Submissions are open for the Australian Life photography competition.

Along with its companion Little Sydney Lives (for photographers aged three to 12 years), the contest is a City of Sydney initiative that invites photographers – both professional and amateur – to submit their visual take on local life and culture – for a chance to win $10,000.

Capturing an Australian life
Michaela Skovranova won the competition in 2015. Her image, the underwater dreamscape Ocean Lovers, was inspired by Australia’s expansive yet intimate environment.

“The image was an underwater photograph of two people embracing each other,” says Skovranova. “In terms of that winning image, we are surrounded by the ocean so I think a lot of people do connect with the water and the underwater experience. And I think the fact that there were humans in it as well brings it a little bit closer to the Australian life experience.”

Now a judge, Skovranova thinks this past year will prove to be broadly inspirational for a number of reasons. “We’ve had the bushfires, we’ve had the floods, we’ve had covid, so there’s a lot of things that have happened throughout Australia that are all very important topics. Same with the Black Lives Matter protests. There’s been a lot of change and I really think the submissions will reflect that.”

Little Sydney Lives
For those aged three to 12 with a talent for the visual, the Little Sydney Lives competition aims to nurture young creatives. The competition is split into two age brackets: one for photographers aged three to seven years, and another for kids eight to 12. The prize is $500. Unlike the broader competition, Little Sydney Lives is only open to Sydney residents.

Skovranova is looking forward to some quality art from the youngsters. “I think they are really fun to judge, because it’s often just based on instinct for the youngsters. And they’re just reacting to the environment … with home schooling and everything they’ve had to go through it’s exciting to see what they submit.”

How to enter
Entries are open now and will close midnight Tuesday May 25. Entry is free and each photographer can enter two images. Twenty-eight finalists will have their work displayed in Hyde Park, Sydney. Exhibited works will be awarded $500, and the grand prize for the winner is $10,000.

For those looking to enter, Skovranova has a few words of encouragement. “Submit images that you feel connected to – that you have an emotional reaction to, because it’s likely someone else will as well. And I think it’s more important to express your creativity than to try to cater [to] what the judges may want. So really go with your gut and what you feel represents your work.”

Find out more here.

This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with City of Sydney.