Marc Stapelberg's entry for the Olive Cotton Awards 2019.
Marc Stapelberg's entry for the Olive Cotton Awards 2019. asagai images

Lucrative photographic prize up for grabs

THE winner of a lucrative $20,000 prize for photographic portraiture will be announced this afternoon.

The Olive Cotton Award attracts hundreds of entries each year and this year judge Marian Drew, an adjunct associate professor at Queensland College of Art, has the daunting task of choosing a winner from 79 finalists.

Northern Rivers photographers feature amongst the finalists, The Northern Star's Marc Stapelberg one of them.

Stapelberg said it was an absolute honour to be included with so many esteemed photographers including many well known local photographers.

"It is a wonderful award as it is supporting some very talented photographers in their work each year and it celebrates all the dynamic styles of portraiture found in Australia,” he said.

The award is offered biennially, the winning work acquired for the gallery's collection.

The award was launched in 2005, and is funded by Olive Cotton's family and dedicated to her memory as one of Australia's leading twentieth century photographers.

The winner of the 2017 Olive Cotton Award was Justine Varga with her work Maternal Line - the choice of her portrait as the winner was controversial, with other photographers questioning whether it was a portrait at all.

The portrait was of her grandmother, yet she didn't appear in it, nor was a camera used to make the image. Instead, the photographer captured her grandmother's scrawls on a piece of film.

It's not the first winning portrait to challenge convention. Trent Parke's Candid Portrait of a Woman on a Street Corner won in 2013

Helen Ennis, Head at the School of Art, Australian National University, said it was "a very unusual work, the subject isn't immediately visible and so our notions of portraiture are challenged. The viewer is invited to actively work with the image in order for the face of this unknown woman to become apparent”.

The winner of the prize will be awarded at the official opening of the exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre today at 5pm.



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