There is superb photography to be seen at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the Antarctic Photography Exhibition (2-19 August 2018), but it was a competition as well and judges had to select two prize winners. With two professional photographers, an arts administrator and a former Governor of Tasmania on the judging panel, there was a broad range of experience and skills applied to this difficult task. Keeping closely to the terms and conditions of the competition, the images had to be recent (three years or less), taken in the region (Antarctic and sub-Antarctic) and the photographer’s own work. The judges narrowed the choice down from a field of 87 entries to 24 finalists and then to just two outstanding photographs from one Australian and one Chinese photographer.
The haunting image ‘Lonely Icebreaker’ depicts the Antarctic environment in superb detail. The range of vivid colours in an Antarctic twilight, the fine imaging of the ice and sea along with the human presence represented by the Russian icebreaker Akademik Federov in the distance combine to tell a story. It is one of remoteness and apparent calm with a moody edge of implied danger. It was judged winner of the $2,000 Second Prize in competition for Hang Li, an expeditioner with the Chinese Antarctic Program.
‘A Work of Fine Art’
The First Prize winner, which comes with a $5,000 purse, is the stunning feature image ‘Gentoo’ by Sam Edmonds. ‘This is fine art’ one judge commented, ‘a pure expression of Antarctica’. Our photographic judges gave their verdict on the technical virtuosity of the image. ‘You have to see this in print to appreciate it properly,’ one said, ‘there is fine detail in the white areas of the image as well as in the deep, rich blacks and the focus is as sharp as a tack.’ The composition is natural, with the lower half of the subject obscured by blowing ice mist and the upper half magically rich in colour, even to the texture of the penguin’s wings.
And of course you can see it, with the other 22 beautiful images that earned a place as finalists at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s Basement Bond Store Gallery. The printing, by Hobart specialist photographic printers Full Gamut and the display by TMAG’s own specialists are not to be missed. Visitors can also cast their vote for the $500 People’s Choice Award, to be announced when the exhibition closes on 19 August. The exhibition is open from 10am to 4pm daily (the Museum is closed on Mondays during winter) and admission is free.
The exhibition is part of the larger Australian Antarctic Festival (2-5 August 2018).