Winner of $50,000 National Photographic Portrait Prize announced

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Rob Palmer’s portrait of Sydney whole-fish chef Josh Niland has been named the winner of the 2020 National Photographic Portrait Prize (the NPPP). 

The Mahi-Mahi by Rob Palmer
The Mahi-Mahi by Rob Palmer

Titled The mahi-mahi 2019, the winning image captures the renowned restauranteur deftly handling a dolphinfish. Palmer, a professional lifestyle and food photographer based in Sydney, describes his subject as a 'trailblazer'.

“Josh is reinventing what can be done with fish and – most importantly – with every part of the fish, in a huge effort to drastically reduce wastage,” Palmer said.

In making their decision Judges Penny Grist (Curator, NPG), Nici Cumpston (Curator, Art Gallery of South Australia) and artist Naomi Hobson admired the portrait’s “majesty and power”, and its “painterliness and composition. The sitter’s embrace of the fish so eloquently conveys his identity as a chef,” they said.

Eileen Kramer is a Dancer by Hugh Stewart
Eileen Kramer is a Dancer by Hugh Stewart

Winner of the 2020 NPPP Highly Commended prize was awarded to Hugh Stewart for his portrait of 105-year-old dancer Eileen Kramer.

Judges noted, “Eileen Kramer is a dancer held on to us. The colours and her gesture made us feel the warmth of the sitter’s presence even though her eyes are closed.”

Rob Palmer takes home a first prize of $30,000 courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery plus $22,000 worth of photographic equipment from Canon, including an EOS-1D X Mark III, EF 85mm f1.4 L IS lens, and ImagePROGRAF Pro-2100 large-format printer, and Broncolour Lights from SUNSTUDIOS.

Highly Commended winner Hugh Stewart collects an Eizo ColorEdge CG2730 27" monitor valued at $3245.

Finally the photographer who receives the most public votes during the exhibition will receive Fine Art printing valued at $2,200 thanks to SUNSTUDIOS. 

The exhibition is open now, with tickets on sale at

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