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Photographer wins portrait prize with series on Australian indigenous women

An image from David Prichard’s series Tribute To Indigenous Stock Women (David Prichard/PA)
An image from David Prichard’s series Tribute To Indigenous Stock Women (David Prichard/PA)

A photographer has won a £15,000 portrait prize for images of Australian indigenous women who have spent most of their working lives in remote cattle stations.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize went to David Prichard, 55, for his series Tribute To Indigenous Stock Women.

The stock women of Far North Queensland live physically demanding lives involving cooking, homestead chores and maintaining the welfare of their livestock, often on horseback.

David Prichard’s Tribute to Indigenous Stock Women (David Prichard/PA)

Mr Prichard, who studied photography at Sydney Technical College, wanted to shine a light on a community that has been mostly unrecorded.

He said: “I have always been respectful of cultural and social sensitivities and subsequently built trust with the community, which led me to be invited to photograph the women.

“The project is not about me. I am only the vehicle for the women to tell their stories.”

Second prize and £3,000 went to Pierre-Elie de Pibrac’s series, Hakanai Sonzai, a series of portraits taken in Japan focused on people who exhibited “fortitude in the face of adversity”.

Hakanai Sonzai by Pierre-Elie de Pibrac (Hakanai Sonzai/PA)

The portraits emerged from “long discussions” he had with his subjects about a “painful event in their lives”.

Katya Ilina was awarded third prize and £2,000 for David, taken from a series of portraits that celebrate positive body image and question notions of masculinity and femininity.

“I’m interested in things that make us human in the modern world and everything I do comes from my personal experiences, one way or another,” she said.

This year’s prize will be displayed at Cromwell Place in South Kensington.

David by Katya Ilina (Katya Ilina/PA)

The National Portrait Gallery in London, its usual location, remains closed until 2023 while building works take place as part of its Inspiring People redevelopment project.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the portrait gallery and chair of the judging panel, said: “Congratulations to all the prize-winning artists.

“Once again, the competition has attracted entries from across the world and this year’s shortlist of international photographers demonstrates the continued global appeal of the prize.

“I am delighted that in the fourteenth year of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize we are able to display the prize-winning works and the exhibition selection at Cromwell Place and we look forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors.”

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