The Australian Photography Prize takes shape

June 28, 2022

New Australian Photography Award – with categories open to Australian and international photographers, amateurs and professionals – is set to culminate in a 4-day event at the City Edge Center in Narre Warren, September 8-11.
The event is the brainchild of former AIPP members Karen Alsop and Robyn Campbell, with help from Katrina Ferguson and Melissa Wood. It is billed as filling the APPA-shaped hole in the Australian professional photography calendar following the liquidation of the AIPP: “Since the collapse of the Australian professional body representing [the AIPP]there has been a significant gap in the social and community aspects of photography in Australia which the Australian Photographic Award aims to fill with a new energy of professionalism and inclusiveness,” explains the Australian Photographic Award website.

“Karen Alsop and I have worked together on a number of photography event teams nationally in the past, and we wanted to re-establish positive connections in the photography industry,” explained Robyn Campbell. “After two years of what seemed like never-ending lockdowns in Melbourne, 2022 has presented itself as a slightly more optimistic year for the launch of a four-day photography event, which has been extremely well received!

“We received an extraordinary response from photographers, photo clubs, sponsors and participants eager to participate. With so many people raising their hands to help with the judging and running of the event, there is no doubt that the photographic community is ready to connect and push each other to compete again in September 2022.’

The gala dinner and prize giving will take place at the nearby village cinema on Sunday 11 September.

The APPP organizers have done well with sponsors, counting Nikon, Epson, Adobe, Eizo, Wacom, Kayell and Momento Pro among its supporters. Under the global brand “Australian Photographic Prize”, there will be several photographic prizes, a trade exhibition, a conference and workshops, and evening social events.

Most of the activities will take place at the City Edge Centre, near the Fountain Gate shopping center in Narre Warren, an eastern suburb of Melbourne.

The eponymous Australian Photographic Prize is one of the main prizes of the Epson Print Awards. Nikon sponsors separate prizes in which entrants submit their images in digital form.

Robyn Campbell

“The aim of the Australian Photographic Award is to bring professional and amateur groups together in an inclusive environment to build a stronger photographic community overall,” Robyn noted. “The Epson Print Awards are for professionals – although amateurs are welcome – and the Nikon Digital Awards are for amateurs only.

“There are also a few additional categories for everyone to develop their creativity, the Eizo Digital Artist Award and the Village Cinema Moving Image Award.”

There are 10 categories in total in the Epson Print Awards and entrants may enter up to eight prints in total, in any category, with a maximum of four per category. Category placegetters and overall winners will be judged based on individual entries, not portfolio entries.

Prints will be judged by a panel of five award-winning professional photographers with a score and feedback given for each print.

Judging of the categories will be broadcast live via the website and live on site, with free pre-booked passes available to watch the judging.

At the end of each category, all finalist draws with more than 90 points will be judged again in a closed room to determine the winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd categories. The 1st place winner will then be in the running for the title of winner of the APP Print Award.

College students are invited to participate and compete for a separate APP student prize. In addition, there are Masters and Grand Master Awards “for those who have already obtained the equivalent academic, national or international competitive titles”.

Karen Alsop

The Nikon Digital Awards will be judged in six categories “by some of Australia’s top professional photographers”. Amateur photographers can make unlimited entries, with the possibility of image criticism and live comments, “plus the possibility of presenting your best work”.

The overall prize pool just topped $30,000 with two major prizes for the Australian Nikon Digital Award Photographic Prize winner and the Australian Epson Print Award Photographic Prize winner, as well as first place prizes in 19 categories and minor prizes from under -category.

The conference will take place from Friday September 9 to Saturday September 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Speakers announced to date include Rocco Ancora, Kelly Brown and Chris Anderson. The APP conference ticket ($325) provides access to the conference, Print Awards judging, and mini-lounge (3-5 p.m.), with convenient access to cameras, printers, lighting, and more.

Robyn said the Australian Photographic Prize did not intend to fulfill the broader representational role previously played by the AIPP. “The Australian Photography Award is not association-based, but we are currently working with Museums Victoria to create a home for an archival collection of Australian professional photography, which will be collected through voluntary acquisition.

“We hope that over time the collection will date back to the earliest days of Australian professional photography history. Donations to the archives are appreciated.

Michael E. Marquez