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Opportunity to enter Queensland’s biggest photography art prize

Emma Clark Gratton

Queensland’s biggest art prize received a boost this year, bringing the total prize money to $50,000.
Opportunity to enter Queensland’s biggest photography art prize

Gerwyn Davies (Australia 1985), Nashua, New South Wales. Prawn, 2016, digital inkjet print. Collection, Gold Coast City Gallery80 x 110cm. 1 of 5, image courtesy the artist

Entries open on Friday 2 June for the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Australia’s leading contemporary photography award. With $25,000 as the main prize and $25,000 in acquisitions for the gallery collection, the prize money has increased significantly from last year.


Entrants from all over the country are welcome – not just Queensland. ‘The Award is open to all Australians’, said Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Director of Gold Coast City Gallery. Only newer works will be considered. ‘Works must have been created no earlier than January 2016,’ she said.

Enter the awards here

The Judge will be looking for a broad range of concepts and ideas, rather than specific criteria or themes. ‘It is an open award which doesn’t limit artists’ creativity to a single theme. This means we can develop a rich and broad prize that covers many current topics and ideas,’ said Cooper-Lavery.

Entrants are encouraged to think outside the box. Contemporary photography is often as much about the act of making a photograph as the subject itself, with Cooper-Lavery noting that many photographic artists now seek a return to physicality, a move away from the previous decade or more of fascination with a clean digital image. 

Last year’s winner, Marking Time by New South Wales photographer Justine Varga, involved manipulating the physicality of the photograph rather than simply capturing an image. In the artist’s statement, Varga described her work as ‘a cameraless photograph that sits at the edge of forgetfulness … a bruised skin of emulsion supported by the fragile armature of memory.’

Justine Varga, Marking Time, 2016 , chromogenic hand printed photograph, courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michel Gallery (2016 Winner).

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award (JUWSPA) was initiated in 2002 by Win Schubert AO, through prize money provided by the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts. The prize honours Mrs Schubert’s friend Josephine Ulrick (1952-1997), a photographer and gallerist.

The 2017 award will have great significance as Gold Coast City Gallery honours the memory of Win Schubert (1937-2017) and her extraordinary, lifelong generosity towards the Gallery and Australian photography. Additionally, Mrs Schubert has donated art valued at more than $1.3 million dollars to the City collection, for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

In 2015, the Arts Centre Gold Coast acquired the administration of a one million dollar trust fund bestowed by Schubert. This generous philanthropic support has allowed Gold Coast City Gallery to continue to host the JUSWPA and diverse associated public programs including artist talks, music performances and popular children’s activities.

The Judge will select one work to win the prize of $25,000, which will be acquired by the Gallery. Further works will be purchased by the Gallery from an additional acquisition pool up to $25,000. This year’s Judge will be announced in the following weeks.  

The exhibition showcases a selection of finalists in a stunning display where established photographers are presented alongside emerging talents. The resulting exhibition is a reflection of contemporary practice that examines diverse themes and approaches.

Entries for JUSWPA 2017 open Friday 2 June and close Friday 14 July 2017. Finalists will be announced on 11 August, and the winner will be announced at the exhibition opening on Friday 8 September 2017. Exhibition dates: 8 September – 22 October 2017.

About the author

Emma Clark Gratton is an ArtsHub staff writer.