Photo comps put Perth in the picture


In a modest cottage on a Victoria Park street you would never know the magnitude of passion, creativity and artistic flare on display behind its front door.

In a world of photography where people are constantly using Snapchat and Instagram, Perth people now have the opportunity to display their skills in competitions around the metropolis.

Victoria Park Centre for The Arts

Victoria Park Centre for The Arts, on Kent Street

Victoria Park Centre for the Arts manager Clare Szmekura said this year’s art season has attracted more photographers than ever.

“Our current ‘Express Yourself’ exhibit showcases a range of work from photography, theatre, sculpture and painting,” she said.

“Combining all art forms into one exhibit has been a huge success for Victoria Park this year where the opening of the … exhibit attracted more than 80 people, with a large portion of them being keen and upcoming photographers.”

Today, photography competitions have provided individuals with a sense of community engagement, belonging and togetherness.

Victoria Park Centre for the Arts 2015 photography people’s choice award winner, Bridgett Atkinson, said competitions allow for people to express themselves and build relationships with like minded individuals.

Victoria Park Centre for the Arts 2015 Photography Peoples Choice award winner Bridgett Atkinson, admiring 2016 pieces.

Bridgett Atkinson admires the 2016 award pieces.

“It’s competitions like these that allow for your work to be hung on a wall, with your name splashed underneath, in a sense of recognition for people to see,” Atkinson said.

Photography competitions run across Perth throughout the year, ranging from competitions for primary school kids, right through to awards for professional photographers.

Murdoch University photography lecturer Rick Mason said various competitions required different levels of skill.

“Some competitions require very little skill where you can use your iPhone to take the photos,” Mr Mason said.

“Others require a huge amount of detail and skill where you need to understand the exposure, depth of field and shutter speed.

“The good thing about photography competitions is they provide another means of community engagement.

“People enjoy photography, and these competitions allow people from all different backgrounds the opportunity to engage, wether it be engaging through the creation of photos, or through the discussion surrounding the them.”

Across metropolitan Perth, at least 15 local councils run annual photographic competitions, including:

  • City of Bayswater runs a monthly photography competition, where the winner gets $50 cash and is featured on City of Bayswater’s Facebook page.
  • City of Bassendean, Bassendean Visual Arts Award September 22-28, 2016.
  • City of Belmont 14th Annual Photographic Awards and Exhibition 2016, runs from July 18-30 and the top prize for the open category is $800 and $250 for the Youth winner.
  • City of Canning Act-Belong-Commit Canning Art Awards 2016 entries closed on May 6, with an exhibition running from June 11-19.
  • City of Joondalup 2016 Community Art Exhibition held at Myer Centre Court at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City from June 12-25 and Community Invitation Art Award October 16- 29, 2016, Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City.
  • Shire of Kalamunda holds art awards every year in June and encourages artists aged 18 and over to enter Kalamunda Lions Club Art Awards.
  • City of Melville 2016 Art Awards run from May 21 to May 29. Photographers entered into the category ‘works on paper’ with winners receiving up to $1500.
  • City of Mosman Park, Mosman Park Photographic Awards reflect on the city with the winning entrant getting $1500 and the winning piece exhibited at the town art collection and runner-up pieces are auctioned off with proceedings being donated to the Rocky Bay disability services and employment organisation.
  • City of Nedlands Youth Awards accept all two-dimensional work, and people aged 12-25 can enter. Top prizes for the categories are $500 and $250 for second place.
  • City of Rockingham run with lots of different prizes. The PhotoVoice prizes and exhibition and entries are due August 29, 2016.
  • City of South Perth’s Emerging Artist Awards give upcoming artists the opportunity to have their work exhibited to the wider community with the prize pool worth $7000.
  • City of Stirling Blink Photographic Award, runs every second year and is scheduled to run this year.
  • City of Subiaco Annual Photographic Awards celebrate creativity in Subiaco and allow photographers to have their work publicly displayed with a total prize pool of $2500.
  • City of Victoria Park, Arts Season 2016 runs across the months on April and May and offers the public the chance to have their creative work displayed. This includes exhibitions that exhibit traditional art, photography and contemporary forms of art such as theatre, dance and sculpture.
  • City of Wanneroo ran a competition between January 18 and February 29, 2016 called Capture your Wanneroo experience, where winners won cash prizes and their photos are to be published in the city’s 2017 calendar.

Clare Szmekura says a feeling of belonging is something very special which being part of the photography community can engender.

“So many [people] don’t know how to express this feeling, but to me it’s like wearing a pair of your mum’s high heels and walking across wooden floor boards, you just can’t explain it,” she said.

Photography: Rouchelle Gilmore

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