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Calls to capture Australian Life

City of Sydney 3 mins read
'On the Way to Inspections.' Image credit: Sam Ferris

One of the nation’s biggest photography competitions is back, with the City of Sydney calling for entries for this year’s Australian Life exhibition.


Australian Life is open to both professional and amateur photographers from across the country and calls for images that capture a unique feature of life in Australia.


From the red centre to a city phone booth, judges are looking for moments caught on camera which demonstrate the diversity of life in our country.


The winning adult entry will net a $10,000 cash prize and 28 finalists will have their shots exhibited in an outdoor public exhibition at Circular Quay.  


Now in its 27th year, the Australian Life photography exhibition will for the first time feature a new category for 12 to 17 year-olds.


“We’re delighted to be encouraging teen snappers to send in their favourite shots of life in our nation, with 8 teenage finalists having their prints shown as part of the exhibition at Customs House,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.


The winner of the 12 to 17 year-old category will take home $2000 in cash as well as an OM-5 camera and 12-45mm F4.0 PRO lens, worth around $2500.


“We’re looking for depictions of life in Australia from around the country. Last year, images took us on a trip across Australia, featuring everything from the iconic beach shot to a scout hall to a quirky observation of a solar eclipse,” the Lord Mayor said. 


Sometimes called ‘photography’s answer to the Archibald’s’, the competition is open to all photographers, both amateur and professional, with hundreds of images entered each year.


Photographs must have been taken in the past 12 months and AI must not be used.


A panel of judges will select 20 adult and 8 teen finalist images that will be displayed in the outdoor exhibition, which runs from 1 to 25 August.


The Australian Life winners will be announced at the launch event on 1 August.


The photographer with the most popular image in the exhibition will take home an OM-1 Mark II camera and 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens worth almost $5,400 as the people’s choice winner.


Visitors will be able to vote for their favourite image once the exhibition kicks off and the most popular image will be decided by 25 August.


Last year’s competition winner, Sam Ferris, returns this year as a judge. He won the 2023 prize with his image, ‘On The Way To Inspections’, which depicted Ferris’ family rushing between rental inspections in Sydney.


Sam has offered some helpful tips to those hoping to take out the top prize this year, encouraging photographers to be authentic.


“Think about the image as your voice and what you would like it to tell the viewer. You have a unique perspective on the world and you should harness that. Enter work that is meaningful to you, not what you think the judges want to see.”


Australian Life is part of the City of Sydney’s year-round Art & About program of events and temporary art projects throughout the city.


Australian Life sponsor OM systems has donated prizes for the competition.


Entries for the Australian Life competition close at 11:59pm on Sunday 21 April.


For more information, including terms and conditions, visit


For media inquiries and images, contact Nicky Breen.

Phone 0436 599 861 or email 


For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Zoe Delamare.

Phone 0477 263 615 or email


For more stories, visit City of Sydney News



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