66 finalists announced for Australia's most prestigious photography prize

William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

66 finalists announced for Australia's most prestigious photography prize image
Blaze #12, Muloorina 2022 from the series Blaze pigment ink-jet print 135.0 x 300.0 cm courtesy of the artist and ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) blank.  All rights reserved.  Murray FREDERICKS.  Australia  2023.

The prestigious William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, highly regarded as one of Australia's most esteemed photography awards, has unveiled its finalists for the much-anticipated 2023 edition.

The panel of judges consisting of Rhana Devenport ONZM, the Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide and acclaimed artist Michael Cook, alongside Anouska Phizacklea, Director of MAPh, faced the exhilarating task of selecting 66 artists from a pool of over 640 outstanding submissions.

The selected finalists for the 2023 Bowness Photography Prize exemplify the immense depth of talent present in the contemporary Australian photographic arts scene. Their works, crafted over the past year, offer a diverse and captivating snapshot of the state of photography in Australia today. The exhibition will provide art enthusiasts and the general public with a unique opportunity to witness the extraordinary creativity and innovation prevalent in Australian photography.

The 2023 Bowness Photography Prize exhibition will feature well-established artists like Tamara Dean, Stephen Dupont, Robert Fielding, Murray Fredericks, Ponch Hawkes, Janet Laurence, Danie Mellor, Sonia Payes, Patrick Pound, Yhonnie Scarce, James Tylor, Justine Varga, and Anne Zahalka, as well as emerging artists such as Grace Allen, Madeline Bishop, Mikayla De Pasquale, Yask Desai, Rhy Dyball and Shelley Horan. With such an impressive lineup, the exhibition promises to be an unmissable event for art lovers, photography enthusiasts, and the broader public.

The Museum of Australian Photography (MAPh) invites everyone to witness the creative vision captured by these finalists, with the exhibition to take place from 21 September until the 12 November 2023.

The excitement will culminate in a special event at the museum on Thursday, 28 September, where one exceptional finalist will be awarded the grand prize of $30,000 and their work will be added to MAPh’s nationally significant collection of Australian photographs.

One finalist will also be honoured with the $10,000 Wai Tang Commissioning Award, which will coincide with the 2024 Bowness Photography Prize exhibition season. Furthermore, the Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award will be determined by public voting, with the recipient receiving $5,000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution.

The MAPh Foundation recognises the vital role of supporting practicing artists and acknowledges the positive impact the prize money for both the winner and the Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award will have on the recipients.

In a heartening gesture of support, Colour Factory, a fine art photographic studio in Melbourne, will be returning as a sponsor of the Honourable Mentions selected by the judges. They will be offering fine art printing vouchers to the three recipients, further encouraging and fostering talent within the photography community.

‘As a former finalist, I was honoured to be asked to judge this year’s Bowness Photography Prize. Over the last 17 years the prize has grown into one of Australia’s most exciting awards for contemporary photography. It was a great pleasure to be able to sit alongside the esteemed judging panel for an award that continues to support artists and their practices. This year I saw over 1000 images that showcased the breadth of Australian photography talent in 2023.’

— Michael Cook, artist

‘The Bowness Photography Prize has earned an excellent reputation in its support of Australian photography. The calibre of submissions this year was quite breathtaking in its reach and quality and is a reflection of the sheer ingenuity and experimentation taking place in the field of lens-based and camera-less imagery. The work of these finalists will form a powerful and fascinating must-see exhibition.’

— Rhana Devenport ONZM, Director of Art Gallery of South Australia

‘The Bowness Photography Prize remains an anchor to our annual programming and we are incredibly proud to present the country’s most prestigious photography award for close to two decades. The shortlisted artist provide a unique snapshot of what is going on in contemporary photography in Australia today. The thematic concerns present within the works reflect pressing issues that as a society we are grappling with. What is incredibly exciting is how artists are pushing the medium of photography – whether experimenting with cameraless works to conceiving of a photograph as a sculptural form that leaps off the walls and inhabits your space. The dynamism of these works present quite an exciting prospect for curating the disparate works into a cohesive whole. ’

— Anouska Phizacklea, MAPh Director

Congratulations to the following finalists:

Grace Allen, Ashe, Robert Ashton, Alison Bennett, Madeline Bishop, Tom Blachford, Jane E Brown, Jane Burton, Anna Carey, Patricia Casey, Danica Chappell, Renato Colangelo, Michael Corridore, Zo Damage, Rory Daniel, Steve Danzig, Gerwyn Davies, Mikayla De Pasquale, Tamara Dean, Yask Desai, D-Mo, Rozalind Drummond, Stephen Dupont, Rhy Dyball, Robert Fielding, Murray Fredericks, Genevieve Ginty, Geoffrey Goddard, Tom Goldner, Rebecca Griffiths, Sammy Hawker, Ponch Hawkes, Shelley Horan, Nicholas Hubicki, The Huxleys, Minami Ivory, Inez Joakim, Pia Johnson, Ayman Kaake, Mark Kimber, Shea Kirk, Kelvin Lau, Janet Laurence, Putuparri Tom Lawford and Tobias Titz, Dylan Le’mon, Paula Mahoney, Jesse Marlow, Charles McKean, Danie Mellor, Kent Morris, Daniel Noone, Sonia Payes, Drew Pettifer, Izabela Pluta, Patrick Pound, Clare Rae, Yhonnie Scarce, Cassandra Scott-Finn, Jon Setter, Scotty So, Cyrus Tang, Hiromi Tango, Craig Tuffin, James Tylor, Justine Varga, Anne Zahalka

Important dates

Exhibition dates | 21 September – 12 November 2023
Award announcement | Thursday 28 September 2023