Walkley Photo award exhibition at the Powerhouse

On another enjoyably busy weekend in Brisbane I went to the New Farm Powerhouse twice on Friday for different events. The first was the Walkley Press Photo 2010 exhibition and the second was a gig by American band the Polyphonic Spree (which I’ll feature tomorrow night). Every year more than 1000 photographs are judged for selection in the Walkley Press Photo Awards. This exhibition showcases 100 works by Australia’s best photojournalists from the short list nomination for the Walkley Award. The photos chronicle the news, events, elation and tragedy of the year in media. Sorry about the glare in the photos of the photos. While I take photos as part of my job, I doubt if I’ll be worrying the Walkley panel on this evidence.

Renee Nowytarger of The Australian won the 2009 Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year. This was one of her photos called Tears of Stolen Love. The woman in the photo is 33-year-old Essina Sullivan who was a member of the Stolen Generation. Essina was captured crying as she spoke of her removal from her family in Northern NSW aged just two. It was her last memory of her grandmother who was beating her hand on the boot of the car that removed Sullivan from her family.

This photo “Displaced Future” is by Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate Geraghty who was a finalist for best photographic essay in the 2009 Walkley Awards. Geraghty flew to the DRC where five million have died and another million displaced making it the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II. Geraghty visited the displacement camps near Goma in eastern DRC. Conditions inside the camps are dire, rows and rows of banana humpies housing entire families with nothing but volcanic rock to sleep on. Thousands queue for food and water and diseases such as dysentery and cholera spread throughout the camps filling the mass graves in near by banana plantations. Geraghty said “many I photographed had lost everything, were terrified, in shock and in mourning but I also encountered dignity and hope where one would expect to find anger and bitterness.”

“Bekasi Waste” by Kate Geraghty. This haunting image is of 91-year-old Muchitar walking down a mountain of rubbish as day breaks over the Bantar Gebang rubbish dump in the Jakarta suburb of Bakasi. Muchitar scavenges for rubbish, among 5,000 people doing the same at the dump.

This was Brad Hunter’s Lin Family Funeral. The quiet Sydney suburb of Epping was shocked when an entire family was murdered last July. Newsagency owner Min Lin and his family were found bludgeoned to death in their beds. On 8 August over a thousand mourners from the local community paid their respects to the five Lin family members at the Badgery Pavilion in Homebush. Hunter is a photographer at the Northern District Times and he took this shot at the Pavilion.

This was the press photo of the year by Renee Nowytarger. Called “Party Blues” it captures then Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull at a retirement home the day after an unfavourable news poll. The photo epitomises Turnbull’s position (and self-pity) which was soon to become untenable. See a better version of the photo here.

This was one of the many iconic photos from Black Saturday when 179 people died in bushfires in Victoria on 7 February 2009. The Age’s Jason South took this photo of an exhausted firefighter at an unknown location.

This was another Black Saturday moment captured by Alex Coppel of the Melbourne Herald-Sun as firefighters are forced to retreat as a giant wave of flame approaches. The photo was infamously used by a London tabloid (the Daily Mail if memory serves) with the odious headline “hey Bruce the fire is that way”.

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