Australasia’s 2021 best emerging photographer revealed!



By Marc Gafen | May 5, 2021

While the wait must have seemed like an eternity, we can finally reveal the winner of the region’s biggest search for the next generation of top emerging talent. The Top Emerging Photographers of Australasia presented by Fujifilm is now in its 13th year and, like last year, is showing double-digit growth, and nearly 60% in the last two years.

For the 2021 competition, we relied on a jury of 37 leading industry professionals and experts from Australia and around the world. The impressive and inspiring list appears at the bottom of this article.

Massive congratulations to this year the big winner, Best Emerging Photographer of Australasia 2021, Carole Mills Noronha. In addition to winning the Portrait category, she also won the Documentary category, with her two winning portfolios receiving the most votes in the final judging phase. The result means that she is not only the overall winner, but also the second overall – something that has never happened before in the history of the competition!

© Carole Mills Noronha. Overall Finalist – Top Emerging Australasian Photographer 2021,
and winner of the Documentary category.

With the coveted title of Top Emerging Australasian Photographer 2021, she also won the grand prize, a Fujifilm X-T4 and an XF18-135mm lens valued at $ 4,578, as well as a Fujifilm X100V valued at $ 2,349 for being named an overall finalist, courtesy of our presenting sponsor, Fujifilm. Check out his winning portfolio here.

Recognition and huge congratulations also go to Graeme Gordon, third overall and winner of the new Open category. He also wowed the judges coming out of the Architecture category.

So how is the outcome of the competition determined? To arrive at the winners, finalists and best winners in our category, a total of 535 votes were counted. Across the nine categories, we relied on six to eighteen judges to assess their top five portfolios. To determine the overall winner, Top Emerging Australasian Photographer 2021, along with the overall runner-up, a further 102 votes were counted and weighted, with the judges rating their top three portfolios from a pool of only category winners.

© Graeme Gordon.  3rd place overall - Best Emerging Photographer in Australasia 2021 and winner of the Open category.
© Graeme Gordon. 3rd place overall – Best Emerging Photographer in Australasia 2021 and winner of the Open category.

The category winners and finalists will be revealed on the Capture website later, so please keep an eye out. Otherwise, to know all the results, including the winners, finalists and top winners in all nine categories, and see their breathtaking work, view the May / June / July edition online very soon, or pick up the print edition from your favorite newsagent in the next week. Participants whose portfolio submissions have been Strongly recommended and Recommended will be notified via email later this month, along with those in the Top 10, 20, etc.

Overall winner – what the judges thought

What impressed me about this set of images is the creative approach that plays with time, memory and the importance of family photos. The aesthetic quality is beautiful and evokes feelings of warmth and nostalgia for a past that the photographer has also effectively garnered with the present. It is a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of photography and our personal memories, executed with a warm and beautiful visual statement. – Ed Kashi

This series of photos works well together to evoke memories and raise questions. Although the “yesterday and today” approach is not unique, I have never seen it before in a domestic situation. Yesterday and today in a family home is powerful, raising questions about how life is lived across generations. The use of color balances nostalgia well with contemporary living. This simple approach is both intriguing and heartwarming. Well done! – Sarah Rhodes

General runner-up – what the judges thought

A successful documentary essay should be consistent in style, light, composition, ambiance and storytelling. This winning portfolio translates all of this wonderfully through the details and personality of the subject and the juxtaposition of old photographs. There are unexpected moments and quiet moments and a feeling of belonging. The photographer has gained confidence in the subject and goes beyond the unexpected for an intimacy that translates his reality of life unvarnished. РRen̩e C. Byer

What I love about photography that tells a story is when it allows the viewer to fill in the gaps and create their own interpretation. This work is no exception; embellished with details, without being literal, paint a picture that is both evocative and beautiful. – Sean Izzard

To our supporters and sponsors

A big thank you to our major sponsor Fujifilm, with all our category sponsors: BenQ, Cyclorama projects, Nisi filters, SanDisk, Grocers, The Brownbill effect, and WD. Competitions like this are simply not possible without their incredible generosity and commitment to supporting emerging photographic talent. Thank you!


We are delighted to be able to count on the rather impressive group of top professionals and industry funders who helped determine the winners of Australia’s Top Emerging Photographers 2021.

Jury 2021

Abigail Varney –
Adam Ferguson –
Adrian Cook –
Alex Cearns –
Anthony KcKee –
Streiber Art –
Ashley Gilbertson –
Belinda Richards –
Cade Martin –
Daniel Berehulak –
Ed Kashi –
Gary Knight –
Greg Gorman –
Ignacio Palacios –
Jason Ierace –
John Gollings –
John Stanmeyer –
Leah King-Smith –
Michael Cook –
Michael Grecco –
Mridula Amin –
Paul Hoelen –
Paula Bronstein –
Ponch Hawkes –
Rachel Mounsey –
Randal Ford –
Renée C.
Richard Wood –
Robert Coppa –
Sally Brownbill –
Sarah Rhodes –
Sean Izzard –
Steve Wise –
Tajette O’Halloran –
Tim Griffith –
Tony Hewitt –
William Long –


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