People choose Portrait Prize winner

NSW photographer Harold David won the 2018 National Photographic Portrait Prize People’s Choice Award for his photo of Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, sipping a milkshake.

Artist statement: Some former prime ministers are just less self-conscious than others. All the planning in the world went out the window the moment Bob Hawke walked into the room, sipping through a pink straw. As my father used to say, ‘What it is!’, and at that moment, as history stood before me, I understood what he meant! I am always looking for what connects us all and makes us human. My heart knows we are all created equal, and I always strive to capture that essence in my photographs – a take-away cup, a glint in the eyes, a life well-lived. Photo Harold David

Harold, commissioned by Weekend Australia magazine to shoot the beer sculling PM and his wife, Blanche, knew he captured a great shot.

‘I had my set all ready for Bob and Blanche to step into but when he walked in drinking that milkshake I knew I would have to quickly reconfigure the set to get that shot first up,’ he told the Lithgow Mercury.

‘I seriously could hear my father’s voice in my head saying, “it is what it is and nothing more”, and I was inspired straight away. Bob and Blanche were all too willing to let me do this and I knew at the time the possibility of this becoming an iconic image of him.’

Artist statement: John Patten is a Yorta and Bundjalung man. He is an Aboriginal elder and community leader. In 1958 John was the Australian bantamweight boxing champion and fought under the name of Johnny Jarrett. He was also a champion rugby player. Even as an elder today, he still shows the strength that he carried in the sporting arena. Photo: Tiffany Garvie

Harold’s photo only just won, beating Tiffany Garvie’s image of 1958 bantamweight boxing champion John Patten.

It was Harold’s first year as a finalist in the NPPP contest, which attracted over 3000 entries.

The main National Photographic Portrait Prize was won by Lee Grant, for her photo Charlie.

Grant’s photo was selected by senior curators, Chris Chapman and Robert Cook, as well as photographer Petrina Hicks.

There’s been a noticeable disconnected between art academics and curators, and the general public. While this contest doesn’t show the full extent of this connect, it’s interesting to observe the distinguishable differences between the People’s Choice award, and the judging panel. Which photo do you prefer?

Charlie, by Lee Grant, won first prize. Source: Supplied.

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