2020 Info

Over the last 15 years, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize has emerged as an important annual survey of contemporary photographic practice in Australia and one of the most prestigious prizes in the country. The prize continues to showcase excellence in photography with the 2020 iteration no exception.

The judging panel – acclaimed artist Fiona Hall, NGA Senior Curator of Photography, Dr Shaune Lakin, and MGA Director, Anouska Phizacklea – met to view the works in January as the restrictions lifted to discuss the final selection and after much consideration narrowed a strong field of works to four exceptional works to commend.

At a special event held at MGA and streamed online, the $30,000 acquisitive award was presented to artist Christian Thompson for his epic four-panel work ‘Rule of three’ (2020).

Colour Factory Honourable mentions have been awarded to Chris Barry for her intimate portraits titled ‘The Boko family, in situ’ (2020), Janina Green for her exquisite hand-coloured gelatin silver print ‘Two women (back view)’ (2019) and Ponch Hawkes for her humorous take on isolation with her work ‘Isolation husband’ (2020).

2020 finalists:

Klari Agar, Belinda Allen, Sam Amar, Riste Andrievski, Emma Armstrong-Porter, Zoe Arnott, Robert Ashton, Narelle Autio, Reza Bagheri, Kate Baker, Charlie Barker, Chris Barry, Chris Bekos, Madeline Bishop, Tom Blachford, Paul Blackmore, Chris Bond and Drew Pettifer, Jesse Boyd-Reid, Jane Brown, Karen Burgess, Jane Burton, Danica Chappell, Ali Choudhry, Peta Clancy, Michael Cook, Nici Cumpston, Matteo Dal Vera and Michael Weatherill, Tamara Dean, Karla Dickens, Stephen Dupont, Louise Faulkner, Jacqueline Felstead, Anne Ferran, Ash Garwood, Amos Gebhardt, Tom Goldner, John Gollings, Philip Gostelow, Helen Grace, Lee Grant, Janina Green, Helen Grogan, Ponch Hawkes, Leila Jeffreys, Shea Kirk, Shivanjani Lal, Kelvin Lau, Honey Long and Prue Stent, Fiona MacDonald, Alister McKeich, Izabela Pluta, Greg Semu, Damien Shen, Slippage, Valerie Sparks, Cyrus Tang, Christian Thompson, Louise Whelan, Amanda Williams, Anne Zahalka

In light of COVID-19 restrictions and the impact on the sector the MGA Foundation has made a number of alterations to the prize this year. This includes extending the exhibition period over summer with a commitment to ensuring a physical as well as a virtual exhibition. The announcement of the $30,000 winner, Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award recipient of $5,000, and the Colour Factory Honourable Mentions will be celebrated at a special event to be confirmed in January 2021. 


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  • 2022 Info
  • 2022 Specifications and FAQs
  • 2022 Finalists
  • Wai Tang Commissioning Award
  • 2022 Judging panel
  • MGA Foundation
  • History of the prize
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