A selection of compelling portrait photographs will go on display at the Museum of the Great Southern from Tuesday 5 March as part of the biennial Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FiPP) Retrospective Exhibition.

The stunning exhibition includes entries from local and international photographers, documenting deeply personal stories and moments in life, through the faces of our world’s people.

Fremantle photographer and FiPP founder Dale Neill said the exhibition provides a glimpse into the lives of people through the lens of both professional and amateur photographers.

“The beauty of this competition, and the exhibition, is the images speak for themselves.  They can be taken on the best photographic equipment or on an iphone, it is the composition and emotional depth of the photographs that make them so special,” Mr Neill said.

Exhibition highlights include a portrait of a cancer survivor radiating a quiet strength and joy as natural light delicately shines on her face, and the winning entry of wide-eyed children peering through the window of their make-shift home in Romania.

“We had over 1600 incredible portraits from countries all over the world submitted to the competition. A rigorous and, at times, animated judging process helped narrow that list down to the top 110 images, and we’re excited to display a selection of those at the WA Museum,” Mr Neill said.

Museum of the Great Southern Manager Catherine Salmaggi said the exhibition captures the beauty of the human spirit in its many forms.

“Each portrait demonstrates the depth and intensity of the human experience, whether it be vulnerability, intrigue, fear, strength or joy. We’re thrilled to be hosting this exhibition and I encourage everyone to come and see these striking images.”

Mr Neill said this is the first time the exhibition is travelling to regional Australia.

“My first photography exhibition was in Albany in 1986 and the area has always been a place of inspiration and motivation for me, both personally and on my journey as a photographer. So it’s more than fitting this is the first regional town we’re bringing the exhibition to.

“The catalyst for creating this competition was a Melbourne photographer who, many years ago, said to me there will never be a major portrait competition in WA because people there are ‘culturally sterile’. I wanted to prove him wrong. Ten years later, FiPP is now the most successful photographic portrait competition in WA and one of the biggest in Australia,” Mr Neill said. 

The Fremantle International Portrait Prize competition was created in 2009, and has since attracted more than 6,000 entries from 50 countries. All profits from FiPP are distributed to charitable organisations including the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Foundation of Western Australia and the Kai Eardley Fund.  

Entries for the 2019 FiPP competition open on 5 May, 2019. Visit fipp.org.au for more information.

Mr Neill will also host a series of introductory and intermediate photography workshops at the Vancouver Arts Centre in Albany this March long weekend where participants can learn different types of photography and techniques. More information and bookings visit Eventbrite.

The Fremantle International Portrait Prize will be on display at the Museum of the Great Southern until 26 May 2019.


Media contact

Hillary Henry

Media and Publicity Officer

Western Australian Museum

(08) 6552 7897 / 0466 304 807

A Mother's Strength by Vicki Bell