Canberra photographer Eva Schroeder’s work, Dropsheet Aristocrat, was initially conceived during a professionally booked photoshoot with local artist, model and businesswoman, Karen Green. Photos: Eva Schroeder.

Canberra photographer Eva Schroeder recently had three works unveiled as finalists in the City of Townsville’s biennial Percival Photographic Portrait Prize.

An acclaimed Prize that receives submissions from across Australia, the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize was started in 2014 to coincide with the nationally renowned Percival Portrait Painting Prize.

Eva Schroeder recently had three works unveiled as finalists in the City of Townsville’s biennial Percival Photographic Portrait Prize and was “thrilled to bits” upon receiving the news.

While her photographs failed to take out the top gong, Schroeder said she was “thrilled to bits” upon receiving the news that three of her works had qualified.

“Then the reality of what was actually required practicality-wise set in,” she said.

“I had to have the images professionally printed, framed, and then source a specialised Art Transport Company to ship the images to Townsville.”

Schroeder’s three selected works: Dropsheet Aristocrat, Acting: a real Rush, and Mum & Pap – 60 Years of Loving were all taken in Canberra and feature local subjects.

Schroeder said that instead of contacting her subjects to capture their portrait for the Prize, as many artists do, in this case all three came her way.

“Every time I work with someone, or am hired to take a portrait, I seek to capture that potential ‘magical’ moment that takes my breath away.

“That particular ‘magic’ doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I like to ask the subject permission to enter their portrait into an award/prize,” she said.

Dropsheet Aristocrat was initially conceived during a professionally booked photoshoot where local artist, model and businesswoman, Karen Green, had booked Eva with the intention of using the images to break back into the modelling scene ‘silver haired’ after a hiatus of over 20 years.

“As the photoshoot was taking place, I became aware of Karen’s current artwork sitting hidden on an easel – her paints, brushes and a dropsheet folded to one side.

“After the ‘professional’ component of the photoshoot was over, I asked if we could try something a little different and Karen was most obliging. Dropsheet Aristocrat is the result of that experimentation,” Schroeder said.

Acting: a real Rush, is the portrait of Canberra based actor Jonathan Rush, in character as Charles Guiteau – an American writer/lawyer who assassinated US President James A. Garfield in July 1881.

It was initially captured during a photoshoot Schroeder did for Everyman Theatre Company’s production of Assassins.

While Mum & Pap – 60 Years of Loving features Schroeder’s parents, Hart and Inge Schroeder, photographed the day after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

“I guess the consistent characteristic across all three of my portraits is that the subjects appear to be interacting with the viewer, rather than just sitting passively within the confines of their immediate environment and the limitations of the frame,” Schroeder said.

Currently the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 is set up within Townsville’s Perc Tucker Regional Gallery as though there are no restrictions.

However, because of COVID-19, the gallery has also contracted a company to map out and create a virtual tour of the entire exhibition.

As the exhibition will be on show until 16 July, there is hope that the restrictions will eventually ease and the public will be able to view all finalists in-situ.

The Percival Photographic Portrait Prize can be viewed in 3D online at the City of Townsville website.

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