2021 Walkley Photography Finalists announced

A look at the finalists’ photographs.

Photo: Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald. A COVID-19 positive patient with the Delta variant receives treatment in St Vincent’s Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Sydney, NSW. July 13, 2021.

Kate Geraghty has been named the winner of the 2021 Nikon Photo of the Year Prize for “Fighting COVID-19 Delta”.

The judges thought Kate’s image of a COVID-19 patient encapsulated the year in news. The judges said “Provocative, strong and summarises the year that was: illness, hospitalisation, isolation, family not being able to visit. This image is a huge achievement.”

All finalists detailed below were announced today alongside all the finalists in the 66th Walkley Awards.

The Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism recognise the work of photographers across a range of genres, from news and sport to portraiture and photographic essays. This exhibition lets us reflect on the year in news, through the individual worldviews and skilled lenses of Australia’s best photographers.

You’ll be able to see all the finalists and prize-winners in the Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition, opening in November in the Fountain Court of NSW Parliament House. For more details, visit our website.

Below you can see the hero image from each entry, but in most cases the entry comprises multiple images, which will be on show at the exhibition.

Winners will be announced on February 11 at the 66th Annual Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year

To win this highest honour, photographers must show their range and editing skills by selecting up to 10 images in any genre from their work over the previous 12 months.

Finalist: Alex Coppel, Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Courier-Mail

USA’s Caeleb Dressel powers through the water on his way to winning Gold in the final of the Men’s 100m Butterfly at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Finalist: Jason Edwards, Herald Sun

The family of William Wall, a 14-year-old boy with autism, grieve in the moment they are told he has been found dead.

Finalist: Christopher Hopkins, The Age, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Al Jazeera

Former Wesley College student David Kay was sexually assaulted by two teachers in the 1970s. Now 58, Mr Kay has decided to speak publicly about the ordeal that “tarnished almost every aspect of my life”. He wants Wesley College to be held to account and says he was inspired to speak out publicly by “kick-arse young women” such as 2021 Australian of the Year and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame. Melbourne, Australia. May 30, 2021.

News Photography

Newsworthiness, impact, technical superiority, creativity and originality are considered in this category. News photography encompasses a range of work, from an exclusive or spontaneous

moment to images depicting the dominant news of the day. The images should capture an issue or event, not a series on a theme.

Finalist: Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald, “COVID-19 ICU”

A COVID-19 positive patient with the Delta variant receives treatment in St Vincent’s Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Sydney, NSW. July 13, 2021.

Finalist: Justin McManus, The Age, “Anti-Lockdown Protest”

Anti-lockdown rally at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Protesters rally against Victoria’s stage four lockdown restrictions on September 5, 2020.

Finalist: Brook Mitchell, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Sydney Anti-Lockdown Protest”

A protester makes contact with a police horse outside Town Hall during a chaotic anti-lockdown protest in Sydney on July 24, 2021.

Sport Photography

From our hallowed grounds to iconic athletes, entries may show action and/or feature images from the sporting arena. Photographers may enter up to five images, which may represent a body of work or be unrelated.

Finalist: Alex Coppel, Herald-Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail and The Adelaide Advertiser, “The Games That Had to Happen”

USA’s Tara Davis lets her hair fly as she makes her landing in the final of the Women’s Long Jump at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Finalist: Michael Dodge, Tennis Australia and Instagram, “Unguarded Moments”

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it proved to be a lonely world for all the tennis players at the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. But at least Jessica Pegula of the United States had the enduring support of her one-man team in coach David Witt. Here she celebrates after defeating Elina Svitolina of Ukraine as coach Witt cuts a solitary figure within the confines of an empty Rod Laver Arena.

Finalist: Jason Edwards, Herald Sun and The Australian, “The Crux”

Tom Perkins completes the crux part of a route called Trapeze on Castle Crag, an iconic formation at the foot of Mount Arapiles/Dyuritte near Horsham in western Victoria.

Feature/Photographic Essay

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these collections are whole books. Photographers use between five and 12 images to tell a longer story or make a point.

Finalist: Scott Barbour, Tennis Australia “2021 Australian Open”

Rafael Nadal of Spain jumps in the air as he prepares to walk onto the court to play Cameron Norrie of Great Britain on Rod Laver Arena during Day 6 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Saturday, February 13, 2021.

Finalist: Jake Nowakowski, Herald Sun and The Weekend Australian Magazine, “Superheroes in Lockdown”

Vision (cosplayer Steve Alder-Goad) trims a rose bush while his neighbour looks on.

Finalist: Dean Sewell, Sun Herald, “Of Mice and Men”

Allan Inglis disposes of drowned mice carcasses in the open fields beyond the homestead. He performs this task several times over during the morning. “Even the Guinea Fowl are sick of them,” he quips, as he nods to the birds that roam freely around his property.

Nikon Portrait Prize

A single image can say a great deal about a person. Entries for the Nikon Portrait Prize reveal aspects of the human condition by showing people from all walks of life.

Winner: Brian Cassey, The Australian, “The Yarrick Family of Kunhanhaa”

Mother Shaylene Yarrick beds down five of the children who sleep in the lounge of her two-bedroom house, which regularly sleeps up to 22 members of her extended family.

Nikon Prize for Photo of the Year

This prize recognises an outstanding “hero” image. This defining image of the year is selected by the judges from photographs submitted across all categories in the awards.

Winner: Kate Geraghty, The Sydney Morning Herald, “Fighting COVID-19 Delta”

A COVID-19 positive patient with the Delta variant receives treatment in St Vincent’s Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Sydney, NSW. July 13, 2021.

Thanks to this year’s judges:

  • Sandra Jackson, Visual Editor, The West Australian
  • Danie Sprague, Photographic Editor, The Age
  • Barbara McGrady, photographer
  • Mark Baker, Senior Photo Editor and Photographer, AP
  • Renee Nowytarger, past Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year

Thank you to our partners:




Inside the Australia and New Zealand media – stories by and for journalists.

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