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Striking press photos capture the year that was

Arts & Culture

GALLERY: An exhibition featuring the best press photographs of the past year – from harrowing images of war to those capturing beauty in the arts and sporting triumphs – opens this week at the State Library of South Australia.

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The annual 2016 Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition showcases winners and finalists from the Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism, which attract around 350 entries each year.

Ninety photos will be on display at the State Library’s Institute Building from December 16 until February 12, including the overall Photo of the Year winner “Man on the Operating Table”, a graphic image by Andrew Quilty which shows a man lying dead in a hospital in Afghanistan following an attack by an American AC-130 gunship in which 42 people were killed.

The winning photo may disturb some readers, but can be viewed in the original context in which it was published on Foreign Policy website. It is part of a portfolio by Quilty called Afghanistan, Back on the Brink, which depicts the human side of war.

Andrew Quilty, 'Wounded in Helmand', 2016. Courtesy Foreign Policy, The Washington Post and TIME Lightbox

Andrew Quilty, ‘Wounded in Helmand’, 2016. Courtesy Foreign Policy, The Washington Post and TIME Lightbox

“Two years after the international combat mission packed up and left, and amidst growing discord at the highest levels of government, the outlook in Afghanistan is increasingly dire,” Quilty wrote of the series.

“This work illustrates several significant fronts in Afghanistan’s struggle for survival, as well as incidents both large and small that contributed to the state of affairs over the past 12 months.”

The portrait prize was won by New Corp Australia’s Brian Cassey for “Beaten Refugee” (see gallery below), a photo of a 17-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker staring through the wire of a police cell on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The 2016 Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition also includes photos highlighting the refugee crisis in the Balkans, a violent brawl in Melbourne, and the anguish and grief of a community following the death of an Indigenous teenager in WA’s Kalgoorlie.

Eddie Jim, 'Koko - Standing Tall', 2016. Courtesy The Age

Eddie Jim, ‘Koko – Standing Tall’, 2016. Courtesy The Age

There are also uplifting images, such as those capturing triumphant moments in sport and the beauty of artistic achievement, along with a series by Fairfax photographer Eddie Jim showing the journey of eight-year-old Koko Makura  from remote Papua New Guinea who came to Australia for life-changing surgery on a deformed leg.

“This exhibition is a reminder of the value of preserving moments in time for future generations,” says State Library director Alan Smith.

“These captured moments document the history and rich diversity of life the world over.”

Below is a selection of photos from the 2016 Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition.

Scott Barbour, 'Shadow Play', 2016. Courtesy Getty Images

Scott Barbour, ‘Shadow Play’, 2016. Courtesy Getty Images

nikon-walkley-press-photo-exhibition-briancassey_portrait_beatenrefugee

Brian Cassey, ‘Beaten Refugee’, 2016. Courtesy News Corp Australia

Jason Edwards, Melbourne Ballet Company dancer Kristy Lee Denovan at Princess Pier, 2016. Courtesy Herald Sun

Jason Edwards, Melbourne Ballet Company dancer Kristy Lee Denovan at Princess Pier, 2016. Courtesy Herald Sun

Jason Edwards, CFA crews race to save properties near Lancefield, Victoria, 2016. Courtesy Herald Sun

Jason Edwards, CFA crews race to save properties near Lancefield, Victoria, 2016. Courtesy Herald Sun

Marc McCormack, 'Let’s Tango' (featuring artist Hiromi Tango), 2016, Courtesy Cairns Post

Marc McCormack, ‘Let’s Tango’ (featuring artist Hiromi Tango), 2016, Courtesy Cairns Post

David Maurice Smith, 'Refugee Crisis in the Balkans', 2016. Courtesy Mother Jones Magazine and Guardian

David Maurice Smith, ‘Refugee Crisis in the Balkans’, 2016. Courtesy Mother Jones Magazine and Guardian

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