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

Winning Portraits By Trinity Bay HS Students …

Once again … for the fourth year … had the pleasure last week of judging the work of photography students at the Trinity Bay High School Cairns annual portrait photography prize.

This year the exhibition walls at the school were covered in around seventy works … significantly more than previous years … made by students from grades 7 through to 12. For the first time more than one major prize was on offer … an overall ‘Best in Show’ and Junior (grades 7 to 10) and Senior (grades 11 and 12) Winners prizes.

‘Best in Show’ was a ‘no brainer’ … Lou Vang’s brilliant and highly technical portrait “True Self” (top below) demanded your attention with a mesmerising stare which followed you around the room. Lou focused critically on the most important point of the image … the eyes. A portrait that would stand on it’s own anywhere. Lou was awarded a Nikon D3500 courtesy of Garricks Camera House.

The Junior and Senior prizes, however, were a lot harder to decide upon. Following a fair bit of agonising I settled on the Junior winner … Kelli Baker’s creative “Fragmented” (bottom below) just getting the nod over Holly Koch’s dark brooding “Arinar in Shadow” (second from top below). The Senior decision was just as difficult but eventually settled on Marcus Pedro’s “Time to Destroy” (right – third from top) over Kayla Allan’s “Kales” (left – third from top).

Two others received ‘Highly Commended’ awards … Georgia Willis for “Windswept” in the Juniors and Tarik Clarke for “Denied” in the Seniors. Visitors to the exhibition voted “Saturated Vibrance” by Chantelle as the ‘Peoples Choice’ winner.

Another great exhibition by photography students at Trinity Bay … and a testament to the quality of the arts and photography teaching staff of Dan, Jim, Nina, Ian et al. Refreshing to see this dedication to the photographic arts.

Links to previous years winners and works can be found here … 2018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the artists … Lou Vang, Holly Koch, Kayla Allan, Marcus Pedro and Kelli Baker.

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winner - Mugshot by Lou Vang

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Arinar in Shadow by Holly Koch

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Images by Kayla Allan and Marcus Pedro

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Junior Winner - Fragmented by Kelli Baker