Winners of the 66th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism Announced
The Walkley Awards, Australia’s pre-eminent national journalism awards, recognise and reward the best in the craft and set the industry standard for excellence.
Finalists were selected in October 2021 by panels of peers on the basis of overall merit and journalistic excellence. The Walkley Foundation encourages a diversity of entries from journalists around Australia. This year 1280 entries were received.
Nikon Australia is proud to support the Walkley Foundation and congratulates all of the finalists and winners on their incredible images. To see the full list of 2021 winners and finalists, please visit: https://www.walkleys.com/.
Viewers are advised that this exhibition includes graphic images that may be confronting. It may not be easy to look at all of them, but we believe it’s important for the world to see, as do Australia’s talented and dedicated photojournalists. Viewer discretion is advised.
2021 Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year
Alex Coppel, Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail
Alex Coppel positioned himself to get breaking news at the right moment and to capture the emotion in the news events he was shooting. The result is a strong body of work displaying a variety of technical skills. The judges said: “With a rock-solid body of work, Alex Coppel has displayed a true portfolio of news, sport and features. From protests to the Olympics, across a breadth of work and a range of situations, each image is arresting. Coppel is a sheer all-rounder who has captured the emotion in all of his stories.”
Jason Edwards, Herald Sun
Jason Edwards’ entry statement said: “2020 into 2021 was another year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In between the lockdowns, protests and hours of press conferences, regular Australians tried to live their lives as best they could. In reality, the highs and lows of average life were amplified by the pandemic, making it harder for the people and harder for the media to report on the news, but more important than ever.” The judges agreed Edwards’ portfolio shows the range of what he can do. “Not only is there a good variety of technical skills, strong portraits and breaking news, but his shots are emotive to the point of giving you goosebumps”.
Chris Hopkins, The Age, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Al Jazeera
In an increasingly competitive climate for freelance photojournalists in Australia, Chris Hopkins’ year in pictures is highlighted by the variety of features and news work he produced. The portfolio covers portraiture, breaking news and feature reportage. The judges said you could feel the empathy in Chris Hopkins’ photography. “You really feel like he’s in the moment embedded with his subjects, and it comes through in his portraits.”
Alex Coppel, Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail & The Adelaide Advertiser, “The Games that Had to Happen”
The judges praised Alex Coppel’s five-picture series, saying: “Every shot is a peak moment that Alex has nailed.”
Michael Dodge, Tennis Australia and Instagram, “Unguarded Moments”
Michael Dodge’s images from the 2021 Australian Tennis Open shed light on the athletes’ journeys, on and off the court. The judges said Dodge’s black-and-white treatment highlighted his beautiful use of light, shade and contrast.
Jason Edwards, Herald Sun and The Australian, “The Crux”
“A whole life’s work in one remarkable shot” is how the judges described Jason Edwards’ single image entry. “You get one chance to take a photo like this. How could he have done it better?”
Feature / Photographic Essay
Dean Sewell, The Sun Herald, “Of Mice and Men”
Dean Sewell’s outstanding series of images captures the overwhelming scale of one man’s struggle to protect his property from the mouse plague. The judges said: “The well-edited series comprises 12 frames that highlight not only the photographer’s technical skills but also his storytelling ability. Every photo you would want is here.”
Scott Barbour, Tennis Australia, “2021 Australian Open”
At an Australian Open like no other, Scott Barbour was assigned the task of going behind the scenes at the tournament. The judges said Barbour captured not only the players but the coaches and the many people behind the athletes as well. “This is a good look behind the scenes at the players’ daily life that we don’t normally see. It’s all perfectly done, not just the shooting but also the final presentation. The series flows beautifully in black-and-white.”
Jake Nowakowski, Herald Sun and The Weekend Australian Magazine, “Superheroes in Lockdown”
Jake Nowakowski’s “Superheroes in Lockdown”, produced during Melbourne’s prolonged and restive lockdown in the second half of 2020, is a COVID-driven story, but one that brings lightness and makes us laugh. The judges said: “Technically you cannot fault any of it. A clever idea, beautifully presented, and such a good way to show people’s daily lives changed by COVID. This is a feature essay and it’s impeccable.”
Brook Mitchell, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Sydney Anti-lockdown Protest”
On July 24, 2021, Central Sydney was shut down for several hours as thousands of protesters breached COVID-19 restrictions to march against the increasing lockdown restrictions. It was Brook Mitchell’s photo of a protester punching a police horse that captured the chaos and violence for the rest of the nation to see. The judges said: “The fearlessness of this work is not to be underestimated. A reporter can sit on the edge of a protest like this, but a photographer is immersed. There is energy and dynamism in this set of images, and the photo of the horse had a huge impact.”
Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Fighting COVID-19 Delta”
“This sums up COVID like no other picture,” the judges said. “It’s one of the strongest pictures of the whole year, and you don’t have to read a caption to know the story.”
Justin McManus, The Age, “Anti-lockdown Protest”
Justin McManus’s “Anti-Lockdown Protest” captured the violent protest by about 300 people at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on September 5, 2020. The judges said events like this highlight the courage and tenacity of the photographers who cover them.
“The photographer is in the thick of battle here, no doubt getting it from both sides, police and protesters. McManus has done a great job on a hectic, scary day; he’s nailed it. This is great news photography – he’s put himself amongst it all to get images that are strong, powerful and have that energy about them. He’s in the middle of it and he’s got the aftermath as well.”
2021 NIKON PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE WINNERS
These are not Walkley Awards, but prizes administered by the Walkley Foundation on behalf of Nikon. These photos will also appear in the Nikon-Walkley Press Photography exhibition.