Local talent on display in NAIDOC ‘Heal Country’ photo competition

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Jessica Bradley’s award-winning photograph Next Generation’s Footprints.
Camera IconJessica Bradley’s award-winning photograph Next Generation’s Footprints. Credit: Jessica Bradley

Heal Country was the theme given to inspire contestants in this year’s NAIDOC Photo Competition, which resulted in some vivid and stunning imagery.

The entries were unveiled and judged at the Geraldton Library on Tuesday morning, with 37 photographers of all ages and skill levels entered across five categories.

But the star of the show was Jessica Bradley and her photograph titled Next Generation’s Footprints, which won not only the 16-to-30 age group but also the $250 overall prize.

“It looks like my older son is talking to my younger son, just teaching him our ways,” Ms Bradley said.

The winning photo was taken on a phone camera, but Ms Bradley said she hoped to use the prize money to upgrade her equipment.

Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service CEO and competition judge Deborah Woods said Ms Bradley’s picture most captured the essence of the competition’s theme.

“It’s like he’s telling him stuff. We’re here in this special place, surrounded by such a powerful force in the water. We respect so much about the ocean and our connection to the ocean is so powerful,” Ms Woods said.

Former contestant Roni Kerley took up a judging role this year, a decision she said she was glad to have made.

“From last year to here, you would think there’s been 10 years of development in some of the photographers,” Ms Kerley said.

The competition rules were changed this year, limiting each entrant to just one photo. The youngest prize winner was six-year-old Jace Kelly, whose photo Sand and Fun was judged second in the under 15s category, behind his sister Marissa, aged 13.

The exhibition was initially planned to be a one-day event, but with help from the library every entry will remain on display until January 31.

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