Youngest entrant wins top photography prize

City of Sydney

An image of a pensive young girl in the back of a dimly lit car has taken top honours in the annual Australian Life photography competition.

The image was captured by the competition’s youngest ever entrant and winner of the $10,000 cash prize, 19 year-old Georgia Brogan from Blackheath, NSW.

Georgia, who is studying a media arts and production degree at the University of Technology Sydney, took the image of her 11-year old sister during Sydney’s 2020 lockdown.

The image was selected from hundreds of photos and 28 finalists for its cinematic beauty by a panel of judges including National Geographic photographer Michaela Skovranova, Magnum Photo Agency member Trent Parke and TV personality Justine Clarke.

“The colours and look of the image are nostalgic and romantic – it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Trent.

“Every time I see it, I want to put it on the cover of a book. I absolutely love it.”

“The photo encapsulates what we’re going through at the moment – we don’t know where we’re going or what’s happening. It questions freedoms of movement and uncertainty – it’s a beautiful image,” added Michaela.

With the annual outdoor exhibition of finalist images cancelled due to Covid, Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced the winner today during a live stream on YouTube and Facebook.

“Since it began 18 years ago, Australian Life has become one of the most popular events in our year-round celebration of Art & About,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It’s become such a favourite, I think, because it gives us all the opportunity to reflect on life in Australia over the past year – and what a year this one has been!

“We had hundreds of entries this year and, since we broadened the focus nationally, they are now coming from all around Australia – from Papunya to Bathurst Island and Canberra to Mount Kosciusko.

“The finalist images are all well worth seeing, and I’m so pleased we were able to create a digital gallery to give everyone that opportunity and the chance to vote for their favourite.”

For the first time, a People’s Choice winner was also announced. It Always Rains Before Kick-Off features a young football fan feeling the rain on his face minutes before kick-off for the Tiwi Islands grand final. The image was captured by Elise Derwin from Lismore Heights, who won a $5,000 Olympus photography pack.

In addition to the Australian Life online exhibition, the City of Sydney is running a series of online photographer talks. Meet the Photographers will be hosted by Associate Professor of Design, Architecture and Building, Cherine Fahd along with finalists from the competition who will discuss the themes of space, unity, devastation and cinematic:

  • Unity, with David Cossini, Rusty Crawshaw and Lidia D’Opera – Thursday 16 September, 1-2pm
  • Space, with Matthew Abbott, James Brickwood and Elise Derwin – Thursday 23 September, 1-2pm
  • Devastation, with Wesley Boney, Stephen Dupont and Caitlin Withers – Thursday 30 September, 1-2pm
  • Cinematic, with Georgia Brogan, Lucy Knox, Jasmine Poole and Chris Sewell – Thursday 7 October, 1-2pm.

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.

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