On Friday night St Kida’s Brightspace Gallery had a full house for the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women (MDPPfW). The exhibition features 53 finalists, selected from the 318 entries. Maggie Diaz’ photographs grace the edges of the impressive display, along with an audiovisual presentation tribute to the artist, who died last October. Isaebella Doherty was announced as the winner for her entry ’Pearl’, a black and white portrait of her sister.
First time exhibitor, Doherty she said that 2016 had been a very challenging year and after missing her family for 10 months, they were reunited in the Pyrenees. ‘I’d been taking photos of my little brother. My little sister has the most amazing blue eyes – they’re really captivating…and the light from the sunset just hit her eyes and I asked her if I could take her photo and she’s always, ‘No,no I don’t want to have my photo taken!’ But she let me do it and I got the photo and that’s the one we have here today. It’s funny because it seems like it’s always the last photo to take that’s the winner – that captures everything it’s supposed to.’
‘It’s really difficult for young people in this industry, but it’s so great to be recognized by a Prize like this.’ Doherty thanked her parents for buying her first camera.
Brightspace Gallery director, Kylie Greer said, “We are proud of every woman who submitted a photograph in 2017. The judges selected 53 works they wanted to see on the walls and now that they are installed collectively, they tell an amazing story. The ‘Maggie Diaz’ is a unique prize: it is a modest award that invites all to enter. All works must use available light, impress the judges with compelling content and display a bit of ‘Maggie’ flair. “
The Prize is supported by Melbourne Television Director, Tony Rogers (‘Wilfred’) and Producer Jason Byrne (Guilty Content). “In 2015 Kylie Greer, the Director of Brightspace asked me to put her in contact with the right people at the ad agency Clemenger’s, as Maggie had worked for them in the ‘70s. Kylie had a proposal for them to sponsor the Prize. Jason and I thought it was such a good idea we put up the 5k. If this prize inspires, we are happy and besides, anything Kylie does is gold,” said Tony Rogers.
A statement issued by the judges, Julie Millowick, Hoda Ashfar and Rob Imhoff said that the winning image ticked all the boxes and although it is always subjective, on this occasion, we were unanimous in our decision.’
Gwendolen De Lacy, Curator of the Diaz archive made the point that Maggie would say to her subject, ‘I don’t want you to smile. I don’t want you to do anything, just be…’ and the winning image certainly reflects Maggie’s gentle eye, said De Lacy.
WINNER: Pearl’ by Isaebella Doherty
‘Portrait of Natalia’ by Alana Holmberg
‘You and I’ by Ebony Finck
‘The Smoke’ by Sarah J Walker
MARTIN KANTOR AWARD:
‘Kath and Eve’, by Lisa Walker
EXHIBITION: 1 – 17 September
11-5 Wed – Sat & 12 – 4 w/ends