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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Heather Corrigan

The lovely faces in my photograph are that of my best friends. Some I have only known for a couple of months, others for most of my life. For me, recreating a family portrait with individuals I love was supremely important. I was reconstructing a photo of people I cherish with people I adore.

McCaughey Street, Turner, 1959, 2012 by Heather Corrigan
McCaughey Street, Turner, 1959, 2012 by Heather Corrigan

How do you define your practice?
I consider myself a portrait photographer above anything else faces intrigue me.

Do you have a website or are you represented on a website?
heathercorrigan.net

How would you describe your relationship to the subject/s?
The lovely faces in my photograph are that of my best friends. Some I have only known for a couple of months, others for most of my life. For me, recreating a family portrait with individuals I love was supremely important. I was reconstructing a photo of people I cherish with people I adore.

Was the photograph a result of a constructed, fabricated or candid encounter? Please describe.
My photograph was very much a construction as it was a recreation of a family photograph from the 1950s found in my family photo album.

What are the ideas or themes underpinning your portrait?
This photograph was part of a series called 'Searching for the Family'. The series looked at nostalgia for a time in my family that I was not a part of, yet held so closely to myself. 'Searching for the Family' are reconstructions of certain photographs found in my family album dating back to the 1950s and 1960s that display the happy and joyous times in my family's past.

Please describe the technical aspects of your photograph?
The camera I used was a Nikon d90, 18-105mm lens. The lighting was a mixture of natural and artificial lighting. The only digital imaging processing I used was brightening the faces of the two front figures the rest was all in the camera. I try to avoid using Photoshop as much as possible in my photographs.

How was the final print made? Is this print one of an edition?
Printed on semi-gloss photo paper. There will be no edition.

Describe your consideration of scale, mounting and framing in the presentation of your portrait?
I wanted the framing for this series to be as minimal and invisible as possible, so sticking to plain white matte framing and a white matte board allowed the image to be the sole focus. I chose to print my photograph at an intimate size of 420mm x 297 mm, keeping the photograph small allows the audience to approach the work and truly inspect the fine details and momentarily feel part of this family.

Who would you nominate as your influences?
My grandfather has been a pivotal influence and inspiration both to me as a developing photography artist and towards my most recent work, 'Searching for the Family'. Having shared passion for photography and his deep love for our family, I would nominate him as my figure of most influence.

Do you have any advice for young photographers (eg. students)?
Any archive, whether it is a family archive or a historical archive, holds such important information about what has been. I would tell them to explore the unknown and discover things in the past. You would be surprised where inspiration can come from.

Related information

Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012 by Janelle Low
Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012 by Janelle Low
Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012 by Janelle Low
Yhonnie and Indiana, 2012 by Janelle Low

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2013

Previous exhibition, 2013

The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is selected from a national field of entries that reflect the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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