Scholarship photography exemplars - 2019

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Outstanding Scholarship

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Panel 1 (JPG, 356KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 301KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 308KB)

Entire Folio (JPG, 803KB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 2.5MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 2.2MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 2MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 2.2MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 2.1MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 2.2MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 2.4MB)

This Outstanding Scholarship Photography submission presents an astute, heartfelt, and thoughtful account of the candidate’s relationship with an older couple whom he met by chance, and came to know in person and through the camera over an extended period. The narrative presented is a genuine enquiry and the candidate is clearly cognisant of the privilege of being able to share this story and experience. 

This black-and-white documentary folio is essentially a portrait of an older man, Richard (Dick) Paku, and his wife, Anna Paku, photographed over seven months in and around their home and farm. The workbook is an important component of this submission. It reveals a crucial part of the story, which is that Dick has Alzheimer’s disease. The workbook outlines and analytically frames the relationship the candidate has, first, with Dick and, then, with Anna, along with the changes that slowly occur between and for Dick and Anna. 

Initially, the candidate was interested in the idea of daily routines through observations of Dick attending to farm chores. This everyday aspect can be seen in the recording of Dick carrying out his various jobs, such as milking a cow and drinking cups of tea. As they become more familiar with one another, the focus shifts into Dick’s home life, capturing him looking at family photographs, positioning the idea of memory as an effect of Alzheimer’s. There is an intimacy in the way these images are composed; they reflect the poignancy of the topic, but also the photographer's relationship to the subject. 

Throughout the folio, the camera utilises multiple vantage points and various lighting situations from early natural morning light to low-lit and artificially lit interiors. This tactic encourages the viewer to focus on the facial expressions, details of hands, and the subtleties of gesture and posture. Progressively, the photographs become more contrasted ‘over time’ with high-key black-and-whites. The last sequence of photographs, taken in the lounge room, employ a purposeful use of the blurring technique to allude to the subject’s Alzheimer’s journey and increasing isolation.

The workbook demonstrates the intelligence and sensitivity of the enquiry undertaken. It is a generous and insightful sharing of the student’s process and methodology, but also their relationship with Dick and Anna. The candidate states it was after researching artist Glen Busch that they approached Dick to ask if they could photograph him, having noticed him every day on their way to school. Many details and thoughts about the student's observations and feelings about ‘the subject’ are recorded, with strong reflections on various passages of work analysed. Together, the folio and workbook present a sophisticated and respectful engagement with the photography medium and the lives of Dick and Anna.

(Click icons to see large versions in a new window)

Panel 1 (JPG, 369KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 330KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 349KB)

>Entire Folio (JPG, 864KB)

Sample Workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 2.1MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 1.7MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 1.5MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 1.7MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 1.7MB)


This Scholarship Photography submission presents a playful and comprehensive enquiry around the consumption of food. The investigation systematically moves through what is a well-framed proposal that considers how everyday life can reveal insights into food habits and ritual, as well as pertinent social, cultural and political contexts. Using the dinner table as a site of activity, it takes as its topic the social and everyday nature of food. While the enquiry focuses on routines of eating, there is an overriding quality of theatre and performance that is successfully pursued throughout the entire investigation.

Aesthetics are used to advance the exploratory approach that leads the enquiry. Formal devices are employed to compositionally develop the subject matter through viewpoint, repetition, composition and staging.

Photographic conventions are liberally and confidently managed to create emphasis and focus; these include bird's-eye-view photography, use of flash, cropping, warm colour tones, rule of thirds, and snapshot aesthetic. These approaches all sit in contrast to typical food advertising or magazine photography, reinforcing the everyday. The work makes some strategic shifts from order to chaos, from the palatable to something slightly sickening in nature (abject imagery) to refer to the idea of idealisation versus reality. This is further explored by looking at the aftermath of consumption (detritus) versus just remaining with the process of eating.

The models / people are treated as a cast, introducing a performative element, while also providing a strong sense of directorship. In the workbook, profiles of each model are listed or outlined, which are witty and act as a précis of their personal relationship to the candidate, food, and its role in their everyday lives. Humour and the candidate's obvious affection for the models support the authentic and light-hearted treatment of the subject matter. This is a smart way to tackle the seriousness that underpins this well-researched project.

Critical concepts that are part of the related terrain, such as the social (activities that occur in and around mealtimes), are well-addressed. The seemingly brash approach to the subject matter is effectively controlled and purposeful. The candidate reflects on issues of waste to explore the more pressing matters they identify about the food supply, consumption, society, obesity, health, greed – as well as the religious references made to iconography such as da Vinci's The Last Supper and the sharing of food. The workbook-folio relationship is a strength of this Scholarship submission; the enquiry is well-supported by a breadth of interconnected artistic reference and analytical insights that are explored on the folio with an audacity that matches the subject.

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