew Hastie - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity High School Portrait Prize 2016 place getters - judge Brian Cassey

Carol in Moscow … !

Real chuffed to learn overnight that my new and recent portrait of the amazin’, courageous and beautiful burns survivor Carol Mayer – entitled “The Skin I’m In” (below) – won a Second Place in the Portrait category of this years “Moscow International Foto Awards” (MIFA).

A buzz to once again be selected as a winner in the MIFA’s (last year it was a First Place in the ‘Moving Image’ category with the short film “Eyes – The Soul of a Photograph”) alongside much amazing photographic talent from around the planet. The MIFA’s this year attracted entries from a massive 85 countries. Some brilliant work listed amongst the winners this year … in particular … Mary F. Calvert and Michele Palazzo (USA), Sandra Hoyn and Tom Jacobi (Germany), Danillo Balducci (Italy), Younes Mohammad (Iraq), and Sergey Ponomarev (Russia) … and more.

I’m so, so grateful to Carol for fearlessly agreeing to pose as she did for me in this new portrait … I’ve had this image ‘in my head’ now for some time and it’s almost a relief to actually complete it and now be able to let it go. (It’s the second time that Carol has featured in the “Moscow International Foto Awards” … my portrait of Carol focused on her wonderful eyes from a few years back won an Honourable Mention in the 2014 ‘MIFA’ Portrait contest.)

“The Skin I’m In” … along with the other powerful winners work … will be shown at the Moscow Na Kashirke Gallery (Галерея “На Каширке”, Москва, ул.Ак.Миллионщикова, д.35, корп.5) from the 20th July till the 7th August.

Image © Brian Cassey 2016

"The Skin I'm In" - Carol Mayer Moscow International Foto ASwards - winner by Brian Cassey

 

Julie … “Disko Meri” … Found ! …

I mentioned in a post back in April – “Disko Meri Does It Again” – that I had been so far unable to let my Papua New Guinea bar girl subject Julie know about the success of her portrait in various photography events and awards around the planet over the last couple of years … Sydney (Head On Portrait Prize) and Cairns (QMMA Awards) Australia, New York City (Photoville 2015), Moscow (MIFA), Hyderabad India (Head On) and the ‘International Color Awards’ to name but a few.

I made the image at the Diamond Club in a not too salubrious part of Port Moresby. The club does not have a telephone or internet presence and it was impossible to contact her.

So … during a nights stopover in Port Moresby on my way to Manus Island a few weeks ago I dropped into the Diamond Club armed with a print and accompanied by PNG friends Margo and Raymond. At first it seemed that Julie would never know as we were told she no longer works at Diamonds. Fortunately someone found her brother in law who was in the club that eve and he offered to jump in a taxi (at our expense) and go and pick her up.

About an hour later a very bemused and rattled Julie arrived and was presented with a large print and told of her World wide fame. Julie explained that she was no longer working and was now a (single) mother of twins!

In the two years since I made the image Julie had changed from a confident up front bar girl into a quieter softer more lissome young mother of two baby boys. She said she was going to give the print to her mum …

Below is a pic © Raymond Nugent (Thanks Raymond) … of Julie in the Diamond Club with her print.

Disko Meri - Julie - Diamond Club - PNG - Print - Brian Cassey

 

“Disko Meri” Does It Again …

“Disko Meri” – an image I made of nightclub bar girl Julie in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – has been recognised yet again, taking out an “Honourable Mention” in the ‘Portrait’ category of the prestigious “9th International Color Awards”.

The planet wide annual photography awards bill themselves as “The World’s most watched photo show” and all winners were announced in a four and a half hour live streaming online event. Must admit I missed that bit …

“Disko Meri” has received quite a bit of attention over the past year or so … and previously was recognised in the ‘Head On Portrait Prize’, the ‘Moscow International Foto Awards’ (MIFA) and the ‘Queensland Multi Media Awards’.

Sadly … I have not been able to thank my subject Julie personally so far. The bar where she works in Port Moresby does not have either a phone number or internet presence. I intend on my next visit to Port Moresby to make it a priority to visit her again at the ‘Diamond Club’ to thank her and present her with a print … the very least I can do.

Below … and at the risk of boring you with it again … is the portrait of Julie – “Disko Meri”

Image © Brian Cassey

"DISKO MERI - PNG Bar Girl" - Honorable Mention 9th International Color Awards - Brian Cassey