ADELAIDE 20 MARCH 2012:
The judging panel for the National Photographic Portrait Prize selected 46 works for the exhibition from a competitive field of 1500 entries. Only two of them were selected from South Australia by the National Portrait Gallery, one of which is Benjamin (Ben) Liew’s finalist portrait titled ‘Ned’.
Ben’s portrait of Ned was taken on his third day of shooting the stills for the Variety Adventure TV documentary when the team reached Stuart Creek Station, South Australia.
After arriving at the cattle yard at approximately 2pm with the thermometer reading 47 degrees, the team met Pepe, Ned, Dion and Donald - four generations of Indigenous folk working the land.
In the portrait, Ned wears a hat that could tell you as many stories as Ned himself could. Weathered and battered, he stands before you with half a century worth of experiences and stories.
“Photography is such an important part of any culture” Ben says, "It is a record of our world at this moment. Being part of the National Photographic Portrait Prize means the portrait of Ned will be experienced by audiences for many years to come.”
The winning finalist was Rod McNicol from Victoria, announced at the opening of the exhibition on March 19 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.
Ben says, “I was so excited to hear the news (of being a finalist) because it is the most significant achievement, aside from making the decision to begin a career in photography 4 years ago, to date. To me, winning would have only been a bonus. “
At the portrait announcement, on the night, Ben said he “is amazed by the power of photographic portraiture.”
He continued (at that time), “I’m here with 45 other photographers who represent that power. A true honor and a life achievement that I will not forget.”
Ben congratulates Rod McNicol on his monumental win.
Ben is currently studying the In-Business Young Business Leaders program and is fundraising for the Royal Society for the blind. He holds exhibitions every year, is the founder of the Skrambled Eggs exhibition and co-founder of ColourGRIND. He is also the photographer for the upcoming ‘BBQ to Boardroom’ book which features 66 men in South Australian Business.
“I would like to head back to the outback and undertake a project that will benefit indigenous folk. Taking this portrait that one step further by doing an entire photographic series and even teaching kids what I know about photography and how to use a camera.
The exhibition will be in South Australia at the Flinders University Art Museum and City Gallery from 2 December 2012 to 14 February 2013.
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Benjamin Liew Photography
Capturing his subjects in the moment is Adelaide-based Benjamin Liew’s philosophy to obtaining that special image. Having won numerous awards both locally and overseas, it seems that philosophy is holding Benjamin in good stead.
“I love not having preconceptions,” says Benjamin.
“Some of the most intriguing photos I’ve taken ended up being nothing like I had planned.”
Winner of several national and international photography awards, including the silver award in the 2010 International Aperture Award in the Abstract/Illustrative Category and the Gold award in the 2010 SAPPA commercial category have strengthened Benjamin’s resolve for looking at things in a different way.
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