Life caught on camera takes top award

AAR-Australian-Life-A-family-captured-on-the-way-to-a-rental-inspection-Camperdown-Sydney-photo-by-Sam-FerrisThe Australian Life photography competition crown has gone to photographer Samuel Ferris for their image, On The Way To Inspections.

The image of Ferris’ family rushing between rental inspections in Sydney last year was picked from 28 finalists, a mix of amateurs and professionals, to win the $10,000 cash prize.

The winner was announced at the launch of the outdoor Australian Life exhibition on Thursday 14 September 2023.

“Every year it’s a difficult task to select the winner of Australian Life and 2023 was no different, with some incredible images on display encapsulating what it is to live in this diverse, beautiful, country,” said Lord Mayor Clove Moore AO.

“I congratulate Samuel Ferris on the win, for their ‘On The Way To Inspections’ image. I also congratulate all the finalists who now have their works displayed in one of the most iconic locations in Sydney. Artists of all kinds bring our city to life, help shape its identity and spirit, and give it depth and resonance.”

The City of Sydney invests at least $40 million in Sydney’s cultural life each year. This includes producing free major public events like Sydney New Year’s Eve and Art & About, sponsoring major festivals like the Sydney Festival and Biennale, commissioning new public artworks, and providing practical support and funding for our creative communities.

The winners of the Little Sydney Lives photography competition were also announced at the launch. Pina Macedone from Erskineville won the age 3 to 7 years category for the image, Charlotte of The Inner West. Orson Ferris from Newtown won the age 8 to 12 years category for the image, Man With His Parrot – both winners take home a $500 photography pack.

“It is delightful to see our youngest photographers share how they see life in the harbour city,” said the Lord Mayor. “These dual exhibitions, at Customs House Library and Customs House Square, will delight both visitors and locals, but will inspire the next generation of photographers and creatives.”

Winners of the photography competitions were selected by a panel of judges including Australian Life 2022 winner Matthew Abbott, Awesome Black’s Travis De Vries, documentary photographer Sandy Edwards, and prominent Australian photographer Liz Ham.

Curator Sandy Edwards said judges were drawn to the diverse images from a strong field of entrants, with the winning image a perfect example of street photography. “It feels classic and modern as it simultaneously speaks to the past. It feels like a moment of discomfort, waiting in limbo for something to happen, to resolve things,” said Edwards.

A gallery of all Australian Life finalist images can be viewed online, with an option to vote for a People’s Choice winner. An OM System professional photography pack, valued at over $2,300, will be presented to the people’s choice winner at the closing of the exhibition.

The Australian Life and Little Sydney Lives exhibitions will run until 8 October. For more information on all the Australian Life and Little Sydney Lives winners and finalists, visit: for details.

Image: Samuel Ferris, On the Way to Inspections, Winner Australian Life 2023  – courtesy of City of Sydney