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National Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 finalists

Melbourne-based commercial photographer, Adam Haddrick, has won the 2022 National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) Art Handlers’ Award for his portrait, Cordy in the Clouds.

Cordy In The Clouds by Adam Haddrick.

Haddrick’s subject, Cordy, is a Tjungundji elder from Far North Queensland, whose name translates to ‘spirit of the sunrise’.

Here’s Haddrick’s artist statement:

‘I first saw ‘Cordy’ when he walked past me on my first day in Charters Towers. I was immediately mesmerised by his presence. Months later I had the chance to meet with him. He shared his story and told me of a visit to India for an archaeology conference where the locals greeted him as a holy man. I hadn’t seen clouds in the sky for weeks but while taking his portrait they rolled in behind him as if on cue.’

National Portrait Gallery collection officers, Jess Kemister and Jacob Potter, who pick the Art Handlers’ Award, were ‘mesmerised’ by Haddrick’s portrait, stating it’s ‘a quiet and still moment, conveying a sense of calm and the peaceful energy of the subject. You can look at this work for a long time.’

The Art Handlers’ Award is a secondary prize, with the overall NPPP winner – worth $30K cash and $20K worth of Canon Gear – to be announced on July 1.

The 50 NPPP finalist images will show in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. The exhibition will then show in other Australian galleries. Here’s a selection of finalist pictures:

The Shuttle 2021 by Andrew Rovenko. ‘As Melbourne struggles through many days of restrictions, with limited options to play and learn for the kids, four-year-old astronaut Mia puts on her homemade space suit and helmet and goes on exploration missions in the familiar neighbourhood, using her imagination to turn the mundane world around her into an exciting adventure.’


Siegi 2020 by Steph Connell. ‘Siegi’s early morning ocean swims have become a part of her daily ritual since moving to the Gold Coast 19 years ago. Now 82 years of age, Siegi continues to swim throughout every season and rarely misses a day.’


Tween Twilight by Natalie Grono. ‘Every stage of parenthood brings beauty and challenges. My daughters now enter the Tween phase, moving between childhood innocence and adolescence’s rambunctiousness. It is a time of monumental shifts as they search for a sense of self and are enticed to fit in with their peer group by their dress, talk and actions.’


In Leopard Print by Ayman Kaake. ‘This self portrait is a part of a series Beneath the Burqa that aims to shed light on the blackout of domestic violence against women in Arab countries and communities, and to also encourage men to begin to speak out about the issue. This particular piece is inspired by the traditional clothing worn by women during prayer rituals, which has evolved past the customary plain white confines.’


Unmasked – Bob Gordon by Brett Canét-Gibson. ‘The tears of a clown trope seems light-hearted at first when it’s done in KISS make-up, but it speaks of the heartbreak that has set in for the music industry as it battles against the ravages of the COVID-19 era and the lack of government support around it. The brave face begins to fade after a while but there is a necessity to find other ways for the show to go on, even as broken dreams seem to inhabit every highway.’


Olympian by James Brickwood. ‘Portrait of 27-year-old Olympic swimmer Emma McKeon at Wollongong Head Lighthouse Rockpool. McKeon is Australia’s most successful Olympian and the equal of any woman in Olympic history. During the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics McKeon won four gold (half in relays) and three bronze medals which brought her total to 11 across two Games.’


Paradise Lost by Liz Ham. ‘For 22 years this former Newtown nunnery has homed an ever-evolving Sydney queer community. Lovingly known as The Dirty Habit, it is a safe and inclusive space where queer people have lived and gathered. Due to the house falling into disrepair the current tenants must leave. The site is due to be redeveloped imminently.’


Where Have All The Flowers Gone by The Huxleys. ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone explores the fading magic of supernatural worlds in which Melbourne-based performance and visual artists Will and Garrett Huxley cast themselves as exquisite outsiders, isolated and ornate, and existing on the fringes of places – and the margins of society. Finding love and solace in the florid arms of queer utopia.’


Silent Strength by Wayne Quilliam. ‘In its purest essence, the evolution of culture connects us to Mother Earth. She inhales and exhales with us, has a heartbeat, and sings songs for all to hear. My role as a storyteller continues to evolve and this capture is akin to a trickle of water merging into a small stream then into the ocean. This image of Eric Yunkaporta from Aurukun is Culture.’

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