Hunter Photography Prize 2018: Chris Hohnke named winner with Bull Street portrait

TORONTO’s Chris Hohnke takes a photo every day, but November 6 is special. 

That’s the day he took his portrait of Richard Holmes and his magpie in Cooks Hill’s Bull Street. It’s that shot that earned the 61-year-old Mr Hohnke the top score from the judges in the Hunter Photography Prize for 2018. 

The tool business owner and former BHP fitter and turner said he took a single photo every day, and had raced back to his car to grab his camera for the winning shot. Mr Hohnke said his beginnings in the days of film meant he was careful with clicking off his frames, instead focusing on making each one better. 

“I only do one photo every day,” he said. “Instead of blazing away and taking 1000 photos, I just concentrate and take one … otherwise you spend ages trying to decide which one is the best.” 

The winning portrait was chosen from three shots, and Mr Hohnke said it had been a hobby since he picked up a 110 Instamatic when he was 16. “Pretty much my whole life I’ve been taking photos, he said. “It’s just my art that grounds me every day.

“I can’t draw, I try to play a few musical instruments, but I think art is just a thing we need to do. 

“To finally win something is like the cherry on the cake.”

Judge and Herald senior photographer Simone De Peak described Mr Hohnke’s shot as “a mesmerising and beautifully composed candid portrait taken with a great use of light and tones, capturing a memorable moment and special bond between the subjects”.

Boolaroo’s Karen Wilesmith caught the eye of Newcastle Herald readers while Leanne Hardy’s shots of neighbour Michelle’s bird Indy and cat Fudge in a tender moment was highly commended by the judges. Mr Hohnke receives a Nikon D3400 camera with 18-55mm lens kit valued at $729, plus a Vanguard shoulder bag and 500 free 6 x 4 prints. As readers’ choice winner Ms Wilesmith earned a GoPro Hero4 session valued at $238 plus 200 free 6 x 4 prints while Ms Hardy’s highly commended entry nets her a Canon 1300D with 18-55mm lens kit valued at $588, plus a Vanguard shoulder bag and 500 free 6 x 4 prints. The prizes are from Domayne Kotara.