Five category winners of the 2020 Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism have been announced, with freelance Melbourne photographer, Christopher Hopkins, scoring Photo of the Year for his image, I want to Hold her Hand.
‘Robyn Becker was in the final stages of breast and gastric cancer at home with her daughter Alex in a Melbourne under lockdown. Having been advised that Robyn did not have much time left, her sister Jennifer travelled from California to be with her, but was required to spend two weeks in hotel isolation,’ Hopkins said. ‘Jennifer was given special leave to visit Robyn, but only for an hour at a time. “I want to be with her, I want to talk to her, I want to hold her hand, comfort her and hug her,” Jennifer said. Robyn would pass away several weeks later.’
The photo, published by Fairfax, was commended by judges for ‘the warmth and sense of connection while we are all still in this moment of borders and barriers is just so powerful. Beautifully composed with great emotion, this is tenderness.’
Fairfax photographer, James Brickwood, won the Walkley Portrait Prize for his photo, Adam Goodes.
‘Such a perfect portrait for 2020 – it’s introspective, touching on a range of subject matter from racism in sport to the black lives matter movement,’ commented the judges. ‘The photo is simple yet well-composed. Despite being on the front of the power issue, it’s a contemplative and dignified photo that we will remember in 20 years’ time. There have been a lot of portraits of Adam Goodes, this is a standout.’
Illawarra Mercury photographer, Sylvia Liber, won the Walkley Community/Regional Prize for her image series, Strength and Resilience. ‘A well-rounded entry that covered a diverse range of topics in an interesting way,’ said the judges. ‘This complete body of work showcased Sylvia’s range and ability to capture drama.’ (By the way, Walkley are publishing the winning photos as a gallery in animated GIF-form. And therefore, so are we.)
Getty Images photographer, David Gray, won the Walkley Contemporary Australian Daily Life prize for his series, Dealing With Drought. ‘This series contains incredible attention to detail, portraying the subject matter in an original way,’ stated the judges. ‘Without a weak picture in the set, Gray has taken beautiful, almost painting-like, photos of weathered skin and weathered landscapes. ‘
This year the judging panel consists of the judges: photographer Bob Barker, UTS director of photography Cherine Fahd, Herald Sun‘s Cameron Tandy, SMH photo editor Nick Catley, and photographer Judith Crispin.
All Walkley Award winners, including the remaining announced photojournalism finalists (see below), will be announced on November 20.
Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year Finalists
Matthew Abbott, The New York Times & Oculi
Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald
Nick Moir, The Sydney Morning Herald
News Photography Finalists
Matthew Abbott, The New York Times & Oculi, A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Lake Conjola
Brad Fleet, The Advertiser, One billion deaths
Jake Nowakowski, Herald Sun, Extinction Rebellion
Sports Photography Finalists
Matthew Abbott, The New York Times and Oculi, Football’s Longest Drive: 2000kms across Central Australia
Robert Cianflone, Getty Images, Sporting Arenas
Sam Ruttyn, The Daily Telegraph, UFC 243
Feature/Photographic Essay Finalists
Matthew Abbott, The New York Times & Oculi, Black Summer
David Caird, Sunday Herald Sun, Behind The COVID Door
Nick Moir, The Sydney Morning Herald, Firestorm
Click here to see finalists’ images.