Robyn Macrae is thrilled to have been listed as a finalist for the National Photographic Portrait Prize. “I was really happy to be in the exhibition,” says the Tumut teacher, who felt she had been neglecting her own portfolio. “My focus has been on working with youth and students,” says Ms Macrae, “this has given me a bit of a push to get back into it.”
She chose to have her portrait, of daughter Ailis printed and framed in Braidwood, by Stephen Best of Macquarie Editions and Bec Hamilton of Round the Bend Art and Framing Studio. “It was a bit of a drive, but it was worth it,” says Ms Macrae, “I really needed someone who was going to bring out the best in that image.”
The trip to Braidwood was a homecoming of sorts for Ms Macrae, whose parents Jim and Iris Pfanner owned a farm at Mongarlowe for many years. “I got a really good feeling about going back to Braidwood and using Stephen,” says Ms Macrae. Despite going to school in Canberra, she spent a lot of time in the area while growing up.
It was a bit of a drive, but it was worth it...I really needed someone who was going to bring out the best in that image.
“I've been taking photos for as long as I can remember,” says Ms Macrae, who used to mess around with a photographer uncle’s equipment.
Ms Macrae currently works at the Riverina Institute in a program for young people who haven’t succeeded in mainstream school. In 2014 she was awarded the Churchill Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to seven countries to look at how photography can improve the lives of at risk young people.
The portrait, ‘Skin Deep’ was taken by the Tumut River shortly before Ailis began HSC. On the warm summer afternoon in question, Ms Macrae says her daughter was beginning to feel the end of the holidays closing in.
She’s pleased, but not overawed with her success. “It's just inspired me to work on some more personal projects,” says Ms Macrae.