The 2017 Martin Kantor Exhibition is the inaugural $15,000 acquisitive prize awarded for a photographic artwork of a significant, living Australian in the fields of art, letters, science, sport or politics. Named in honour of Martin Kantor who was a photographer and philanthropist known for his arresting portraits of famous musicians and artists like Iggy Pop, Howard Arkley, painter Adam Cullen and conceptual artist Dale Frank. Kantor’s image of Mark Seymour, the lead singer of Hunters and Collectors, was used by the band for an album cover and is a classic representation of Australian rock and roll. Kantor founded the well-known St Kilda gallery Brightspace and was a strong supporter of indigenous and environmental causes.


  • Naomi Cass
  • Isobel Crombie
  • Leonard Vary

“Located within a tradition of black and white portraiture, the judges found this work to speak of an intimacy and trust between the sitter and photographer. The subject leans forward and looks both at the viewer and into the distance creating an open and yet determined portrait. With hair pulled back and a beautiful gesture of the hands, the subject appears to make a call to both contemplation and action. A mature subject rendered with inner strength, dignity and respect. This photograph was unanimously selected as the winner. As the inaugural winner of the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize, the judges felt that Elli Bardas’ Vicki Vidor OAM reflected Martin’s practice of documenting a time and place and his honouring of friendships and relationships.”

Supported by the Dara Foundation.