A BENDIGO artist has taken out a Victorian award for a confronting black and white photograph of his nephew.
Simon Penrose, 25, last night won a Victorian Indigenous Art Award for his work on paper.
It was the first time the amateur photographer had entered his work in a competition.
The Yorta Yorta man said ahead of the awards that he didn’t expect to take out last night’s prize.
I was asked to put some of my work in, Mr Penrose said.
I highly doubt I’ll win. I am just an amateur.
I would put the prize money towards more equipment and maybe go overseas because I have never been overseas before.
Mr Penrose received $5000 as part of the award.
Simon’s photograph is a confronting, arresting image, the award judges commented on the work.
It delivers a potent and poignant message that makes certain demands on the viewer’s imagination and emotions.
Mr Penrose said his nephew, Jahmaine, was with the family on Christmas Day when the photo was taken.
His family had gone through a bit of a tough time, he said.
This was Christmas Day and everyone was happy and he was sitting on the back porch with a blank expression.
Mr Penrose’s photo is in an exhibition with other award winners in Melbourne.
Exhibition curator Hannah Presley said the photograph was a stand-out in its category.
For me, the gaze of the child (makes it) hard to look away, she said.
I think it is a really well done photo technically. It is really crisp.
Mr Penrose, a mental health worker at the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-Op, got into photography at school.
I take photos because it is my way to release from work “ it is good for your mental health, he said.
Work can get pretty draining and I love to get out and take photos at the weekend.
It is a great family experience. We go for a drive on the weekends and my kids go exploring while I take photos.
Mr Penrose said he loved photographing landscapes.
He said the number of indigenous artists practising photography was growing.