Image © Forrest Beasley-Birch
Congratulations to all winners, finalists and shortlisted entrants. We truly feel that this year is our strongest, most diverse gallery yet and that everybody who took part in APA 2021 should feel proud of their achievement. We want to thank each one of our entrants for being a part of APA 2021.
Portrait Category Winner
Congratulations to Lily Hatten, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Portrait Category. Each year this category continues to push the boundaries of what a portrait can be.
As our portrait committee considered Lily’s photograph, we saw an image of motherhood which transcends the individual and speaks of a collective experience. Historically our society has viewed motherhood through a narrow lens. Our committee felt that Lily’s image expanded upon this view in a simple, yet effective manner. As our society attempts to better understand parenthood, Lily’s photograph tenderly depicts this complex human narrative, encompassing both love and uncertainty.
We would also like to congratulate Su Cassiano and Forrest Beasley-Birch, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 2021 finalists in this year’s Portrait category
Landscape Category Winner
Congratulations to Emma Perry, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Landscape Category. The genre of landscape often presents to us the beautiful, exotic and awe inspiring. As our worlds have become smaller we see our community respond in imaginative and creative ways which is so exciting for us to witness.
Upon first glance, Emma’s photograph presents a banal and suburban scene, an image that feels like it could have been made in any Australian backyard. On deeper consideration we felt Emma’s image presented us with a contemporary landscape at odds with its romanticised colonial history. The image, humorous yet compelling, speaks of the layered histories within the Australian landscape and how we position ourselves within it.
We would also like to congratulate Deb Bonney and Chris Round, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Landscape category.
Documentary Category Winner
Congratulations to Janie Barrett, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Documentary Category.
When we think of documentary photography we often conjure up imagery of high tension and drama. Janie’s image reminds us that importance can also be found within the quieter moments, the scenes less celebrated. As we move throughout the photograph we recognise a testament to contemporary Australia, all contained within a single frame. Each interaction between the individuals provides us another layer and story. The plethora of expression and gesture leaves us with a sense of joy, a breath of fresh air amidst two long years of tribulation.
As organisers, we feel that images like this can often be overlooked. The candid and restrained way that Janie has approached making this photograph brings us into the picture authentically. Our 2021 committee felt there was a genuine and non-exploitative approach to Janie’s photograph which deserves to be recognised. It’s a photograph which promotes connection on many levels and leaves us with a sense of optimism.
We would also like to congratulate Katelyn Slyer and Mia Forrest, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Documentary category.
Wildlife / Animal Category Winner
Congratulations to Matthew Bagley, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Wildlife / Animal Category. Each year we look to our Wildlife / Animal category to teach us about our relationship with the natural world.
Matthew’s image so tenderly portrays the connection between human beings and our surrounding environment. The human hand balanced against the baby cuttlefish, so tiny in comparison, made us question the scale of our insurgence upon the world. This complex layer underpinning a heartfelt moment transformed our view of not only the scene at hand, but the enormity of our footprint against a fragile ecosystem. In spite of this, we feel that the image is one of hope, gesturing towards a future where our relationship with the natural world is one of careful collaboration, regardless of the scale of our difference.
We would also like to congratulate Hannah Le Leu and Christine Ward, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Wildlife / Animal category.
Open / Illustrative Category Winner
Kaede James Takamoto
Congratulations to Kaede James Takamoto, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Open / Illustrative Category. Each year this category continues to expand our understanding of what a photograph can be.
Kaede’s image speaks to ideas of identity in a simple yet nuanced way. Drawing upon design, photography and physical manipulation, Kaede transforms an Australian cultural symbol into an artwork which asks important questions about what it means to be Australian. By positioning the Japanese rising sun on a VB can, a symbol associated with antiquated ideas of anglo-Australian culture, the resulting image reads like a self-portrait, not only reflecting Kaede’s identity but the broader experience of multiculturalism.
We would also like to congratulate Rebecca Murray and Rebecca Croft, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Open / Illustrative category.
Student Category Winner
Congratulations to Rebecca Griffiths, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Student Category.
Rebecca’s image, titled Hidden Self, is an evocative artwork which combines portraiture with cameraless photography. The image presents us with a highly staged, theatrical portrait. Nothing in the photograph feels left to chance, the artwork is rich in detail with both direct referencing to ‘Hidden Self’ and layed with metaphors. What appears to be flower petals placed on the sitter’s eyes, for us, also references a butterfly, which draws links to notions of freedom, femininity and becoming.
Our committee felt a portrait like this can only be achieved through a collaborative framework, we felt this was central to the intimacy, vulnerability and trust needed to produce such a work. On deeper reflection our committee interpreted the piece as an invitation to reposition notions of formative gender, furthering an important conversation.
We would also like to congratulate EJ Hassan and Forrest Beasley-Birch, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Student category.
Junior Category Winner
Congratulations to Ruben Fino, winner of the 2021 Australian Photography Awards Junior Category. We are so thrilled to see this category grow in both strength and ideas each year. In 2021, for the first time in the history of the awards we had the pleasure of inviting junior photographers to join us on the committee.
When our committee viewed Ruben’s photograph we were immediately struck by the scene. It is a photograph which brings together atmosphere and dramatic lighting while remaining grounded in time, place and meaning. While street photography can skirt issues of ethics, we feel that Ruben’s approach communicated both dignity and respect.
Beyond the image, we were delighted to see Ruben applying critical ideas to the photograph, locating meaning in both the facemask and multiculturalism within Australia.
We would also like to congratulate Madeline Simmons and Ales Zib-Poole, recipients of Second and Third place respectively, as well as the other 20 finalists in this year’s Junior category.