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Homegrown photo contest celebrates Frank Hurley

A new contest celebrating the life of Australian adventurer and photographer, Frank Hurley, is calling for entries from local and international photographers.

The Mark of Blizzard by Frank Hurley.

The Frank Hurley Photography Awards, organised by Hobart-based not-for-profit charity Mawson’s Huts Foundation, has five categories covering landscape, adventure portraits, and multiple exposure or manipulated images. The Polar category is for images captured within polar regions; Scenic is for all landscapes; Composition includes multiple exposures, montages, and manipulated images; Nature for flora and fauna; and Portraits of Adventure. All images must have been captured from January 2015.

The biennial contest has a prize pool of $30,000, including a 10-day Antarctic expedition for the overall winner, and gear from Brisbane’s CameraPro, along with other goodies.

The contest is honouring the ‘spirit and adventurous career’ of Frank Hurley, who started working at a Sydney photo studio when he was 19 and not long after had his first image published in Australasian Photo-Review. His first solo exhibition was shown in 1910, at Kodak Salon, and the following year Australian explorer, Douglas Mawson, appointed Hurley the photographer aboard the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, which set out to explore uncharted coast and established a base on Cape Denison. Hurley’s next trip to Antarctica was aboard the Endurance with Ernest Shackleton, which would be crushed by pack ice and masterfully photographed.

Hurley then went to war, joining the Australian Imperial Force in 1917 as a photographer to capture images for propaganda and press purposes primarily across France, Belgium and Palestine. The photographer also travelled through Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait in the following years.

The adventurer had a remarkable career, and it was both photography and cinematography which took him across the world.

‘Frank Hurley was a storyteller and an artist well ahead of his time. His career spanned the period from the Kodak Brownie and silent film to Kodachrome and Technicolour travelogues,’ the contest website says about Hurley. ‘His use of constructed images – that, is multiple images superimposed to create dramatic effect – was seen as controversial, but it was an early sign of how determined Hurley would be to create emotion and drama, using photography as his toolbox.’

The families of Hurley and Mawson have endorsed the contest.

The judging panel consists of accomplished Australian photojournalists Stephen Dupont and Nick Moir, adventure photographer Krystle Wright, Tasmanian Museum director Janet Carding, Canadian wilderness photographer Paul Zizka, and National Geographic contributor Kate Orlinsky.

Contest entry starts at $50 for two images, and $25 for each entry after. There’s a 50 percent discount for students. Funds from the contest will go toward the conservation of the fragile wooden Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison in East Antarctica, which were the main base for two years during the Mawson expedition.

Click here for more info.

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