Melbourne-based artist and lecturer Janelle Low has won the prestigious 2013 National Photographic Portrait Prize for her portrait Yhonnie and Indiana. The $25,000 prize for the most outstanding photographic portrait was presented by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on behalf of the National Portrait Gallery.

The winning work was selected from the National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition of 53 finalists, which will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery until 19 May 2013. The exhibition will then tour nationally.

Janelle Low is a lecturer at RMIT's Photoimaging department. Upon winning, Low said "This prize is a life changing opportunity, and I could not be more grateful to the National Portrait Gallery for awarding it to me. Every bit of it will be channelled back into photography and developing and extending my practice".

The National Portrait Gallery received over 1200 entries for the Prize and the three judges, Louise Doyle, Director, National Portrait Gallery, Joanna Gilmour, Curator, National Portrait Gallery and invited guest judge, artist and writer Martyn Jolly, selected the final 53 portraits in the exhibition.

Speaking of the finalists curator Joanna Gilmour said they "...have captured sitters occupying all points of the spectrum: old and young; exuberant and contemplative; beautiful and curious; world famous and completely unknown. Along with different approaches to portraiture, there is great variety of emotion represented in the exhibition".

The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 exhibition will tour to the Blue Mountains Regional Gallery (28 June to 11 August); Grafton Regional Gallery (11 December to 29 January 2014); Roma on Bungil Gallery (7 February to 9 March 2014) and Caboolture Regional Art Gallery (3 April to 31 May 2014). Entry is free to all venues. This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

'Yhonnie and Indiana 2012', Janelle Low: "I met Yhonnie Scarce through the Dianne Tanzer Gallery in 2011 and have had the privilege of documenting her work ever since. When Indiana's health took a turn for the worse, just short of her 19th birthday, Yhonnie made a personal request that I capture a portrait of them together." – Janelle Low.

'Robyn Nevin 2012', Gary Heery: "I have been a portrait photographer for 35 years and have maintained a classic style of minimalism. I work in a controlled situation and pursue a moment of spontaneity that reflects a simple truth about the subject." – Gary Heery.

'The living room 2012', Janet Tavener: "My 16-year-old daughter, Tess Tavener Hanks, is passionate about making weird and wonderful garments. This garment is inspired by a Victorian lounge room and is being modelled by her sister, Mikala Tavener Hanks." – Janet Tavener.

'Granny's 90th 2012', Katherine Bennett: "Granny Thelma's 90th – the ladies are waiting for me to take their 'formal' photo." – Katherine Bennett.

'Morse coder 2012', Richard Goodwin: "This is Ken Knox, a former post office telegraphist and founding member of the Morsecodians Fraternity of Western Australia. The group conducts a demonstration of the lost era of the telegram each year at the Perth Royal Show where this picture was taken in September 2012. Mr Knox, 87, joined the Postmaster General's Department (PMG) in 1941-1942 and worked in post offices applying his morse code skills in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and other locations. He also served as a telegraphist in the air force during World War II." – Richard Goodwin.

'Ahn and Pete, The Bus Stop Project 2012', Simone Darcy: "This portrait of Ahn Wells and Peter Speight is part of 'The Bus Stop Project', a series of 'exposing' portraits taken in the early morning winter months of 2011 and into 2012. This image was taken in the bus stop in Hunter Street, Newcastle. The artist-built bus stop features domestic wallpaper and objects placed behind glass, giving a sense of the home. It has become a home for a number of locals who live on the street and take refuge in the shelter throughout the day and night. My dear friend and well known sculptor Peter Speight passed away in September 2012." – Simone Darcy.

'Bonnie 2012', Charlie White: "There were many photographs of Bonnie McArthur that showed how pretty she was, but I wanted to make a photograph that showed a quieter beauty, as though she were carved out of marble." – Charlie White.

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