"Tribute to Indigenous Stock Women" wins major photography prize

‘Tribute to Indigenous Stock Women’ wins major photography prize


Australia’s First Nations women are the subjects of photographer David Prichard’s Taylor Wessing Prize portraits, which was awarded on Monday in London’s Cromwell Place.

Prichard, 55, took out first prize worth £15,000 (AUD$27,441) for his series, Tribute to Indigenous Stock Women, which depicts the women who have spent most of their working lives on cattle stations in northern Queensland.

“I have always been respectful of cultural and social sensitivities and subsequently built trust with the community, which led me to be invited to photograph the women,” he said in a statement, reflecting on his series. 

“Their physically demanding labour as stock women involved a range of duties, from cooking and other homestead chores, to maintaining the welfare of the livestock, often on horseback. The cultural and social history of stock women has gone almost completely unrecorded.” 

Prichard, who based in Sydney, acknowledged the individuals who he captured for their trust, saying he was “only the vehicle for the women to tell their stories”.

He also said that he wanted to highlight a community that has mostly been unrecorded.

The judges said they admired the strength and beauty portrayed in the portraits.

“In making these portraits the photographer had created a space for the dignified, proud and respectful representation of each of his sitters and their personal histories,” they said in a statement. 

Prichard studied photography at Sydney Technical College and has worked in film and photography around the world. 

He shot the winning pictures after being commissioned to create portraits by Queensland’s Normanton Council following a 2019 exhibition on First Nation rodeo riders in the region.

He was a 2018 finalist in the National Portrait Prize, Australia, and this latest win was his first entry to Taylor Wessing Prize. 

He beat fellow nominees Pierre-Elie de Pibrac, 38 who came in second place for the series Hakanai Sonzai, which showed Japanese residents who were still exiled from their contaminated homes following the nuclear meltdown a decade ago. 

Katya Ilina, came in third, for the portrait David, which is part of a series of portraits celebrating positive body image while challenging notions of masculinity and femininity.

The Taylor Wessing Prize is in its fourteenth year, and is widely revered as one of the most prestigious photography prizes.

The winning portraits will be displayed at Cromwell Place in South Kensington London, as part of the prize’s annual exhibition, displaying until January 2022. 

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