Capturing the Australian big picture

Imogen Leese - This is Me editorialThe City of Sydney is inviting established and amateur photographers around Australia to take part in one of the country’s biggest photography competitions.

Australian Life showcases images of Australia in all its forms, with finalists’ images blown up into giant portraits for an outdoor exhibition in Hyde Park from 15 September to 9 October.

The annual exhibition offers one of the biggest cash photography prizes in the country. Twenty finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and the winner of the $10,000 prize announced at the opening of the exhibition on Thursday 15 September.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the competition provides an insight into the lives of people from across the nation, showcasing Australia as a country that offers many varied and unique experiences.

“Since the competition started 15 years ago, we’ve had thousands and thousands of submissions, each depicting the unique characteristics of the Australian way of life,” the Lord Mayor said. “The Australian Life exhibition is a much-loved annual exhibition that brings together friends, families, the community and visitors to delight in images that celebrate our diverse culture and landscapes.

“I encourage photographers across the country to let their imaginations run wild as they capture what Australian life means to them.”

Last year, Michaela Skovranova won the $10,000 prize for her image, Ocean Lovers, described by 2015 judge Tamara Dean as “a sublime moment that is emotionally charged – it elevates a sense of connection between two human beings.”

In addition, the City of Sydney is calling for younger photography enthusiasts aged three to 11 years to share their unique take on the city. Little Sydney Lives is the junior counterpart to the prestigious Australian Life  photography competition.

Last year, three-year-old Bronte McKnight took out honours in the three to seven years age category for an image of her favourite soft toy, titled Unicorn. Imogen Leese, nine, won first prize in the eight to 11 years age category for her ‘selfie’ image, This Is Me.

Twenty images will also be selected as finalists for the Little Sydney Lives exhibition, – and the chance to win a $500 photography prize package, and have their work showcased in an outdoor exhibition in Hyde Park.

Australian Life and Little Sydney Lives is part of the City’s year-round Art & About Sydney program that showcases various forms of art in unusual spaces around Sydney. Entries for both competitions are now open, and close on 29 July 2016.

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Imogen Leese, This Is Me, 2015 (supplied)