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Winner announced for National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019

22 February 2019

Greta In Her Kitchen, 36 weeks, 2018 by Alana Holmberg
Greta In Her Kitchen, 36 weeks, 2018 by Alana Holmberg

From an outstanding field of more than 3,000 entries, culminating in a shortlist of 39 exceptional finalists, the Winner and Highly Commended entries for this year’s National Photographic Portrait Prize have been named.

It is our pleasure to announce that the Winner for 2019 is Alana Holmberg for her portrait titled Greta in her Kitchen, 36 weeks. The Highly Commended has been awarded to Alex Vaughan for her portrait Sumbawa pride – life on a boat with eleven kids.

Sumbawa Pride - Life on a Boat With Eleven Kids, 2018 by Alex Vaughan

Dr Christopher Chapman, Senior Curator at the National Portrait Gallery and co-judge of this year’s Prize, said the portrait of Greta captures an intimate moment.

‘This unconventional portrait is quiet and contemplative. The judges agreed that a compelling portrait photograph could be one that conveys a reflective moment experienced by many. The quality of light, the composition of the image and the subtle communication of the narrative combine to create an inner world.’

Dr Chapman characterised the Highly Commended entry as a magical instant that conveys playfulness, barely-contained chaos, and a quiet moment between mother and child amidst an unruly young family.

‘The judges agreed that this is a joyous family portrait,’ he said. ‘Both images possess a cinematic quality.'

‘The judges felt strongly that both portraits allude to the ways in which family connections grow, and the photographs speak to the variety of experiences of motherhood.’

Ms Holmberg will receive a $30,000 cash prize and $22,000 worth of technical equipment courtesy of Canon.

Ms Vaughan will receive an EIZO monitor valued at over $3,000, courtesy of EIZO.

The Gallery awarded the Art Handlers’ Award earlier in the week to Elizabeth Looker for her portrait A Calm So Deep. Ms Looker received $2,000 cash thanks to IAS Fine Art Logistics, and return shipping of her artwork after the regional tour.

A Calm So Deep, 2018 by Elizabeth Looker

The People’s Choice voting opens on Saturday 23 February, with the victorious entry to be announced on Monday 25 March. The winner will receive a Broncolor Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit 2 valued at more than $7,000, thanks to SUNSTUDIOS.

One lucky voter and their guest will win a hotel package comprising 3 nights’ accommodation, wine and cheese on arrival, cocktail voucher, breakfast and dinner courtesy of Crowne Plaza Canberra, the Gallery’s Accommodation Partner.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 opens to the public on Saturday 23 February and is on display until Sunday 7 April 2019.

The exhibition will then tour around Australia.

About the Judges

Dr Christopher Chapman is Senior Curator at the National Portrait Gallery. Since the late 1980s Christopher has worked with artists, written about art, developed exhibitions and presented talks and lectures on art and social expression. His PhD looked at images of adolescent masculinity in 20th century photography.

Anne O’Hehir is Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia. She writes on photography, and has curated and contributed to many exhibitions at the Gallery as well as being the curator of the photography space 2010-2015. She has a particular interest in contemporary photomedia practice as well as Modernist photography of the 1920s and 1930s.

Hoda Afshar is an Iranian-born Melbourne-based photographer. She began her career as a documentary photographer in Iran in 2005, and has been living and working in Australia since 2007. Working across photography and moving-image, she considers the representation of gender, marginality and displacement. Hoda’s many accolades include the winner’s award in the NPPP 2015.