Photo finalists bring Australian Life into focus

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Twenty-eight finalists have been selected for what has been one of Australia’s biggest and most popular photography competitions in the last 20 years.

Handpicked from hundreds of entries from across the country, the shortlisted images selected for the City of Sydney’s annual Australian Life photography competition and exhibition capture the essence of life in Australia, including:

  • Antoinette: a victim of the Lismore floods sitting in the ruins of her home
  • Nostalgia: a photographer’s self-portrait following spinal surgery
  • Hunting with fire: two Nawarddeken women hunt for snakes in the dark
  • Sydney CBD slowly returns: people returning to city centre streets following lockdown
  • One Marilyn is never enough: participants of the annual Marilyn Monroe charity swim
  • Exodus: a mass exodus of birds from a tiny, deserted church near Broken Hill.

“These images are thought-provoking, joyful, harrowing. Each one captures a moment in time somewhere in Australia and together they form a record of the challenges and richness of Australian life,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Each year I’m amazed at the at the talent and range of entries we receive and the unique insight they provide into the lives of people from across our nation.

“I’m particularly excited that we’re able to host a public exhibition of the finalists again this year, for the first time since the pandemic began. People passing through Hyde Park will be delighted to catch these special glimpses from around the country.”

The finalist images were captured by a mix of amateur and professional photographers from every Australian state in the running to win the competition’s $10,000 cash prize.

Each image will feature in an outdoor exhibition along St James walkway in Hyde Park from 15 September to 9 October, with the winner announced at the launch of the exhibition.

A gallery of all Australian Life finalist images can be viewed online, with an option to vote in a People’s Choice prize. The winner of the People’s Choice award – a $5,000 Olympus photography pack – will also be announced at the launch of the outdoor exhibition.

“The range of works and the depth of expression is very present in this year’s finalist images,” said Sandy Edwards, curator of the Australian Life exhibition.

“The final selection is as rich and varied as it always has been and whittling 1,700 images down to 28 is no small feat!

“I believe Australian Life is the most democratic exhibition of photography in Australia, and this year features complete newcomers to previous Australian Life finalists, to well-known photographers and photojournalists.”

Image: Phil Duval – ‘One Marilyn is never enough’

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.

For media enquiries, contact Elaine Kelly.
Phone 0477 362 550 or email ekelly@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Zoe Delamare.
Phone 0477 263 615 462 or email zdelamare@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Banner image: ‘Hunting with fire’ by Matthew Abbott.

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