Events photography

Hunter Photography Prize 2022 Winner Announcement: Jim Griffiths Captures ‘Between Lockdowns’ Moment to Win Top Prize | Hunter Valley News

A fleeting moment that successfully captured the signs of our times earned Newcastle street photographer Jim Griffiths honors with this year’s Hunter Photography Prize.

Griffiths’ documentary image of three beachgoers stretched out in the midday sun, titled ‘Between Lockdowns’, captured the attention of judges from a field of 40 finalist entries and impressed with its authenticity and timeless aesthetic that seemed to hint at a bygone era of photography before the digital revolution.

Griffiths, who has been behind the camera for around 10 years, was overwhelmed by the awards nod and spoke highly of the caliber of entries in this year’s competition. Her winning image, captured on a walk between COVID-19 shutdowns, caught her eye as a moment of respite from the stressors of more than two years under the imposition of the pandemic.

“I thought it was probably their first day at the beach after an extended lockdown and it seemed like a happy, relaxed scene,” he said.

Griffiths, a hands-on photographer with a background as a film shooter, who engages viewers in his craft for creating images that speak to how his subjects interact with their surroundings, was pleased the winning image resonated with His public. His distinctive high-contrast style is a holdover from his time shooting on high-contrast film – an aesthetic he became attached to when he started shooting with his daughter, a photographer in her own right, and which he clung to during the digital transition.

“I started when one of my daughters got really into photography,” he said. “It’s something we shared. She does a lot of event photography around Newcastle and Sydney, so we went in different directions, but I’ve always seen that as a challenge.”

Meanwhile, in a surprising twist, 21-year-old photographer Nic Tonks has narrowly won bragging rights after he and fellow runner-up and family friend Steven Dick led the People’s Choice category to a biting finish, separated at any given time by a single vote. , to claim the title.

CLOSE CONTEST: People's Choice winner Nic Tonks' dramatic scene at Merewether Ocean Baths, titled

CLOSE CONTEST: People’s Choice winner Nic Tonks’ dramatic scene at Merewether Ocean Baths, titled ‘Sparks Fly’, was the popular champion in a hotly contested vote separated by less than 30 ballots from runner-up and family friend Steven Dick. Photo: NIC Tonks / @nictonks

Tonks’, who started out as a surf photographer, was initially skeptical when he learned that out of some 1,500 ballots, his photo titled ‘Sparks Fly’ had just edged out Dick’s ‘Dawn Swimmer’ by less than 30 votes for claim the victory.

“I thought maybe they were playing a prank,” he said with a laugh, “My dad works with Steve…I was like, ‘Am I being pranked here? ‘” Her winning photo, taken with a few friends seeking to escape lockdown boredom, paints a dramatic scene at the Merewether Ocean Baths.

“I asked a mate if he wanted to spin a flaming ball of steel wool over his head for a long exposure shot and he was pretty depressed,” Tonks joked, “We tried a few places different, but this one turned out to be the coolest with the water and the blocks in it.”

The two photographers each won a package offered by Domayne @ Kotara. Visit the Newcastle Herald online for a full gallery of finalists.

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This story A genuine ‘Between Lockdowns’ moment wins the 2022 Hunter Photography Award first appeared on the Newcastle Herald.