Grealy Takes the Win

Congratulations Gary Grealy - named Winner of National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017.

Gary Grealy’s portrait is a wonderful collaboration with the sitters, Richard and Alison. He has beautifully conveyed a mixture of subdued emotions in a simple, direct but captivating image,’ said Fetting. ‘For me, the contrasting facial expressions, body language and soft side lighting combine to produce a painterly quality of a time gone by. It’s a meticulous work cloaked in curiosity and intrigue, with the furtive smile to seduce the viewer.’

Grealy believes his portrait of Morecroft and Mackay is reflective of his inspiration to pursue the field of portrait photography: ‘When I began making portraits of artists in the 90s, the thrill of entering the domain of creativity filled me with excitement, and I must admit a little envy at the talent I saw. I began making portraits of artists for no other reason than the love of art.’

Grealy will receive $25,000 cash from the Portrait Gallery and a Profoto B1 location kit courtesy of CR Kennedy.

Two finalists were awarded Highly Commended: John Benavente for his portrait titled Renaissance Rose, and Brett Canet-Gibson for his portrait Mastura. Fetting felt the two portraits were inseparable in quality, and while both are simple portraits of women looking directly to camera, they are entirely different in their style.

‘John Benavente’s lovely portrait displays a teenage girl that could have been created by an old master painter of the 16th century. She exudes composure beyond her years in this monochrome image, with beguiling eyes. I am drawn back to it over and over again,’ said Fetting.

‘Brett Canet-Gibson’s portrait is once again deceptively simple. Photographed with natural light, it conveys a quiet confidence to the viewer. The black on black of the dress and background highlights the face and the intrigue of the slightly crooked but endearing smile.’

The Highly Commended winners will each receive an EIZO Coloredge 24 inch monitor valued at $2,695, courtesy of EIZO. 

People’s Choice voting opens from today; you can vote for your favourite image online at or in person outside the exhibition space.

The People’s Choice winner will receive a studio and equipment rental package valued at $2,500 and a Canon EOS M5 camera valued at $1,949, supported by Sun Studios.

The exhibition of 49 finalists opens this Saturday 1 April, and is free to the public.

The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
1 April – 18 June, 2017

Images courtesy the artists and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

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