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Epson Photo Award winner ‘morphs insect and human’

“My intention was to morph an insect and a human to highlight our interdependence,” said North Queensland-based professional photographer Charmaine Heyer, winner of the inaugural Australian Photographic Prize Epson Print Award presented in Melbourne.


“This image from the ‘Creative’ category started from a fashion shoot,” Heyer said. “I feel pleased the judges saw merit in this creation. Through entering awards, you extend yourself and grow as a storyteller, not to mention the wonderful photographers you meet along the way.”

The inaugural Australian Photographic Prize (APP) event - a conference and expo, including live judging, ran over four days in Narre Warren on the outskirts of Melbourne.  Hundreds of enthusiasts and professional photographers came together to showcase their work, stepping in with a national awards event for the photographic community in place of the now-defunct Australian Institute of Professional Photography’s APPAs.

The Australian Photographic Prize is divided into two main categories: the Nikon Digital Awards for amateurs, and Epson Print Awards which are open to all photographers but includes pro-oriented categories like Wedding and Commercial.  The Nikon-sponsored awards accept digital image files, and the Epson award accepts only prints.

Camberwell Camera Club member, David Bignell, won the Nikon Digital Award-winner with a reflective self-portrait.

“My photo is one of a series I made during lockdown,” Bignell said. “It employs a visual metaphor to convey the message of someone who is literally washed out. The idea of experimenting with tissue paper emerged from thoughts about floated emulsion processing. Once I started printing on tissue I considered the possibilities of how the paper could be linked to emotions. I started to create self-portraits with torn tissue, wet tissue, crumpled tissue and so on. The fragility of tissue felt apt to describe the fragility of the mind under different pressures. Ironically, being locked down opened a door to a new creative space to explore, and a Zeitgeist to capture.”

Australian Photography Prize organisers Robyn Campbell and Karen Alsop reported strong turnout for the event, despite pandemic concerns: “We had over 200 people in person per day, and almost 5000 views on our livestreams (judging, conference gala). We had students from local Primary and Secondary colleges attending, and a strong mix of enthusiasts and pros who all came together to be part of the event.

“For an inaugural event we achieved higher than expected award entry numbers. Onsite event attendance could have been stronger, however, given the current societal shift away from face-to-face interaction due to pandemic concerns, attendance numbers were promising for future growth. Livestream attendance was strong across all events, with students from Charters Towers in Far North Queensland, through to overseas entrants from America tuning in.

“We’d like to acknowledge our sponsors, in particular Nikon, Epson and Kayell who came on board as our Visionary Sponsors.”

A 2023 Australian Photographic Prize is planned for next year, possibly in early August.

More 2022 APP photos and details here.