Winner: Amnesty International Australia Photography Competition

February 10, 2023

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I’m pleased to announce that my photograph has won the inaugural Amnesty International Australia Photography Competition.

There’s been dozens of people – from across different activist movements to casual observers – who’ve singled this photo out specifically for praise. Therefore, it was a no brainer entering it into this competition.

Thank you to all who voted for my entry as well as those who shared and encouraged others to vote for me.

This photo previously made it into the shortlist of the 2022 Australian Photography Awards and has now won Amnesty’s competition. There’ll no doubt be more competitions this year that I’ll enter it into.

Congratulations to Rezi Tataie and Catriona Sparks who won the runner-up prizes with their images.

“Woman. Life. Freedom”. The winning photograph.

Below is a brief statement about the image, and what it represents:

This was the first big rally in Melbourne to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s so called ‘morality’ police. I’ve been covering protests for a number of years and I’ve seen few reach the level of energy and passion that this one did. The steps of the State Library became a convergence point of thousands of people – it’s undeniable that the Iranian diaspora know how to protest!
When I saw the subject of this photograph start cutting off her hair with scissors, as the crowd surrounded her and chanted slogans such as “woman, life, freedom” and “down with the dictator”, I just knew at that moment that I was going to capture something impactful. Evidently, a lot of other people seem to agree.
I’m opposed to authoritarianism and oppression in all of its forms and lend my support and solidarity to social movements that seek to eliminate these things. The protests in Iran itself, as well as the protests in solidarity with the Iranian people, are masses of people saying enough is enough, taking a stand against state sanctioned oppression and demanding their collective liberation.

Matt Hrkac

Matt Hrkac is an award-winning photographer and photojournalist based in Geelong and works across Melbourne and throughout Victoria.


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