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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.

Still life with vanitas symbols (after David Bailly), 2008

by Kevin Best

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 Finalist

Mark Twain said 'History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme'. The masters of the Dutch 'Golden Age' lived in a time of extreme wealth and fear. They feared: eternal damnation, plagues, religious genocide and the guilt associated with exploitation. Sound familiar? David Bailly (1584-1657) summed it all up in his 'Self portrait with vanitas symbols'. Mine is a rhyme. The references to plague have been replaced with references to global warming and instead of Bailly's double self portrait, I have left the frame empty, for our future is less certain.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009

Related information

Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne
Cormac and Callum, 2008 by Ingvar Kenne

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009

Previous exhibition, 2009

In its second year at the National Portrait Gallery, and for the first time touring to other venues, the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2009 continues to present surprising perspectives on the nature of contemporary portrait photography.

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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 both past and present.

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

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency