Art in exile


April 15, 2014

The Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism are a national awards program recognising the work of photographers across a range of genres. Curtin University photojournalism student Danielle Le Messurier recently reviewed her favourite photograph from the 2013 winners’ exhibition which was in Perth recently.

The Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition showcases the transformed art of storytelling.

When humans first told stories it was through painting symbols on cave walls. We sat around campfires and developed a rich oral tradition. Now, we freeze time and tell stories through the point of a lens.

This year’s exhibition featured outstanding reporting on a variety of subjects: including a flying dog, a thumb-sized turtle, powerful sporting moments, stirring political issues and gritty boat passages.

While all photographs were of an incredibly high journalistic standard (honourable mention should be given to Colin Murty’s “Final Journey”), it was Kate Geraghty’s “Exile” (below) that caught my eye.

From first glance, it’s evident that much thought has gone into the composition of the photograph.

Geraghty’s selection of a larger aperture creates a smaller depth of field; the boy on the picture plane is blurred, as is the security guard in the background.

The arm of the boy on the picture plane slightly overlaps the body of the boy behind, adding depth to the image.

It is clear Khalid Mishal, the leader of Palestine’s Hamas, is the focal point of the image.

Geraghty makes this obvious through a number of devices: notably the use of colour, framing, and angles. The stark contrast between Mishal’s suit and more subtle pastel hues in the photograph (a clever use of dark on light) gives him a strong presence, as does the way he is framed.

We can see a diagonal line emerge from the bottom-left corner. The line moves through the two children and the security guard, while subjects are in motion: the boys run, the security guard trails protectively in the background, and Mishal walks leisurely with his granddaughter. The camera angle is eye-level to the children and looks up to Mishal, emphasising his power within the photograph.

Geraghty is a master of filling every crevice of her pictures with meaning and leaves no space to waste. Her work is set apart through both her expertise as a highly skilled photographer and the stimulating nature of her subjects.

“Exile” is a rare insight into the personal life of one of the Middle East’s most intriguing political leaders.

Photo: Kate Geraghty/Fairfax Media/The Walkley Foundation

Categories: Media

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