Photographer Grant Trouville has won the 2017 Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year Prize for his image, 50 Years of Tears, which shows Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen embrace club legend Andrew Ettingshausen after winning the 2016 NRL grand final.
On the victors’ stage after the 2016 NRL grand final, Gallen told fans ‘turn your porch lights off, because we are coming home with the trophy’. He was referencing legendary league coach Jack Gibson’s immortal gag, that ‘waiting for Cronulla to win a premiership is like leaving the porch lamp on for Harold Holt’.
Many photographers captured this moment at the NRL Grand Final, however the judges chose Trouville’s image, saying ‘this is the shot. It’s full of emotion and iconically Australian’. The criteria for winning is simply ‘hero image’, and all category entries are in the running.
‘This image shows the outpouring of emotion from the last 50 years for the Cronulla Sharks,’ Trouville said. ‘The two greatest ever players to put on the Sharks jersey coming together. A “thank you” from the former captain and club legend to the current captain. The trophy cabinet will never be empty again.’
Along with the Photo of the Year, Nikon also handed prizes for additional categories – Contemporary Australian Daily Life, Portrait, and Community/Regional.
The Portrait Prize went to Sydney Morning Herald photographer Alex Ellinghausen, for his photo Manus Torture.
The photo shows Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who has been detained on Manus Island for three-and-a-half years. He thinks life is tougher on Manus Island than the country he fled.
‘Back there, when people torture you, they torture you and put a bullet in your head and it’s over,’ Muhamat said. ‘Here it’s like systematic torture, mental torture that doesn’t end.’
Ellinghausen visited Port Moresby five months after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the US would resettle refugees held in PNG and on Nauru.
The judges praised the control of lighting, composition and framing that Ellinghausen used to captivate the viewer.
‘An incredibly strong image with technical skill and a powerful story to tell. It’s got an emotive, pensive quality that draws you in and makes you want to read the full story,’ they said. ‘There’s sufficient depth of field to keep his fuzzy beard in focus, and his eyes are beautiful. It asks a question, and draws you in. That’s what a great picture should do.’
Fairfax photographer Marina Neil won the Community/Regional Prize for a portfolio of work published in the Maitland Mercury, Newcastle Herald, and Port Stephens Examiner.
The Contemporary Australian Daily Life Prize went to Ellinghausen for his photo, Breastfeeding in the Senate.
The photographer captured Senator Larissa Waters breastfeeding her 14-week old daughter in June 2017 – the first woman to breastfeed in Australian Parliament.
Nikon-Walkley unveils category finalists
Finalists for the Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism and the Documentary Award were also revealed, with the winners announced on November 29, at the 62nd annual Walkley Awards.
The Award categories include News Photography, Sport Photography, Feature/Photographic Essay, and Press Photographer of the Year.
Judges have selected the cream of the crop of photojournalism, and the high quality set of finalist images proves the value of Australian news photography
The Press Photographer of the Year finalists include Fairfax photographers Alex Ellinghausen and Kate Geraghty, and New York Times photographer Andrew Quilty, who won the Gold Walkley Award last year.
News Photography finalists include Cairns Post photographer Justin Brierty, The Border Mail photographer James Wiltshire, and Geraghty.
Sports finalists include Getty Images photographers Scott Barbour and Ryan Pierse, and Trouville.
Feature/Photographic Essay has come down to Geraghty, Herald Sun photographer Jake Nowakowski, and Sunday Telegraph photographer Sam Ruttyn.
The finalists’ photo will tour around the country in a series of exhibitions, and are currently showing at the State Library of NSW and will be on display from Saturday at the ABC in Brisbane.
In many cases the entry comprises multiple images, all which can be viewed at the exhibition!