Judging Trinity Bay High Portrait Prize 2021 …

A distinct pleasure … for the sixth year … to be invited to judge and present at the annual Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize for 2021.

It never ceases to amaze me the quality of portrait work that these talented teen students submit … and the passion and dedication shown by their tutors to foster that talent.

Another big year for student entries this year … the schools gallery space was crowded with some excellent portraiture. As always the case, several images stood out … the more difficult part was settling on a winner and the other prize winners.

The work of year eleven Patrick Rubambo student ‘No Face’ featuring Angelique Iradukunda … an evocative, creative, well executed, nicely composed and beautifully detailed and printed black and white portrait (top below) … left me no option but to declare it the Winner.

Patrick hails from Burundi in east central Africa and came to Australia in 2019. Now in his third year at Trinity Bay High, he has been studying Film, TV and Photography since inspired by what he saw on YouTube and Instagram. His mates seemed more excited than Patrick as he calmly accepted his prize …  a Nikon DSLR courtesy of Garricks Camera House.

Year 12 student Ipsa Bharti was selected as runner up for her beautifully lit portrait ‘Patter of my Mind’, year 11 Madi La Pira was not far behind with her candid approach to ‘EOTS’, whilst Abbey Wilson’s (year 12) creative ‘Ghost’ scored an Honourable Mention. (All shown below.)

Janelle Williams Head of the schools Visual Arts department, New Media teacher Luke Madsen, arts teacher Caroline Mudge and all others involved in fostering the students visual talents should be most gratified with the results.

You can find the winners images from previous years TBHS portrait prizes here … 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the students … (clockwise from top) … Patrick Rubambo, Ipsa Bharti, Madi La Pira and Abbey Wilson

Winner - Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 - 'No Face' by Patrick Rubambo - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 - 'Ghost' by Abbey Wilson (Commended) & ‘Pattern of my Mind’ by Ipsa Bharti (2nd Place)- judge Brian Cassey

3rd Place - Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 - 'EOTS by Made La Pira - judge Brian Cassey

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

Trinity Bay Portraits Excel …

Once again … for the third year … delighted to be asked to judge the annual Trinity Bay High School “Photographic Portrait Prize”.

Once again I was mightily impressed by the work of these talented photography students under the tutelage of the dedicated Trinity Bay visual arts teaching staff. The standard of entries this year exceeded the already high standard of previous years (2017 here and 2016 here)… and that made the judging decision making that much harder.

Eventually, I decided on a Winner, second, third and four highly commended … plus a couple of mentions for the seperate ‘staff’ prize.

Grade 12 student Lit Thao … who has a hearing and communication impairment … won third prize in last years Portrait Prize. There is no doubt that his visual communication skills are extraordinary. This year his image “Angry Man” stared out from amongst the other sixty odd works on the exhibition walls .. and dragged you in. I had little hesitation in awarding his work the winner of the Nikon D3400 DSLR prize sponsored by Garricks Camera House in Cairns.

Not far behind was the Mona Lisa-esque work of grade 11 student Kimberley Burns entitled “Portrait of Ruby”. In both these images the eyes of the subject seem to follow the viewer around the room.

Third place went to a more abstract, creative, but nonetheless intriguing work  … “Portrait of Livio” … by Greta Beluffi. Greta is also a grade 11 student.

Out of the four Highly Commended works I selected … Vika Latu’s “Nostalgia in August”, Madison Robinson’s “Truth Behind the Smile”, Laura Saavedra’s “In the South” and Elise Mcatamney’s “Untiled”… one deserves an extra special mention. Elise (her work is bottom below) is just a grade 7 student. Remarkably three works different from my selection tied for the “Peoples Choice” award.

If you are a Cairns resident and interested in our talented budding photo artists try and get along to the Photographic Prize  exhibition at Trinity Bay High School.

Below … from top … Winner – “Angry Man” by Lit Thao, Second – “Portrait of Ruby” by Kimberley Burns, Third – “Portrait of Livio” by Greta Beluffi, Highly Commended (1 of 4) – “Untitled” by Elise Macatamney (grade 7). Works © the individual artists.


2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Lit Tao - judged by Brian Cassey

2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Kimberly Burns - judged by Brian Cassey

2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Greta Beluffi - judged by Brian Cassey