The 'haunting and beautiful' work of Lennox Head photographer Natalie Grono has been declared the winner of the $20,000 2015 Olive Cotton Award tonight at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah.
Grono's work, Pandemonium's shadow, was selected from the work of 82 finalists from six Australian states and territories, including 17 photographers from the Northern Rivers, Gold Coast and Brisbane area.
Finalists included both emerging and established photographers selected from 350 entries Australia wide.
Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM said the award was funded by Olive Cotton's family in memory of Cotton, who was one of Australia's leading twentieth century photographers.
"This year's judge, photographer and documentary filmmaker, Stephen Dupont, was excited to be asked to judge the Olive Cotton Award, but admitted to being daunted at the task ahead of him when confronted by the exhibition of his selection of finalists on the Gallery walls," Ms Muddiman said.
"It took some hours to decide on the winner and commendations."
Stephen Dupont said Grono's work had struck him in the first round of the selection process.
"It's the image I kept being drawn to," Mr Dupont said.
"I find it intriguing and haunting and beautiful; the harsh light and shadow work wonderfully and perfectly."
The five Highly Commended awards selected by Dupont were as follows:
? The killing of Miller's Point (Pat and Brandy) 2015 by Sahlan Hayes of Kangaloon and Sydney
? Christopher Bates 2014 by Tobias Titz of Melbourne
? Dave Faulkner - the Guru takes tea 2014 by Stuart Spence of Sydney
? Man unknown, Venice, 2015 2015 by Zofia Nowicka of Melbourne
? Amara 2015 by Elise Searson of Brisbane
Through the Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc, Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM selected five works for purchase for the Gallery's permanent collection:
? Seafarer Peter Hegney, Newcastle, 2014 2015 by Brett Boardman of Sydney
? Estella 2014 by Hilary Walker of Melbourne
? Heather, 13 2015 by Rhiannon Tully of Perth
? George Howard White 2014 by Michele Aboud of Sydney
? Piero 2014 by Frances Valentine of Melbourne
The Olive Cotton Award exhibition is on display until Sunday 27 September. The Gallery and Gallery Cafe are open Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm.