Finalist frames of Australian Life

Hundreds of photographers from across Australia have put their creativity in the frame for one of the country’s most prestigious photography prizes.

Twenty-eight images have been selected for the Australian Life photography competition capturing depictions of life in Australia, from landscape and cultural diversity to humanitarian and political issues.

The images were selected by a panel of award-winning judges: Sydney Morning Herald managing photo editor Mags King; artist Dennis Golding; and artist, academic and Director of Photography at University of Technology Sydney, Cherine Fahd.

“The finalists’ images represent Australian life beyond stereotypical perceptions and show its diversity through a spectrum of daily life moments, intimate stories and events,” Mags said.

“There is a range of energy and emotions in these images that take the viewer through a journey; from a serene, ghostly image of Uluru, to a dynamic group of young women dancing in the rain in Melbourne, to a reflective embrace of a group of school boys in Lakemba a week after the attack in Christchurch.

“I found the level of thought and consideration impressive – these finalists celebrate a multitude of stories that make up Australian life and there are thousands more to be told.”

“The overall selection expresses a collective power, using documentary modes of photography to show us people, places and events that have cultural, social and political value,” added Cherine.

Other images included among this year’s finalists include:

  • a harrowing image of a photographer’s father with stage four dementia
  • a ram parading down a catwalk in front of an audience of tourists
  • seagulls swarming after Melbourne Cup celebrations
  • a full moon casting a dim light over the Tasmanian landscape
  • LGBTIQ performers playing to judges at Sissy Ball, part of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“The images captured by this year’s finalists are striking and original reflections of what life in Australia means to them,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“These images reveal insights into the many different experiences of life in Australia and I look forward to seeing them exhibited in Hyde Park for everyone to enjoy.”

The finalist images will be blown up to bedsheet-size images for the Australian Life outdoor exhibition, curated by photographer Sandy Edwards. The exhibition will run along the St James walkway of Hyde Park from 19 September to 13 October.

The winner of the $10,000 prize – one of the biggest cash prizes in the local photography world – will be announced at the exhibition’s opening event.

Australian Life is part of the City of Sydney’s year-round Art & About program of events and temporary art projects in unusual spaces throughout the city. More details on the Australian Life finalists are at

/Public Release.