Twice a year, Brisbane Powerhouse hosts an exhibition that makes me wish I was a photojournalist – the World Press Photo Exhibition and the currently showing Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition.
The Nikon-Walkley exhibition showcases the best in Australian photojournalism from the previous year, and contains some wonderful examples of the craft. Not least of which is Andrew Quilty’s photo of the year “Baby Burn Victim in Boost Hospital”, which shows a baby in Afghanistan, completely wrapped in a space blanket being treated for burns from an oil heater.
Although these kind of images are what we generally see in press photography exhibitions, what I really love about the Nikon-Walkley exhibition is the photographs of Australian life. Maybe it’s because of the lack of the ‘discretion advised” war photography room, but the Australian images almost always seem so much more vibrant than those we generally see in the World Press Photo. These couple of shots from Brett Costello’s sport collection are fine examples.
Of course, I always come away with a favourite photograph or photo essay from the exhibition. This year, it was Lisa Maree Willams’ series with the Walker family on Rio Station in central Queensland. The optimism in these photos of a family suffering through Queensland’s worst drought really captures for me the spirit of Australia, and illustrates perfectly the warmth and beauty of this country and its people.
The Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition is free, at Brisbane Powerhouse until April 26.