Finalists announced for 2021 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award

SUNSTUDIOS, backed by Canon Australia, today announces 40 finalists for the 2021 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award (SEPA). From over 1600 submissions across Australia, a blind judging process has selected the strongest photography and videography entries across two categories: Faces and Places.  

Now in its 12th year, SEPA aims to break down the barriers image makers face in establishing a career by offering an opportunity to have work evaluated by industry leaders. Designed to nurture and support winners through the next stage of their career, the free-to-enter award offers a generous and flexible total prize pool of $25,000 in value to four main category and two people’s choice winners. 

All finalists’ work will feature in a SUNSTUDIOS online exhibition starting on 13 October, 2021 when the four main category winners will be announced at 8pm (EST). Community voting will also kick off on this day for the competition’s inaugural People’s Choice awards, with voting closing on 9 November, 2021 and winners for this category to be announced 11 November, 2021.  

This year the competition offered a videography category for the first time with a specialist panel of both video and photo judges, made up of a diverse mix of experts, who were overwhelmed by the calibre of entries this year. 


SEPA Photo category judge, Nicky Catley – Photographic Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and Australian Financial Review, commented:

"It's exciting to discover all these new photography voices, and to see such a broad range of creative approaches. Finalists ranged from clever conceptual work to beautifully seen straightforward scenes, chosen for their intensity of form and feeling."  


SEPA Video category judge, Andy Taylor, ACS – Cinematographer, said of the judging process:

"It was a pleasure to judge the video category for SEPA 2021. I was really impressed with the diverse range of entries, especially some of the very creative storytelling and interesting visual concepts. Overall, the technical execution from these emerging cinematographers was outstanding. Congratulations to the finalists."   

All 40 finalists to be displayed in a SUNSTUDIOS online exhibition live from 13 October, 2021.  

2021 SEPA finalists  


Photo - Faces  Photo - Places
Alisha Gore  Adrian Brown
Elizabeth Wright   Alexander Cooke 
James Malone  Amy Piddington 
Jeffrey Xu   Chris Bekos  
Jorge Serra   Christine Goerner  
Julia Onufreichuk Daniel Walton  
Luis Campbell   Fiona Little  
Nick Turner Jessica Connell  
Phoebe Kelly  Julia Onufreichuk 
Paulos Zeleke  Mark Forbes 
Rusty Crawshaw    Mattia Panunzio  
Sarah Malone Ryan Cantwell 
Su Cassiano   Ryley Clarke  
Teva Cosic  

Video - Faces   Video - Places
Dillon Mak   Daniel Kuberek   
Jonathan McIntyre Faezeh Alavi   
Kamilla Musland   James Hiscutt   
Levi Cranston   Murray Enders  
Matthew Maule   Peter Marko  
Matty Smith   Ryan Andrew Lee  

 Categories and prizes: 

The following four main category winners each receive $6,000 in prizes to spend across SUNSTUDIOS’ retail, fine art printing, gallery, equipment and studio hire

  • 1 x Faces – Photo winner 

  • 1 x Faces – Video winner 

  • 1 x Places – Photo winner 

  • 1 x Places – Video winner 


The following two People’s Choice winners will each receive $500 in SUNSTUDIOS’ services which includes studio and equipment hire: 

  • 1 x Photo People’s Choice  

  • 1 x Video People’s Choice 


Key dates:   


  • All 40 finalists displayed in a SUNSTUDIOS online exhibition – 13 October, 2021 from 8pm (EST). 

  • Main category overall winners announced – 13 October, 2021 from 8pm (EST). 

  • People’s Choice judging: 13 October, 2021 – 9 November, 2021 

  • People's choice winners announced: 11 November, 2021   


2021 Judging panel  





  • Carolyn Constantine ACS - Filmmaker and cinematographer | President ACS NSW  

  • Dave May – Cinematographer/Director | Tall Story Films  

  • Andy Taylor ACS - Cinematographer