New: Frank Hurley Photography Award

Filed under Awards & Commendations, Charity & Non-profit, Heritage & Historical ~ by Press on  24 Jun 2020

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

The Frank Hurley Photography Awards prizes total over AU$30,000. The winner gets a 10 day Antarctic expedition.

From the first time I gazed at the latent image I knew I’d found my real work.”

~ Frank Hurley.

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.

Mark of the Blizzard taken by Hurley in the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) led by Douglas Mawson.
Five categories

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).

Organised by the not-for-profit charity Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the competition hopes to fund raise 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.

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.

The overall winner gets 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 get a high quality camera donated by CameraPro and other selected items valued at nearly AU$2,500.

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 Mr Jensen.

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.

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.”

Full details are available at

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