Arts / ‘Powerful’ photo wins portrait prize

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“A calm so deep” by Elizabeth Looker.

PERTH photographer Elizabeth Looker has won the Art Handlers’ Award for this year’s National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Awarded for her portrait “A calm so deep”, Looker said her interest when photographing her subject Dorotea was to understand and capture not the physical, but the spiritual – how a person feels rather than how they look.

“It’s ironic that a photograph inspires me not to look, but it just allows me to breathe and to feel connected to her inner world, and then my own,” she said.

She will receive a $2000 cash prize and free return transport of her work at the conclusion of the exhibition’s tour, supported by International Art Services.

With 40 finalists to consider, National Portrait Gallery art handlers Michelle and James were equally drawn to Elizabeth’s portrait, saying: “The sitter’s stance is powerful but her expression is suggestive of vulnerability.

“The overall effect is a strong connection to the sitter and a sense of her truth,” they said.

Looker was the winner of the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2016 and is still in the running to be crowned winner of this year’s prize.

This is the fourth year for the Art Handlers’ Award.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 opens to the public at the NPG from Saturday, February 23 to April 7 before touring to regional locations around Australia. The winner and highly commended will be announced on the evening of Friday, February 22.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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