Photojournalist Andrew Quilty has been awarded the 2016 Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year for an image showing the body of a man on an operating table inside the Medecins Sans Frontieres Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan, following the Oct. 3, 2015, attack by an American AC-130 gunship on the hospital in which 42 were killed, including MSF staff, patients and patient carers.
The finalists have been announced for the 61st Annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, along with the 2016 Photo of the Year. Here are winners and finalists from this year’s entries.
Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism supports these prestigious awards, which include the following categories:
Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year
Alex Coppel, Herald Sun
Jason Edwards, Herald Sun
Andrew Quilty, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, TIME Lightbox and SBS.com.au
Annette Dew, News Corp Australia, “Close your eyes, I love you”
Jake Nowakowski, Herald Sun, “Moomba Gang Riot”
Andrew Quilty, Foreign Policy, “The Man on The Operating Table”
Danella Bevis, The West Australian, “The Day After”
Eddie Jim, Good Weekend Magazine, Fairfax Media, “Standing Tall”
David Maurice Smith, Guardian Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, The Globe and Mail and Mother Jones Magazine, “Refugee Crisis in the Balkans”
Scott Barbour, Getty Images, “Peak of the Action”
Eddie Jim, The Age, Fairfax Media, “Champagne Shower”
Cameron Spencer, Getty Images, “The Defining Moment”
Winners are also announced for two photography prizes. The winners each receive $5,000 worth of Nikon gear.
Nikon-Walkley Portrait Prize
Winner: Brian Cassey, News Corp Australia, “Beaten Refugee”
Nikon-Walkley Community/Regional Prize
Winner: Marc McCormack, The Cairns Post, “Body of Work”
The finalists’ photographs will be toured around the nation in a series of free public exhibitions and are currently on display at the State Library of New South Wales and the ABC in Brisbane. The Walkleys thank Nikon for its support of the photography awards and prizes.
Documentary Award shortlist
Three outstanding documentaries have been shortlisted for the Walkley Documentary Award. These films capture Australia’s longest-running war, the nation’s domestic violence problem, and tragedy on Mount Everest. They are:
Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War, Chris Hilton, Alan Erson, Victoria Midwinter Pitt (Essential Media and Entertainment, ABC TV and Screen Australia)
Hitting Home, Sarah Ferguson, Nial Fulton and Ivan O’Mahoney (In Films and ABC TV)
Sherpa, Jennifer Peedom, Bridget Ikin and John Smithson (Felix Media)
Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year
Winner: Andrew Quilty
“Man on the Operating Table”
A patient later identified as 43-year-old husband and father of four Baynazar Mohammad Nazar lies dead on the operating table inside the Médecins Sans Frontières Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan, following the October 3 attack by an American AC-130 gunship in which 42 were killed, including MSF staff, patients and patient carers.
It’s an arresting image. Even before you know the background to the photograph, that single frame condemns war’s toll on the innocent. Photojournalist Andrew Quilty describes the scene that met him in Kunduz:
“In the operating room, the surgical bed was empty except for a thin layer of concrete dust. The second room had been harder hit. A man’s body, arms and legs outstretched, lay supine on the operating table with a cannula inserted in his left forearm. Blotches of rust-coloured antiseptic stained his torso; there was a steel bracket fixed to his right thigh. A surgical curtain had collapsed across his chest and shoulders above where a ceiling panel lay across his abdomen. On the cushioned head support, the patient’s bearded jaw was all that remained of his head — the rest appeared to have been sheared off by shrapnel or a large ammunition round.
“The body of the man on the operating table had been the only one among the human remains in the trauma centre that was still somewhat visibly identifiable. And when I first saw him, this man had been lying dead on that operating table for a week as the fighting continued to rage across the city.
“It would be four more weeks before I’d learn his name.”
Nikon-Walkley Portrait Prize
Winner: Brian Cassey
News Corp Australia
Iraqi asylum seeker Abdullatif Almoftaji stares through the wire of a police cell in the town of Lorengau on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Abdullatif was 17 years old when he was detained trying to enter Australia three years ago.
Photographer Brian Cassey says: “I first met Abdullatif at a Lorengau guest house. A couple of days later we heard that he had gone on a drunken bender with another asylum seeker and it was alleged that he tried to steal food and other items from the guest house.”
Abdullatif was arrested, charged with several offences and thrown into the police cell, wounded, with just shorts and a torn shirt.
Cassey made the image through a hole in the cell wire. Later a police officer caught him trying to pass Abdullatif food and a new shirt through the same hole and threatened to lock him up too.
Nikon-Walkley Community/Regional Prize
Winner: Marc McCormack
The Cairns Post
Body of work
Bee on Track. A European honey bee fitted with an electronic tag the size of a piece of glitter. This image was shot in the field with a 100mm macro lens and portable flash.
Let’s “Tango”. Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango becomes a part of a vast tree sculpture. The installation Art Magic: The Climbing Tree was created by Tango and more than 1000 people over six months at the Cairns Regional Gallery, using kilometres of brightly coloured material and with the rainforest as inspiration.
Finalist: Scott Barbour
“Peak of the Action”
Daisy Pearce. The Melbourne Demons’ Daisy Pearce is tackled by Emily Bates and Delma Gisu of the Brisbane Lions in an AFL match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 22, 2016.
Shadow Play. Players cast long shadows as the Western Bulldogs’ Mitch Wallis passes the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 8 match against the Melbourne Demons at the MCG.
Finalist: Eddie Jim
The Age, Fairfax Media
Make it rain! To celebrate Jim Cassidy’s retirement after a 30-year career of professional riding, fellow jockey Glen Boss gives him a spray on Oaks Day 2015 at the Flemington Racecourse. In a single frame, Age photographer Eddie Jim captures all the jubilation and emotion of these old friends and competitors.
Finalist: Cameron Spencer
“The Defining Moment”
Say Cheese. Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men’s 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Olympic Games on August 14, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Finalist: Annette Dew
News Corp Australia
“Close your eyes, I love you”
It’s a rare and heartbreaking sight — a son wheeled in on a stretcher bed to his father’s funeral. The service was delayed so that 17-year-old Brendan Powell could attend from hospital after being injured in a crane collapse at Newstead that killed his father, aerial photographer Chris Powell. Photographer Annette Dew captured a family’s loss and grief.
Mourners dabbed away tears as Lea Powell shared a quiet moment with Brendan, an image of the husband and father they’d lost atop his casket. It was a miracle the teen survived the crane collapse, and those gathered in the Bray Park community church were told it was his father, Chris, and God who had “given him back” to them.
“I feel your last gift to me was to save my baby boy, Brendan,” Mrs Powell said in a letter to her late husband. “I know in those seconds, you saved his life. You would have only been worried about him.”
The family revealed that his final, heartbreaking words to Brendan were: “Close your eyes, I love you.”
Finalist: Jake Nowakowski
“Moomba Gang Riot”
“The police presence failed to deter the warring factions, nor did the police have the numbers to effectively put a stop to the violence. The situation continued to escalate: A fight would break out, followed by a chase, followed by another fight, followed by another chase. Violent clashes took place in Swanston Street, Flinders Lane, Flinders Street, Collins Street and City Square.”
Finalist: Danella Bevis
The West Australian
“The Day After”
Arrest. Two young men are surrounded by riot police after being arrested.
Finalist: Eddie Jim
Good Weekend Magazine, Fairfax Media
Koko Makura is an eight-year-old boy from remote Papua New Guinea who came to Australia to undergo life-changing surgery. An accident when he was a toddler left Koko with a deformed leg. Photographer Eddie Jim shares his journey in a series of images from his family and village to very modern hospital scenes — and a true happy ending for Koko. It’s a narrative so complete you could call it a “visual book”, as the judges did.
Jim observes Koko’s story with compassion and beauty:
“Koko Makura is the youngest of eight children. His mother Kapeta Makura proudly describes him as a keen sportsman and very good at playing basketball and rugby.
“Australian aid groups No Roads to Health and Children First Foundation brought Koko to Melbourne, where orthopaedic surgeon Leo Donnan of St Vincent’s Private Hospital operated on his leg to remove the 90-degree bend. The surgery took four to five hours. The recovery took longer, but the transformation is remarkable — not just physically, but it has put a smile on the face of Koko and his family.
“What does a life-changing surgery mean to an eight-year-old boy? For now, it is about being able to walk, run, hop, cycle, and play.”
Finalist: David Maurice Smith
Guardian Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Globe and Mail and Mother Jones Magazine
“Refugee Crisis in the Balkans”
In 2015 the world witnessed a scale of human displacement unseen since World War II as millions of men, women and children fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and elsewhere seeking safe haven. In a series that’s powerful from start to finish, photographer David Maurice Smith traces the desperation, despair and dignity of some of these journeys.
“The Balkan Route, as it became known, represented an unofficial path to the perceived sanctuary of Western Europe, and as the flow of refugees swelled with no end in sight, many of the Balkan Route countries found themselves grossly unprepared and/or unwilling to deal with the crisis. These countries rushed to seal their borders and repel refugees, actions that added further risk and suffering to an already traumatised group of refugees.
“The scale and significance of this crisis meant that as a photojournalist who focuses on the issues impacting marginalised communities I felt the need to cover this story. It was (and continues to be) a tragic situation with global implications that overlap multiple contemporary matters, including human rights, world politics, global security and national identity. While geographically isolated from the events themselves, Australia is directly connected to this story considering our role in the root causes of foreign military campaigns and our obligations to the rights of asylum seekers.”
Press Photographer of the Year
Finalist: Alex Coppel
Fernando Alonso’s Exit Turn 2. Fernando Alonso hits the wall on turn three of the Melbourne Grand Prix, sending his car into a spin.
Ahmed Kelly. Paralympian Ahmed Kelly powers through the water, with his prosthetic legs by the side of the pool.
Finalist: Jason Edwards
Melbourne Ballet Company lead dancer Kristy Lee Denovan at Princess Pier.
Jason Edwards has beautifully captured a year of politics, sport and art in Australia. Through his lens he has also helped put a human face to social issues in the news, like his image of three generations of the Giliam family, whose dairy business was threatened by low milk prices.
“The Victorian milk crisis rallied a nation as we watched shelves empty of farm-owned brands while supermarket-owned cheaper versions were left untouched. As ours was one of the first stories published on the issue, I wanted to show Victorians straight up what was at stake. Will Giliam’s grandson Max, 2, get to live the great Australian dairy farmer life that his granddad has? Australians look at our farmers as heroes, and they are. After they pioneered the land, then battled through the harsh climate, will corporate greed spell the end of an iconic Australian luxury we have grown to take for granted?”
Finalist: Andrew Quilty
Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, TIME Lightbox and SBS.com.au
Helmand Frontline. Afghan National Policemen rest inside an isolated checkpoint less than 100m from a compound under Taliban control in Chah-e Anjir, Helmand Province. Since this photo was taken, the Taliban have taken over the outpost and surrounding area.
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