Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture 20152015 Olive Cotton Award Exhibition Catalogue (3.86mB PDF)
Billie Ann Bull
Raimond de Weerdt
and Rohan Thomson
Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture
A $20,000 biennial national award for excellence in photographic portraiture dedicated to the memory of Olive Cotton, one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers. The winning work is acquired for the Gallery’s Collection.
The exhibition is selected from entrants across Australia and is a significant opportunity for both emerging and established photographers.
In 2005 Tweed Regional Gallery launched the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture
, funded by Olive Cotton’s family and dedicated to her memory as one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers.
The Award has grown and gained national recognition attracting entries from well-known and emerging photographers across Australia.
The Olive Cotton Award
now boasts a major acquisitive biennial prize of $20,000, selected by the Award judge. In addition, the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc. fund $4000 for the acquisition of portraits from the exhibition entries to be chosen by the Gallery Director. Visitors to the exhibition may also vote for their 'people’s choice', which awards $250 for to the most popular finalist.
The Gallery thanks art dealer Josef Lebovic and photographer Sally McInerney, Olive Cotton’s daughter, for their ongoing support of the Award and also the Friends of the Gallery committee for their contributions, both financial and practical, to the Award and public program events. We also thank the many volunteers who assist with the huge task of receiving and despatching artworks and many other facets of the Prize organisation.
Trent Parke Candid portrait of a woman on a street corner 2013
Acquired as the Winner of the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture, 2013 Tamara DeanDamien Skipper 2011
pure pigment print on rag paper
Acquired as the Winner of the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture, 2011
A short biography of Olive Cotton
Adapted from information provided by Sally McInerney, May 2005.
Olive Cotton (1911-2003) discovered the art of photography in childhood and stayed committed to it all her life. Her mother was a talented painter who died young; her father, a geologist, had learnt the elements of photography for his journey to the Antarctic in 1907 and later taught it to his children.
Having graduated with an Arts degree, Olive Cotton worked successfully as a photographer at the Dupain studios in Sydney until the end of World War II, then moved with her new husband Ross McInerney, to the bush near Koorawatha, NSW. For 20 years she had no access to darkroom facilities, but kept taking photographs.
In 1964 Cotton opened a small studio in Cowra and took local portraits, weddings and commissions. After a 40 year absence from the city art scene she re-emerged in 1985 with her first solo show at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, she then concentrated on rediscovering and printing her life's work. A major exhibition of Cotton's works was shown at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000.