National Photography Prize 2024: Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA)

Ellen Dahl

23 Mar - 1 Sep 2024


Every two years the National Photography Prize offers an opportunity to consider the vital role of photography in contemporary art in Australia. The National Photography Prize brings together artists from across Australia who are developing and challenging photographic language and techniques.

Ellen Dahl works with landscape in a range of manners. In Four Days before Winter she explores the peripheral Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, known for its remoteness and stunning Arctic environment. It is also one of the fastest warming places on earth and has a long history of coal mining that is still occurring today.

Collapse is a close-up detail of terrain collapsing due to the melting permafrost. The large, suspended element brings focus to the inherent colossal ecological scale within this detail. Two Sides of the Same Place and Arctic Coal Diptych are from the Russian Svalbardian mining ghost town, Pyramiden. The black mountain and the nearby shrinking glacier lay bare the conflicting duality between coal mining in the Arctic and the profound impact of global warming on the area. Here/Now responds to a fleeting moment captured in the Arctic fog, revealing deep geological time at an edge of the world.

Generously supported by the MAMA Art Foundation, the National Photography Prize offers a $30,000 acquisitive prize, the $5000 John and Margaret Baker Fellowship for an emerging practitioner, and further supports a number of artists through focused acquisitions.

The Prize provides a forum for artists working with photography to present cohesive selections of work, or works in series, offering a depth of critical reflection that recognises the complexities and nuances of the history of the photograph and its contemporary manifestation.

In consideration of the medium’s fluid history, the National Photography Prize encourages artists working across all areas of the photographic field to enter. This includes artists working in traditional forms of light based, chemical production through to those dealing with hybrid and expanded fields of photography and image making.