The Olive Cotton Award

A few weeks ago I attended the exhibition opening of the Olive Cotton award for Photographic Portraiture. Ralf and I decided to go, mainly because my family are originally from Murwillumbah – where the exhibition is held and also, I was a finalist!

It turned out that all of mum’s side was due to be in town that particular weekend. We viewed the exhibition early in the day and at one stage from across the room, I caught my mum standing in front of my picture. She was beaming from ear to ear, gesturing wildly and entertaining an audience of three.

Oh geez mum! Really!?  I was suddenly a teenager again!

It was embarrassing and at the same time… it was beautiful.

I was fortunate to run into the judge of the competition – Stephen Dupont, at the airport. I took the opportunity to thank him for the talk that he gave the night before. He was clearly surprised and said that he’d hoped it was ok? …He doesn’t prepare speeches of the cuff and all that…

He had spoken about how while he was choosing the images for exhibition and the winner he had made sure he was unaware of the names of the entrants. He chose all images for the exhibition on their impact and how they made him feel and expressed how heart wrenchingly hard it was to choose a winner.

Of course, this year – the winner was Natalie Grono, who turns out to be an ex Ultimo Photo imaging student, like myself. Congratulations Natalie!




















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