Ellen Dahl wins the National Photography Prize for 2024

The biennial $30,000 National Photography Prize showcases the work of leading and emerging artists from across the country who are pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium, and challenging existing languages and techniques.

Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) has announced Ellen Dahl as the winner of the Prize’s 2024. Selected from twelve finalists by judge Nici Cumpston OAM, Dahl’s winning work Four Days Before Winter is part of the ongoing project Field Notes from the Edge exploring the peripheral Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard – the fastest warming place on earth.

Ellen Dahl, Winner, National Photography Prize 2024, Murray Art Museum Albury, with her work ‘Four Days Before Winter’, installation view, National Photography Prize 2024, Murray Art Museum Albury. Photograph: Jeremy Weihrauch

The four part work presents close up details of collapsing terrain due to melting permafrost as a result of ongoing coal mining in the region. The series not only brings into question the devastating effects of climate change, but also considers photography’s intrinsic involvement in how we see and feel about the world around us.

“The series Four Days Before Winter brings together multiple aspects of concerns and ideas within my practice; exploring the expanded photographic field to extract a sense of place and affect, geological imagination, time, and how to assemble ecological meaning in the time of climate change,” said Dahl. “The final work presented in the National Photography Prize is a reflection of all this, and I consider my process a three-way collaboration between the site of Svalbard (and what it chose to reveal right at the cusp of winter), the camera optics and the artist.”

Through large-scale installations, collages and assemblages, archival and chemical processes, to more intimate and personal moments, the National Photography Prize 2024 finalists’ works touch on themes of the environment and its degradation, cultural and familial histories, and connection to time and place. View these works including Dahl’s winning work at MAMA, New South Wales, until 1 September 2024.


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