Arts & Culture


Major new international photography award launched

A new international photography award named after the pioneer of Australian Antarctic photography, Frank Hurley, has been launched.

The Frank Hurley Photography Awards with prizes totaling over AU$30,000 including a 10-day Antarctic expedition for the overall winner, will have a panel of judges including several distinguished Australian and international photographers.

Organised by the not for profit charity Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the competition will assist with fund raising for the conservation of Mawson’s Huts, Cape Denison, East Antarctica, the main base for two years of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) led by Douglas Mawson.

James Francis (Frank) Hurley was the expedition’s official photographer, developing images which captivated the world.  It was the beginning of an illustrious career which spanned five decades, three Antarctic expeditions, two world wars including pioneering documentaries and films in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

The families of both Hurley and Mawson have endorsed the competition which will open to entrants on 1 July 2020.  Hurley’s grand-daughter Julie Byrnes and great grand-daughter Felicity “Flip” Byrnes, both photographers in their own right, warmly embrace the awards which will be held biennially.

The Mawson family through Saxon Douglas Boston, a great grandson of Sir Douglas Mawson, has donated to the Foundation an original Hurley photograph of “Blizzard”, one of the Greenland husky pups born at Cape Denison.  Limited edition prints of this photo will be given to all finalists with the original to be auctioned by the Foundation at a later time.

Entrants will have five categories they can enter with the overall winner walking away with a prize of a 10-day Antarctic expedition from Ushuaia, Argentina plus air fares and accommodation, valued at around AU$15,000. The package has been donated by Sydney based Chimu Adventures the principal sponsor of the Foundation and the Awards.

Winners of each of the five categories will receive a high-quality camera donated by CameraPro and other selected items valued at nearly AU$2,500.

The five categories open to entrants are:

  • Polar (below 60 deg south latitude and above 60 deg north latitude)
  • Scenic (deserts, mountains, lakes, sunsets, sunrises etc)
  • Nature (flora, fauna anywhere in the world and underwater)
  • Portraits of Adventure (taken anywhere in the world but must include one person)
  • Composition (in the tradition of Hurley this category can include multiple exposures, montages and manipulated images).

Entrants will pay a base fee of AU$50 to enter two images in any category/categories, with reduced costs for additional entries. Students aged 18 and under (with a valid student number presented) will be eligible for a 50 per cent discount on entry fees.

The international panel of judges which includes some of the world’s leading photographers, will consist of Stephen Dupont (Australia), Katie Orlinsky (USA), Krystle Wright (Australia), Paul Zizka (Canada), Nick Moir (Chief photographer Sydney Morning Herald) and Janet Carding (Director, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery). Entries open on 1 July and close on 30 October with winners being announced on 2 December is year, which will commemorate the 108th anniversary of Frank Hurley’s departure from Hobart as a member of Mawson’s expedition.

Foundation chairman David Jensen AM said the awards were in recognition of one of the pioneers of Antarctic photography.

“Frank Hurley was one of the outstanding characters of Mawson’s expedition. He was a comedian, storyteller, jokester and prankster who lifted spirits and created laughter during the endless darkness of the winter months with blizzards roaring outside,” said David

“But more importantly he was a brilliant photographer who worked tirelessly taking hundreds of still images and recording thousands of feet of film to create an everlasting record of the expedition.

“Frank was fearless in his pursuit of getting the images he wanted, risking his life standing on treacherous sea ice, clambering up the rigging of ships with his gear and working in blizzards with wind speeds over 100 kph. Nothing daunted his spirit of endeavour or excitement which was evidenced throughout his career,” he said

“The Foundation hopes the Frank Hurley Photography Awards will attract photographers from around the globe and assist in raising funds for the conservation of the historic Mawson’s Huts site where Hurley first developed images of Antarctica which captured the world’s imagination,” said David.

Full details are available on our which was designed by Vicki McGuiness (VM Design in Sydney)