Music / “Byrd Round Table”, The Song Company. At Wesley Uniting Church, March 16. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD
AN announcement at the National Portrait Gallery this evening revealed that Sydney portrait photographer Gary Grealy has taken out the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 for his digital print, “Richard Morecroft and Alison Mackay” 2016.Grealy will receive $25,000 cash from the Portrait Gallery and a Profoto B1 location kit courtesy of CR Kennedy.
Guest judge for the 2017 prize, George Fetting, said he was entranced with the evocative nature of the winning portrait, saying “Gary Grealy’s portrait is a wonderful collaboration with the sitters, Richard and Alison. …For me, the contrasting facial expressions, body language and soft side lighting combine to produce a painterly quality of a time gone by. It’s a meticulous work cloaked in curiosity and intrigue, with the furtive smile to seduce the viewer.”
The winning portrait shows former ABC news presenter Richard Morecroft, now a well-known landscape photographer with his partner, the painter Alison Mackay.
For his part, Grealy believes his portrait is reflective of his inspiration to pursue the field of portrait photography.
He explained that he had begun making portraits of artists for no other reason than “the love of art,” but then, he says, “The National Photographic Portrait Prize gave me a purpose to continue to make portraits of artists, gallery directors and philanthropists, and as a result my portraits have been exhibited eight times in the ten year history of the prize.”An innovation this year is that the Portrait Gallery has awarded two finalists the title of Highly Commended – John Benavente for his portrait “Renaissance Rose” and Brett Canet-Gibson for his portrait “Mastura”, both simple portraits of women looking directly to camera, but as Fetting says, “while both are simple portraits of women looking directly to camera, they are entirely different in their style.”
The Highly Commended winners will each receive an EIZO Coloredge 24 inch monitor valued at $2,695, courtesy of EIZO.
People’s Choice voting opens from today at nppp.portrait.gov.au or in person outside the exhibition space.
National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017, National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes, 10am–5pm daily April 1-June 18, all information to nppp.portrait.gov.au