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Chris McGrath wins Walkley Photographer of the Year

Getty Images photographer, Chris McGrath, has been named the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year for a timely and powerful body of work spanning Turkey, Syria, Kosovo and Hong Kong.

The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath.

From his base in Istanbul, Chris has covered some of the year’s biggest stories, including the assassination of Saudi Arabian dissident, Jamal Khashoggi, who worked as a journalist for The Washington Post.

Hong Kong protests. A protester uses a tennis racquet to hit back tear gas canisters on August 25. Photo: Chris McGrath.

The judges found Chris’s selection to be ‘insightful and timely’ – ‘a powerful reflection of the year that was. He immersed himself in the action, getting so close to his subjects that he could reveal tension and emotion’.

Chris also won the Feature/Photographic Essay category, for his series The End of the Caliphate.

The End of the Caliphate, Syria. Photo: Chris McGrath.

‘After months of fighting, the Kurdish-led and American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared, on March 23 2019, the “100 per cent territorial defeat” of the self-styled Islamic Staten’ the Walkley website says. ‘The group once held vast areas across Syria and Iraq, controlling a population of up to 12 million in a “caliphate” that drew tens of thousands of foreign nationals to join its ranks.

‘Chris McGrath’s images show masterly use of composition, natural light and range of angles. His photographic essay is of stunning quality, edited to explore how daily life continues amid the devastation of the conflict. Alongside brutal images of death and destruction are glimpses of everyday lives: kids selling cigarettes, a brass band looking miserable, women and children fleeing.’

Chris started his photography career at the Sunshine Coast Daily in Queensland. After completing his newspaper cadetship and a diploma in photography, he joined Getty Images as a staff photographer in Sydney. During his 19 years with Getty, McGrath has been based in its New York, Singapore and Tokyo offices.

From Chris’s Nikon-Walkley PPOTY folio. Photo: Chris McGrath.

Since 2015, he has worked out of Istanbul, covering Turkey and the Middle East. Among many honours, McGrath was nominated for the 2019 World Press Photo of the Year and won first prize in the General News category of the 2019 World Press Photo awards.

ABC photographer, Matt Roberts, won the News Photography category for a single image, The Second Coming of Senator Lambie.

The Second Coming of Senator Lambie. Photo:

Here’s the Nikon-Walkley description:

‘Matt Roberts was covering the opening of the 46th Parliament when he decided to focus on Jacqui Lambie as one of the decisive votes on the newly returned Morrison Government’s tax-cut plan.

An Indigenous smoking ceremony outside Parliament House created rare lighting conditions inside the Marble Foyer. The resulting image is an iconic single shot as Roberts captures Lambie returning to Parliament like a prize-fighter walking into the ring for a rematch. It’s an extraordinarily dynamic image, contrasting her determined stance with the frenetic press gallery workers throwing questions from the sidelines.

Matt Roberts began his career as a sound operator in 2007 and has become one of the ABC’s most experienced camera operators in the press gallery. Roberts is now training staff and shaping the ABC’s broader venture into still photography.’

AAP photographer, Craig Golding, won the Sport Photographer category for his photo series, Invictus Games.

Photo: Craig Golding.

The Nikon-Walkley description:
The Invictus Games were founded by HRH The Duke of Sussex in 2014 as an international adaptive sports event celebrating the healing power of sport. Photographer Craig Golding shot the fourth Invictus Games, held in Sydney in October 2018, in black and white.

Photo: Craig Golding.

His series shows former military servicemen and women, who lost their limbs in war, competing in elite sports and culminates in a shot that sums up the whole background to these games: an able-bodied soldier walking offstage while the victor crawls behind, wearing a medal and his country’s flag over his shoulders.
Golding’s work combines graphic action and composition with raw human emotion. The series of images uses masterly editing to tell a compelling story, starting, in the judges’ words, “a conversation beyond the content of the frame”.

Photo: Craig Golding.

Craig Golding started at The Sydney Morning Herald in 1985, photographing news and sport in Australia and overseas. He has covered international sporting events, including Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup. In 2008, he left the Herald to pursue a freelance career.

Golding has won more than 75 national awards for his photography and more than 45 international awards, including six World Press Photo awards. This is his second Walkley Award; he also won this category in 2007.

Photo: Craig Golding.
Photo: Craig Golding.

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