Monday, March 23, 2015

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 opening night...

Reception counter at the National Portrait Gallery with a crop of my finalist image 'Odysseus' promoting the exhibition.

We just got back from 'Canberra' yesterday from what seemed like a surreal couple of days where we were at the opening of the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 hosted and run by the 'National Portrait Gallery' in Canberra.
I was informed in November that my image 'Odysseus' was shortlisted as one of the 44 finalist images from a pool of over 2500 entries from Australian photographers.

'Odysseus' NPPP 2015 finalist image by Bill Gekas

Although i've been following this exhibition for a few years now it seems like the entries are getting stronger every year and i'd hate to be any of the judges trying to select the shortlist and ultimately the winning image from such a field of talent.
I spent quite some time viewing each of the 44 selected images on exhibit and there weren't any that I didn't like, they all had a certain strength and story about them that reflects where photographic portraiture in Australia currently lies.
Other than the champagne flowing that night, the other highlight was 'David Stratton' and 'Margaret Pomeranz' announcing the overall winner of the prize which was awarded to Iranian born Melbourne based photographer Hoda Afshar with her image 'Portrait of Ali'.

Overall it was a great opening night and an awesome after party where I got to meet and socialize with most of the other finalists and gallery crew, but due to the pace of the evening and huge crowd I did miss a few people which was unfortunate. It was great that Athena and my wife Nikoleta also accompanied me on the short trip and the number of people that recognized Athena from my body of work was also something that we didn't quite expect but was very welcome by her.

A huge honour my image was shortlisted and is now hanging at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra between the 21st March - 8th June 2015 before travelling on a touring exhibition to 'Mackay', 'Cairns', 'Bundaberg' & 'Rockhampton' until April 2016.

Congratulations to all other finalists and a huge thank you to the gallery and staff for creating such a memorable experience.

Below are some quick iPhone snaps from the last few days.

On the way to Canberra.

Opening night. The crowd kept getting bigger.

David Stratton & Margaret Pomeranz announcing the winner.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

Winning image by Hoda Afshar 'Portrait Of Ali'.

All good things come to an end. On the way back to Melbourne.