National Portrait Gallery- the short of it

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Tonight we went to the National Portrait Gallery to take a tour of two of its current exhibitions and to hear from award-winning Aussie photographer Peter Brew Bevan.

I wish I had encouraged myself to reflect more about the night in advance and let the significance of what a privilege to hear from such an esteemed photographer actually sink in.  That way I could have really anticipated the experience and anticipation is half the fun, right).

We started off with drinks and more amazing food as we had a very light-hearted and warm welcome from the director.

Ok, let me pause to showyou the obligatory food pics. Our delectable canapés were catered by Sharon of Trippas White Group who is also head chef at the National Portrait Gallery.

This was a beetroot and goats cheese tartlet with candied walnut.  Best pastry, so buttery and crisp.  The taste combination was fantastic.

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Gruyere and mozzarella Arancini with aioli. Best arancini I have had.  Oh, so yum. .

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Five spice prawns with lemongrass and chilli dipping sauce.

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Seared scallop tomato and fennel salsa and dill. salivaion city.

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Then the staff showed us a video of how seriously they take themselves.  Must watch!!!

The first exhibition we saw was Portraits From Prime Time.  Recognisable Australian faces from both the small and big screen smiled  or glowered at us from every wall.  8 photographers took part in this exhibition, one of whom was Peter Brew Bevan.

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Each portrait features quotes from the photographer  and there are videos to watch as you walk around, letting you get a sense of what the photographer experienced in the process of the photo shoots.  I loved this aspect.  Portraits tell a story and it was fascinating to hear the backstory of the story.

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I had so many favourites.  Here is one I really liked:

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I especially loved how unique and tangible this next part of the exhibition was.   What a fun iconic Australian idea!

Quite a few of the portraits made me think of candy; so vibrant and bold in color.  Mmmm, candy…..

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‘A housing for his camera’???  I never knew you could get a mute thingamybob for the camera click!!!

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The second exhibition National Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 took my excitement to another level because the subjects were ordinary people photographed extraordinarily well.  The ones that really captured my imagination were those more photojournalistic ones that caught the subject halfway through a story and left me wanting to know where they had come from and what is happening to them now.  These are a few:

It is seriously hard to make this kind of pose look casual and intense.  Notice me in the reflection (yup, that is why the pic is really here, haha)

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After our look through the exhibitions we sat down to hear the curator interview photographer Peter Brew Bevan.

It was an interesting insight into the crazy busy life he leads.  We heard how Peter started off on his photographic journey; what it is really like to photograph the stars and we gasped at his hair-raising story of defying death in Jakarta alongside the person he had been commissioned by Reader’s Digest New York to photograph.

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It was my first visit to the National Portrait Gallery but I am hooked and will return to look at these two galleries in more depth very soon.  If you want to be inspired to photograph differently (whether you hold a $2000 or $50 camera in your hand), GO!

Both Portraits From Prime Time and National Photographic Portrait Prize 2014 exhibitions are in the gallery  until the 9th of June.

Find the information here:

http://www.portrait.gov.au/site/gallery.php

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