National Photographic Portrait Prize winner announced

Andrew Cowen, Matthew Martin 2013A photograph that has captured a reflective moment of cartoonist Matthew Martin has won the 2014 National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Sydney photographer Andrew Cowen has won the $25,000 award announced at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, saying he enjoys the process of shooting portraits because it allows him to slow down. He believes his contemplative image captured the essence of Martin.

Melbourne photographer David Apostol, who shot a dark self-portrait of himself sitting in a sparse kitchen, leaning towards an open oven, was declared the runner-up. The National Photographic Portrait Prize aims to promote the best in contemporary photographic portraiture produced by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers

Judges Dr Sarah Engledow, National Portrait Gallery Curator, Dr Chris Chapman, National Portrait Gallery Senior Curator and acclaimed Australian photographer and guest judge, Greg Weight, selected the final 45 portraits from more than 1400 original entries which now make up the exhibition at the Canberra Gallery.

In a statement released on behalf of the judges, it said: “The winning portrait achieves maximum visual impact through the use of minimal, elegant composition – and then it begins to work psychologically. There is no doubt in this portrait Mathew Martin appears to be deep in thought. It’s a perfect use of restraint by the photographer Andrew Cowen.”

The National Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 is showing at the National Portrait Gallery until 9 June, and then will tour to Wagga Wagga and Cowra in New South Wales, Wangaratta in Victoria and Devonport in Tasmania.

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Image: Andrew Cowen, Matthew Martin 2013 (detail)