By Kannagi Bhatt
Winners for Victoria University’s sixth annual Picturing Footscray photography prize were announced on 11 November. Local cabaret performer Miss Friby took viewers on a wild ride as she revealed the First, Second, Third and Student Prize winners of this year’s competition via a virtual prize announcement video.
The 115 entries were judged by artist and curator Nikki Lam and photographer Cameron Cope, who chose Sally Coggle’s photograph Every Which Way to win the coveted $3,000 First Prize.
The judges observed that the photograph was interesting because of its ambiguity, and that its location in central Footscray with visual cues of local references really made it stand out.
The $1000 Second Prize was awarded to Jake Lowe’s photograph Everything is fine for his use of natural light, narrative and sense of humour. “I thought there was something quite sad but beautiful about [it]. It’s almost like the sunset of a particular era,” said Nikki.
The $500 Third Prize went to Mark Davidson for his photograph Borderline – a dramatic portrait that uses light and shadow to create a strong image reflective of our times. Cameron appreciated the photographic standpoint, and “enjoyed the really graphical composition.”
The Student Prize went to Deakin student Sarah Gardiner for her photograph Lucky Dip. It depicts two three-year-old boys of French-Australian and Vietnamese-Australian backgrounds trying their luck at some toy machines at a bubble tea shop in Footscray, showcasing younger generations continuing to build the multicultural communities that Footscray has long been known for.
Picturing Footscray is building a photographic modern history of Footscray. Since its inception in 2016, it has allowed people to document Footscray’s changing landscapes, cultures and communities, which has been all the more poignant through the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Picturing Footscray virtual gallery is open for exhibition on the VU in the Community website. Visitors can view all 115 entries and vote for their favourite photograph to win the $500 People’s Choice Award by 5pm on Thursday 9 December. The winner will be announced on the VU in the Community Facebook page on Tuesday 14 December.
Missing the days of physical exhibitions? Anyone walking around Footscray in mid-January should keep their eyes peeled for a street poster exhibition featuring some of the best entries.
Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to everyone who entered for making Picturing Footscray 2021 such a success!