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Natalie Grono wins Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year

The 2022 Nikon-Walkley Awards have announced two category winners, as well as additional category finalists, with Natalie Grono winning the Photo of the Year for ‘Peter takes a moment’.

Peter takes a moment. Photo: Natalie Grono.

The award-winning Byron Bay-based photographer captured the image in Wardell during the devastating 2022 February/March Northern NSW floods. Thousands of homes were destroyed, including Peter’s, who is photographed taking a brief rest as he moves his ruined belongings outside.

At the time Natalie published a series of photos on Instagram that included Peter takes a moment, writing the caption:

‘Last week Northern NSW was hit by its worst flooding in history. The government response to the disaster was late and inadequate, leaving much of the rescuing, coordinating, and now the mammoth task of cleaning to civilians. Communications were also cut, leaving many stranded. The internet has only been temporarily restored today! (Hence my late post)
The resulting carnage and destruction is unfathomable and honestly overwhelming to capture. With 2000 homes already deemed uninhabitable, a dire housing crisis is looming. However the community spirit is strong. The response has been heartfelt and beyond amazing.
Thank you to the people who allowed me to photograph them, for sharing their stories, tears and some laughs along the way.

The Nikon-Walkley contest judges felt the picture ‘captured the story, and our nation, in a standout way’.

‘Peter is a quintessential Aussie – exhausted and covered in mud, yet stoic and somehow hopeful, he pauses before tackling the mammoth task of resurrecting his life. Natalie Grono encapsulates the aftermath of the floods with the contradiction of palm trees against sunny skies while Peter is still knee-deep in water.’

The picture was published by two mastheads, The Saturday Paper and Surfing World magazine.

When Natalie isn’t shooting editorial assignments and commissions, she masterfully documents everyday Australian life with an interest in beach and youth culture. Her monochrome candid photos of her children playing, Invisible Threads, was an Inside Imaging favourite at the 2021 Head On Photo Festival.

The Age photographer, Justine McManus, won the Nikon Portrait Prize for his photo, Johnny and his Dogs.

Johnny and his dogs. Photo: Justin McManus.

The photo shows Johnny Wilson, chairman of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation and Kuranjini man, with his dogs. Johnny, along with other Traditional Owners, is fighting to stop fracking in the Beetaloo Basin, Northern Territory.

‘One man at home in a landscape under threat tells a story that could go unnoticed if it were not for Justin McManus’s dedication.’ the judges said. ‘That’s a portrait of Australia right there.’

The finalists of the four remaining categories have also been unveiled including the top prize, the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year, with Brendan Esposito, Christopher Hopkins, and Brook Mitchell in the running.

In the Sport photography Category, Robert Cianflone, Quinn Rooney, and Cameron Spencer are finalists.

And in News Photography, the finalists are Stephen Dupont, Natalie Grono, and Christopher Hopkins.

Lastly, Feature/Photographic Essay finalists are Matthew Abbott, Kate Geraghty, and Andrew Quilty.

Here are a few of the finalists images. See them all here.

A Glamorous Job, Sport Photography finalists. A general view during Race 4, the Amanda Elliott Handicap, at the 2021 Paramount+ Stakes Day at Flemington Racecourse. November 6, 2021. Photo: Robert Cianflone.


Day 1: Anti Lockdown, News Photography category. A member of Victoria Police is knocked to the ground as anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protesters break the police line. The officer would be trampled and hospitalised. Photo: Chris Hopkins.


‘Invasion of Ukraine – Civilian Impact’, Feature/Photographic Essay finalist. Zoya Shaposhnik, 67, looks up at the hole in her ceiling from a missile strike. Her disabled husband narrowly escaped injury or death in their home in Krasnohorivka. Zoya Shaposhnik did not evacuate as many others have in the town, instead staying to care for her husband. Their roof and other parts of their home have been destroyed. Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. June 16, 2022.. Photo: Kate Geraghty.


Return of the Taliban, Feature/Photographic Essay. A Taliban fighter fires into the air late on the night of September 3, 2021, in celebration of the group’s reported capture of Panjshir province, where a resistance group, the National Resistance Front, were defending the last patch of Afghan territory not in Taliban hands, two-and-a-half weeks after it overthrew the former government. Photo: Andrew Quilty.


Press Photographer of the Year finalist. Robert Mark Old has been on the streets for three months, preferring the relative safety of Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs to the recommended crisis accommodation, which he described as “a bloody disgrace”. Alcohol and drug use was rife and he feared for his safety, preferring the rain and temperatures close to zero to a room at the notorious centre. June 4, 2022.. Photo: Chris Hopkins.


Press Photographer of the Year finalist. Gunggandji Land and Sea Rangers (from left) Victor Bulmer, Roszaly Aitken, Fredrick Lefoe and Chasten Hunter carry a horse they found in distress deep in the scrub near Yarrabah, Queensland. After taking the horse to town in the back of their ute, the rangers found and removed a paralysis tick. Horses are a feature of daily life in Yarrabah, with many roaming free around the community, often ridden around town by both kids and adults. August 22, 2022. Photo: Brook Mitchell.

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