Winner of the $50,000 National Photographic Portrait Prize announced

Comments Comments

South Australia's Amos Gebhardt has won the prestigious National Photographic Portrait Prize for 2024, for their image Alexis with moon, 2024.

Alexis with moon, 2024 by Amos Gebhardt
Alexis with moon, 2024 by Amos Gebhardt

Lit entirely by moonlight, Gebhardt’s winning portrait captures acclaimed Waanyi author Alexis Wright peering towards the night sky.

“As Alexis is a storyteller who dares to imagine future cosmologies in these dystopian times, I sought to pair her with the elemental power of the moon, a symbol of dreams and illumination,” Gebhardt said. 

“Reflected in Alex’s eyes are tracings of the moon itself created through subtle movement of the human body in dialogue with the Earth’s rotation.”

Now in its 17th year, The National Photographic Portrait Prize is open to both established and emerging artistic talent, with the prize conceived by the National Portrait Gallery to support and celebrate photographic portraiture in Australia. This year, 34 finalists were selected from almost 2000 entrants for the Prize.

Gebhardt lives and works on Kaurna Country/The Adelaide region in South Australia, and was awarded the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize in 2022 and was also a finalist in the 2022 National Photographic Portrait Prize.

This year’s judges – Isobel Parker Philip (Portrait Gallery Director, Curatorial and Collection), José da Silva (Director of Sydney’s UNSW Galleries, and curator of the 18th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art) and Pippa Milne (Curator PHOTO Australia) – said that this year’s field was exceptionally strong.

Of the winning work, the judges were taken by the sparse, yet powerful relationship created between the moon, the subject and the camera.

“Alexis Wright is a noted First Nations author whose work collapses linear time and connects to ideas of the cosmos, and Gebhardt’s portrait, lit only by the moon, speaks directly to the sitter’s work. Created through a long exposure, the pair of photographs turn Wright and the moon into echoed forms. Instead of a singular snapshot in time, what is represented is an extended moment.’

Gebhardt takes home a cash prize of $30,000 from the Gallery and Canon equipment valued at $20,000 courtesy of the Gallery’s Imaging Partner, Canon Australia.

In addition, the the team responsible for looking after the National Portrait Gallery’s collection and hanging the exhibitions selected their favourite work.

阿谊 (ah Yi), 2023 by Shelley Xue
阿谊 (ah Yi), 2023 by Shelley Xue

Shelley Xue’s portrait, 阿谊 (ah Yi) 2023, taken of her mother after a three week visit following years apart, was their favourite work from the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

The team said this “this beautiful and poignant photograph articulates the complex and bittersweet feelings of time and opportunities lost with the joy and excitement for future intimacies”.

Finally, the Darling Portrait Prize is a prestigious $75,000 biennial prize for portrait painting, established to honour the legacy of National Portrait Gallery founding patron L Gordon Darling AC CMG. 

The prize offers a platform for artists to explore the evolving notion of Australian identity. In 2024, it was won by Noel McKenna, for his painting, William Nuttall with horses in field, 2023, a portrait of the artists’ long-time agent William ‘Bill’ Nuttall.

William Nuttall with horses in field, 2023 by Noel McKenna
William Nuttall with horses in field, 2023 by Noel McKenna

The National Photographic Portrait Prize and the Darling Portrait Prize are open to the public until 13 October. You can find out more here. 

comments powered by Disqus