Images taken by Cihan Bektas, winner of the 2019 SEPA competition.

The Canon Australia-backed Sunstudios has opened submissions for its annual imaging competition, which expands this year to include videography for the first time.

The Sunstudios Emerging Photographer Award (SEPA) calls for the nation’s upcoming photography and videography talent to submit work across two categories: Faces and Places.   

The total prize pool is worth $25,000, aimed at supporting winners through the next stage of their career. There are two main awards each for photo and video, and this year for the first time will also see the introduction of people’s choice awards.

Video judges will include cinematographers Carolyn Constantine and Andy Taylor, and cinematographer/director Dave May, while the photo prizes will be judged by World Press Award-winning photographer Adam Ferguson, fashion photographer Georges Antoni, and Nicky Catley, photographic editor for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and Australian Financial Review. 

Finalists’ work will feature in an exhibition currently scheduled to open on September 30 at the Atrium Gallery, Sunstudios Sydney, when the winners will be announced. The exhibition later travels to the Skylight Gallery at Sunstudios Melbourne. 

Sunstudios senior business manager Luke Harrison said: “Acknowledging the increasing trend towards hybrid image capture, we are very excited to open up the competition this year to videographers. SEPA holds a unique place in the competition landscape as it’s designed to help take emerging artists’ careers to the next level by offering free entry and the chance to have their submissions assessed by industry experts. We’ve also created a customisable prize, including Sunstudios’ creative services, that image makers can tailor depending on their aspirations. 

“Through the SEPA competition, Sunstudios’ aim is to support visual creators by resourcing and nurturing award recipients to achieve their goals. We can’t wait to see what the imaging community creates in 2021 and launch new talent across Australia.”

Applications are open to artists with less than five years of professional experience. It is free to enter until midnight on August 23. For video entries, submissions must be under four minutes in length.

Community voting will take place from September 30 when the Sydney finalists’ exhibition is scheduled to open.   

The details:

The four main category winners each receive $6,000 in prizes to spend across Sunstudios’ retail, fine art printing, gallery, equipment and studio hire:

  • 1 x Faces (including Portraiture, Fashion, Beauty, Documentary) – Photo winner
  • 1 x Faces (including Portraiture, Fashion, Beauty, Documentary) – Video winner
  • 1 x Places (including Landscape, Architecture, Travel, Documentary) – Photo winner
  • 1 x Places (including Landscape, Architecture, Travel, Documentary) – Video winner

The two people’s choice winners across video and photos will each receive $500 in Sunstudios’ services which includes studio and equipment hire.

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