ABC photographer wins Walkley Press Photographer of the Year – Australian Photography | Team Cansler

The winners of the 67th Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism have been announced, with ABC photographer Brendan Esposito being named Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year 2022.

Esposito’s contribution covered the civilian aftermath of the war in Ukraine, social issues closer to home including opioids, incarceration, DIY erotica and life after a double mastectomy.

The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism are the highest honors in Australian journalism, recognizing excellence in all media.

The annual awards were presented in 30 categories from the areas of print, radio and television.

© Brendan Esposito. Winner, Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year. Mona Lisa from Ukraine. A refugee looks through a train window, his blank stare reflecting the desperation of hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving at Lviv train station in the early hours of a winter morning. They traveled overnight in complete darkness in so-called “ghost trains” from devastated villages and towns during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
© Brendan Esposito.  Winner, Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year.  Methadone and the long way home.  Leah McLeod had four jobs, three months of rent arrears and was pregnant.  She was also addicted to heroin.  Then her doctor said:
© Brendan Esposito. Winner, Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year. Methadone and the long way home. Leah McLeod had four jobs, three months of rent arrears and was pregnant. She was also addicted to heroin. Then her doctor said, “If you don’t take methadone today, chances are you’ll leave the hospital with your baby.” She has been taking the prescription drug for 20 years. “Sometimes I say it was my child that saved my life. But maybe it was methadone. That first morning when you wake up and you’re not sick is magical.”

“Brendan Esposito demonstrates a high level of professionalism, gaining the trust of vulnerable people and stepping into their inner circle to instill a sense of intimacy. Each portrait is tailored to its subject and gives us a different feeling. The Ukrainian Mona Lisa, captured through the condensation on the glass, looks like a classic painting,” the jury said.

© Brendan Esposito.  Winner, Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year.  When the war came home: Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects along with family members at the funeral of family man Borden Lazar in the Ukrainian village of Verhnya Bilka.  Lazar was killed in an attack on a military base in Yavoriv.
© Brendan Esposito. Winner, Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year. When the war came home. Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects alongside family members at the funeral of family man Borden Lazar in the Ukrainian village of Verhnya Bilka. Lazar was killed in an attack on a military base in Yavoriv.

In other categories, photographer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Kate Geraghty won the Feature/Photographic Essay category for her series Invasion of Ukraine – Civilian Impact.

Geraghty described photographing the series as an opportunity to show the emotions of the victims of the war in Ukraine.

“I’ve photographed breaking news like the rescue of a woman after a missile attack, but the main focus was to show the emotion behind the impact on civilians,” she said.

© Kate Geraghty.  Winner, Feature/Photographic Essay.  Invasion of Ukraine - Civilian Impact.  Life on the front lines: Zoya Shaposhnik, 67, looks at the hole in her ceiling caused by a rocket hit.  Her disabled husband narrowly escaped injury or death at their home in Krasnohorivka.  Zoya Shaposhnik did not evacuate like many others in the city, but stayed to take care of her husband.  Her roof and other parts of her house were destroyed.  Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.  June 16, 2022.
© Kate Geraghty. Winner, Feature/Photographic Essay. Invasion of Ukraine – Civilian Impact. Live at the front. Zoya Shaposhnik, 67, looks at the hole in her ceiling caused by a rocket hit. Her disabled husband narrowly escaped injury or death at their home in Krasnohorivka. Zoya Shaposhnik did not evacuate like many others in the city, but stayed to take care of her husband. Her roof and other parts of her house were destroyed. Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. June 16, 2022.

“Previous experience covering the war in Donbass and months of planning last year to return to Ukraine meant I was already accredited when Russia invaded, allowing frontline visits to Ukrainian forces. On one of the five embeds, I documented the bodies of Russian soldiers recovered from a battle to use in a prisoner exchange.

I had to snap photos quickly as Russian missiles had been fired at our location and would kill three Ukrainian soldiers shortly after our evacuation.”

© Kate Geraghty.  Winner, feature/photo essay.  Invasion of Ukraine - Civilian Impact.  Lysychansk: When the sound of one of four incoming rockets whistles ahead, eight-year-old Timosha stands on his bicycle in front of the still burning Palace of Culture in Lysychansk.  The day before, the palace was hit by an airstrike that killed four people.  At the time this photo was taken, Lysychansk was the last Ukrainian-occupied city in the Lugansk region;  a week later the city and its remaining inhabitants were under Russian occupation.  Lysychansk, Ukraine.  June 17, 2022.
© Kate Geraghty. Winner, feature/photo essay. IInvasion of Ukraine – Civilian Impact. Lysychansk. As the sound of one of four incoming rockets whistles ahead, eight-year-old Timosha stands on his bicycle in front of the still-burning Palace of Culture in Lysychansk. The day before, the palace was hit by an airstrike that killed four people. At the time this photo was taken, Lysychansk was the last Ukrainian-occupied city in the Lugansk region; a week later the city and its remaining inhabitants were under Russian occupation. Lysychansk, Ukraine. June 17, 2022.

A picture of Natalie Grono (The Saturday Paper and Surfing World Magazine), Peter takes a momentwon the News Photography category after winning the 2022 Nikon Walkley Photo of the Year award in October.

Pictured is a ‘typical’ Australian affected by the devastating floods that swept NSW’s northern rivers in February and March 2022.

Grono was initially tasked with photographing Ballina and the surrounding communities as they prepared for the Lismore waters to move downward. After roads, power, and communications were cut, Grono waded into flooded streets, spoke to local residents, and made their portraits.

© Natalie Grono.  Winner, News Photography and Nikon Photo of the Year Award.  Peter takes a moment.  Peter rests for a moment after taking his destroyed belongings outside his flooded home in Wardell.
© Natalie Grono. Winner, News Photography and Nikon Photo of the Year Award. Peter takes a moment. Peter rests for a moment after taking his destroyed belongings outside his flooded home in Wardell.

Finally, Getty Images Cameron Spencer and his complete works were named winners in the sports photography category. The sport is back!

His images captured fleeting moments from tennis and Ironman to ski jumping and AFL.

The judges said of the work, “This well-curated series showcases Cameron Spencer’s impressive breadth. His heavy use of natural light, shadow, and silhouette demonstrates his great technical ability. His ability to see something different and find interesting, unusual perspectives on a variety of sports is a testament to his creative eye.”

©Cameron Spencer.  Winner, Sports Photography.  The sport is back!  traffic in the middle.  The Swans' Tom Papley kicks during the Round of 20 AFL game between the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants at Sydney Cricket Ground.  July 30, 2022
©Cameron Spencer. Winner, Sports Photography. The sport is back! traffic in the middle. The Swans’ Tom Papley kicks during the Round of 20 AFL game between the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants at Sydney Cricket Ground. July 30, 2022

Visit the Walkley Awards website for more work by the finalists.

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