Simon Devitt Prize for Photography Winners 2023

From UOA News

Beautiful portrait teases a life of rich memories

Bachelor of Fine Arts student Anna Finch has been awarded the 2023 Simon Devitt Prize for Photography.

The theme of 2023’s competition was Evidence to Suggest a Life, which students from across the faculty portrayed in diverse, surprising ways. The judges, including prize sponsor Simon Devitt, praised Anna Finch’s winning photograph, saying “Portrait of Phyril is a striking image that responds to the competition’s theme with a notable restraint. Their face falls below the frame of the image and the viewer is left to consider where, and who they might be.”

It’s a tonally rich work. While it leaves much to the viewer, it beautifully captures an environment and Phyril’s physical presence.

— Simon Devitt Photographer and prize sponsor

In response to the choice of medium, Anna explained “There is something wonderfully crunchy about film photography. Its grain and grit provide another index. Analogue photography requires us to operate at a different pace, a slow reveal through rituals. Time proved to be the evidence that suggests a life.”

I sought to capture traces of a railwayman, an infamous paisley robe, and the firm handshake that greeted the boyfriends of six daughters. Of a tangible, physical Life that exists in tales and memory: my Phyril. Captured after tea and Griffin’s Lemon Treats biscuits and an eyebrow trim, before a cold lunch spread, and between eleven other frames of a giggling 92- and 88-year-old.

— Anna Finch, Bachelor of Fine Arts

The Simon Devitt Prize for Photography is an annual competition that is now in its 16th year, open to students studying Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, Urban Design or Urban Planning at Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland. Creative Arts and Industries thanks Simon Devitt for the ongoing support he provides.

Highly Commended: Arianna Ramos

I was inspired by artist Francesca Woodman and her peculiar way of observing movement and surroundings. This photograph is part of a series of images I took interested in our binded nature to the earth, and the earth to us.

— Arianna Ramos, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Highly Commended: Yin-Chi Lee

弓在箭要射出之前,低聲對箭說道: 你的自由就是我的自由。
“The bow whispers to the arrow before it speeds forth—Your freedom is mine.

The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis (1995-1996) sealed my fate for eventually being flung like an arrow across the Pacific Oceans, carrying my elders’ dreams for a better life. Being separated from families for almost two decades I am reminded the weight of the bow that stayed behind. Aotearoa was an ideological concept for my parents, a wetland for the lost birds seemingly too abstract to step one’s feet onto.

To live up to the dream of freedom as a grateful guest on another home, my memories of home fractured, forever plural and hyphenated. Under the ongoing geopolitical threats and fear, I remember whose freedom I am living, whilst cannot help but long for a home which maybe never was.”

More News

Simon Devitt Prize for Photography 2023

, , ,
Beautiful portrait teases a life of rich memories for Bachelor of Fine Arts student Anna Finch, winner of the 2023 Simon Devitt Prize for Photography.

Simon Devitt Prize for Photography 2022

, , ,
Beguiling, uncanny image wins annual photography prize. Master of Architecture student Gujin Chung wins the 2022 Simon Devitt Prize for Photography.
Simon Devitt Prize for Photography 2021 Winner

Simon Devitt Prize for Photography 2021

, , ,
Congratulations to our 2021 winner: Chloe Alderton, Master of Urban Planning and Urban Design student with ‘The quarter acre dream’.