2021 Bowness Photography Prize | Shortlist announced

During lockdown, the three judges – acclaimed artist Del Kathryn Barton, Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) Director Anouska Phizacklea and Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Australia, Karen Quinlan AM – met, discussed and narrowed down the strong field of entrants to the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize to a shortlist of 52 works from 739 entries to be exhibited as the 2021 edition of the prize.

MGA invited artists to submit still photo-based media, including analogue and digital photography, created over the last year for consideration. Themes reflect the disparate experiences of artists and the trajectories their artistic practice has traversed during challenging times: isolation, protest and the impact of COVID restrictions. However, the shortlist also speaks to moments of hope and celebration that includes exemplary examples of intimate portraiture, traditional landscapes with a modern spin and some outright quirky images.

Tamara Dean, Introversion, 2020, from the series ‘High jinks in the hydrangeas’. Courtesy the artist and Michael Reid, Sydney + Berlin

‘The Bowness Photography Prize every year provides a unique insight into what is current within society, and the shortlisted works speak to the diversity of experience with the artists responding powerfully to the impact COVID has had on society,’ said Phizacklea.

‘Whether directly referencing COVID, these works were made by artists in the midst of COVID restrictions, made in a COVID bubble, and signs of our lived experiences as we wade through this new normal can be seen in works that delve inwards, to more domestic interiors, to landscapes and portraiture that provides insights into the lives of Australians. Some artists spoke about their practice transforming to respond to COVID restrictions.’

‘The exhibition will speak to the diversity of experience and art-making practice, and celebrate photography in Australia.’

— Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Gallery Director

‘All I can say is that there is simply SO much talent out there! It was a near-impossible task to select only 52 finalists.’

— Del Kathryn Barton, artist

Paula Mahoney, Jump on through (to the other side), 2021, from the series ‘Dis/appear II’. Courtesy the artist

The winning work will be announced on Thursday 16 September, awarded $30,000 and acquired into MGA’s nationally significant collection of Australian photographs. The Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award will be voted by the public, with the recipient receiving $5,000.

The 2021 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize finalists are:
Leith Alexander, Svetlana Bailey, Kate Ballis, Lauren Bamford, Gabrielle Bates, Tom Blachford, Paul Blackmore, Christophe Canato, Danica Chappell, Benjamin Cole, Nici Cumpston, Tamara Dean, Marian Drew, Jo Duck, Liss Fenwick, Silvi Glattauer, Richard Glover, Rebecca Griffiths, Joanne Handley, Jesse Harvey, Ponch Hawkes, Joseph Häxan, Petrina Hicks, Edi Ivancic, Angelique Joy, Tony Kearney, Ingvar Kenne, Shea Kirk, Honey Long and Prue Stent, Paula Mahoney, Harry McAlpine, Joseph McGlennon, Rod McNicol, Danie Mellor, Hayley Millar Baker, Mark Mohell, Lillian O’Neil, Meredith O’Shea, Ashley Perry, Patrick Pound, Ruiqi Qiu, Tonina Ryan, Amber Schmidt, Jessica Schwientek, Christopher Sheils, Melissa Spiccia, Ali Tahayori, Christian Thompson, Angela Tiatia, James Tylor, Justine Varga, and Amy Woodward.

Congratulations to all!

View the 2021 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize finalists’ exhibition in-person at Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, from 9 September to 7 November 2021 or online.