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Nikon-Walkley awards 2016: the best photographs Nikon-Walkley awards 2016: the best photographs
A look at some of this year’s winners and finalists in the prestigious annual photographic awards for excellence in Australian photojournalism – accompanied by... Nikon-Walkley awards 2016: the best photographs

A look at some of this year’s winners and finalists in the prestigious annual photographic awards for excellence in Australian photojournalism – accompanied by the opinions of the awards team and words from the photographers themselves.

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NIKON-WALKLEY PHOTO OF THE YEAR WINNER A patient, later identified as 43-year-old husband and father of four, Baynazar Mohammad Nazar, lies dead on the operating table inside the Médecins Sans Frontières Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan, following the 3 October attack by an American AC-130 gunship on the hospital in which 41 were killed. ‘It’s an image to stop you in your tracks,’ the awards team said. ‘Even before you know the background to the photograph, that single frame damns all the horror and devastation of war to destroy the innocent’.

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NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR FINALIST ‘Jason has beautifully captured a year of politics, sport and art in Australia. Through his lens he has also helped put a human face to social issues in the news.’ Here, Melbourne Ballet Company dancer Kristy Lee Denovan is pictured at Princess Pier.

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NIKON-WALKLEY PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR FINALIST ‘A strong and diverse selection of images in this body of work show Alex Coppel’s technical skill and storytelling ability. He captures action in the sporting arena and violent clashes in the streets, dramatic weather and quirky daily life’. Here is a shot of a clash between United Patriots Front and anti racism protestors in Coburg – it shows a UPF member appearing to punch a woman.

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NIKON-WALKLEY FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY FINALIST ‘In 2015 the world witnessed a scale of human displacement unseen since World War II as millions of men, women and children fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and elsewhere seeking safe haven. In a series that’s powerful from start to finish, photographer David Maurice Smith traces the desperation, despair and dignity of some of these journeys.’ Here, a man lifts an infant over a fence running along the M5 motorway in Serbia.

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NIKON-WALKLEY FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY FINALIST‘After the death of a teenager [14-year-old Elijah Doughty], hundreds of Indigenous locals took to the streets of Kalgoorlie to vent their anger. Danella Bevis captures the grief and outrage of a family and a community. There is raw aggression in an eruption of racial tensions and violence, and in stark contrast she concludes the narrative with a moment of quiet beauty at a dusk vigil.’

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NIKON-WALKLEY SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY FINALIST ‘Scott Barbour nails the peak moments of action across a range of sports, with artistic as well as newsworthy images from the Australian sporting year. Feathers flew when Barbour captured a dramatic collision from the 2015 MotoGP of Australia.’ Barbour says: ‘Luckily for [Andrea] Iannone he survived the impact with no harm to himself or his bike. The seagull, on the other hand, was not quite so lucky!’

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NIKON-WALKLEY SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY FINALIST ‘Spencer knows a thing or two about defining moments. If you saw one image from the Rio Olympics, it was probably his shot of a grinning Usain Bolt leading a pack of sprinters. In this body of work Spencer also seeks out such moments in football, tennis and on the waves.’ ‘The defining moment is the split second when something magical happens in sport, when a game hinges on a play, or a race is remembered by a moment that fleets in a millisecond,’ Spencer says. Here’s a shot of Jason Finlay at the 2016 Shark Island Challenge.

Tex Jochems