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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.

'Red Terra' - Black Activist: A portrait of Gary Foley

by Rod McNicol

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 Finalist

From the very beginning of my photographic career, when I studied photography at Prahran College (Melbourne) in the 1970s, portraiture has been the central focus of my work. I have always been drawn to portraiture that is very direct, and this portrait of Gary Foley is no exception. Historically, however, my sitters for the most part have been anonymous, so in this respect this portrait is an exception as Gary does have a high profile. Along with my characteristic direct gaze, I have sought to make strong use of colour in this particular work. The term Red Terra in the title was, by happy coincidence, the brand name for the colour I chose to use for background.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007

Other NPPP photos from Rod McNicol

Jack Charles, 2011 Rod McNicol
NPPP 2012 Winner
Gurkirat, 2009 by Rod McNicol
NPPP 2010 Finalist
Self-portrait, 2015 by Rod McNicol
NPPP 2016 Finalist
My friend Siu’s dear mother, Mrs Chan, 2014 by Rod McNicol
NPPP 2015 Finalist

Related information

Life and Times: Portraits by Rod McNicol video: 3 minutes
Life and Times: Portraits by Rod McNicol video: 3 minutes
Life and Times: Portraits by Rod McNicol video: 3 minutes
Life and Times: Portraits by Rod McNicol video: 3 minutes

Rod McNicol

'Life and Times'

Portrait story

Echoing 19th-century photography, Rod McNicol's portraits give us a chance to look quietly at the human condition.

Tariro, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Tariro, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Tariro, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Tariro, 2010 by Rod McNicol

Village people

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2015

Christopher Chapman discusses Rod McNicol's photographic portrait series Newcomers to my village.

Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol
Maryan, 2010 by Rod McNicol

Life and time

Portraits by Rod McNicol

Previous exhibition, 2015

Australian photographer Rod McNicol has consistently analysed the passing of time through the evidence of the photographic portrait. At once confronting and tender, McNicol’s portrait photographs are bold and intimate. 

Jack Charles, 2011 Rod McNicol
Jack Charles, 2011 Rod McNicol
Jack Charles, 2011 Rod McNicol
Jack Charles, 2011 Rod McNicol

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012

Previous exhibition, 2012

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 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.