2020 MACPP winning work Dumpster Sketchbook: waterside
Canberra photographer Judy Parker’s Dumpster Sketchbook: Waterside has won the 2020 Mullins Australian Conceptual Photography Prize. Image supplied.

Accomplished Canberra photographer Judy Parker has won the 2020 Mullins Australian Conceptual Photography Prize (MACPP), for her work Dumpster Sketchbook: Waterside.

Parker will receive a $10,000 cash prize for winning, while her work will be acquired by Melbourne’s Magnet Gallery.

While it was initially planned for the winners to be announced at the opening of the finalists’ exhibition at Magnet Gallery, Docklands, Melbourne, it was instead done tonight, 9 July over Zoom.

Parker was also a finalist in 2019 and had two images selected as finalists this year.

Parker’s winning work, Dumpster Sketchbook: Waterside, was created from a series of photographs she took of the side panels of a large open container at a local recycling centre.

“The markings had a wonderfully strong graphic quality, red rust-lines on a silver-painted surface: a calligraphy of wear and tear,” Parker’s artist statement read.

“When I processed my images, I was intrigued by the way sections of the random patterns suggested a series of semi-abstract coastal landscapes, each quite different.

“Our minds are not limited to the literal. They can equally re-identify and re-imagine.”

Parker was trained in the visual arts and for many years taught art, photography and graphic design fulltime in Canberra secondary schools and colleges.

Parker told Canberra Weekly she was able to invest substantially more time in her photography practice upon retiring at the end of 2005.

“I had virtually no time until I finally retired to make anything of mine,” she said.

“I took photos that I could use as discussion material, teaching aids, so forth, and obviously if I was on holidays somewhere, I would take record photos.

“It wasn’t until I retired that I actually had time to get stuck into things … I joined the Canberra Photographic Society and I’ve taken quite a few photos since,” she said.

Parker explained that one of the great joys she derives from her practice is the capacity it allows her to find more than what she saw at the time of capturing the image.

“One of the things that interests me is not the traditions of landscape and genre and portrait and all that … but is in the surprise discoveries when looking harder, actually discovering it on my computer and reinterpreting it,” she said.

“I don’t have the opportunity of travelling so I don’t get to do much by the way of images that impress by their grandeur or exotic nature; I’m very much a homegrown photographer if you like.”

Parker’s winning work and those of all the other 2020 MACPP finalists can be seen here.

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