Finalists announced for inaugural Martin Kantor Portrait Prize

BIFB MKPP Christian Thompson This Brutal WorldThe Ballarat International Foto Biennale has announced the 28 finalists in the running for the inaugural Martin Kantor Portrait Prize.

Presented as part of the 2017 Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) and with a $15,000 cash first prize, the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize will be awarded to the work judged to be an exceptional photographic portrait of a significant Australian distinguished in the arts, letters, science sports or politics.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the selected short list of photographers for the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize exhibition,” said Fiona Sweet, BIFB Director. “We received over 150 entries and whittling it down to the final 28 was incredibly hard for our experienced panel of judges. What a great start to establishing a portraiture collection of significant Australians in Ballarat.”

The finalists include works by Elli Bardas, Chris Budgeon, Brian Cassey, David Darcy, Tamara Dean, George Fetting, Hilary Finch, James Geer, John Gollings, Luke Hemer, Pia Johnson, Tony Kearney, Helga Leunig, Robyn McRae, Rod McNicol, Ferne Millen, NADIA MOTH!, Ilona Nelson, Emma Phillips, Claudio Raschella, Matt Ray, Pippa Samaya, Jacqui Stockdale, Christian Thompson, Tobias Titz, Peter Whyte and Elizabeth Yore.

The selection was made by a professional panel of judges: Naomi Cass (Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Isobel Crombie (Assistant Director, NGV) and Leonard Vary (CEO, Myer Foundation).

The acquisitive first prize is named in memory of the late Martin Kantor, a photographer and philanthropist who was known for his arresting portraits of famous musicians and artists such as Iggy Pop and Howard Arkley, as well as for his strong and active support of indigenous and environmental causes.

Kantor’s image of Mark Seymour, the lead singer of Hunters and Collectors, was used by the band for an album cover and is a classic representation of Australian rock and roll. He founded the well-known St Kilda gallery Brightspace and was a strong supporter of indigenous and environmental causes.

The inaugural Martin Kantor Portrait Prize exhibition will take place at the Ballarat Town Hall: 19 August – 17 September. The winner will be announced on Sunday 20 August 2017. For more information and to view finalists, visit: for details.

Image: Christian Thompson, This Brutal World (detail) – courtesy of Ballarat International Foto Biennale