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Rosie's Life Lines Reel in Olive Cotton People's Choice Prize

Michael Cook’s close-up portrait Memories has been voted the public’s favourite in the Olive Cotton Award People’s Choice Award, with visitors describing it as a “profound” and “powerful” image.
 
The well-known Sunshine Coast photographer was thrilled with the news and indicated he would be giving the $250 winner’s prize to Rosie, the subject of his black and white portrait.
 
Visitors to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre said the detailed portrait effectively captured Rosie’s character by starkly depicting what a number of voters described as her “life lines”.
 
Cook described Rosie as a beautiful person who kindly introduced him to bush tucker and is everyone’s favourite grandmother in her community.
 
“I wanted to capture her beauty physically and within. I think the photograph allows the viewer to not only see a lifetime of memories but to actually feel who she is beyond appearance,” he said.
 
The People’s Choice Award, funded by the Friends of the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc, helped wrap up this year’s Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture.
 
Hundreds of visitors to the exhibition took the opportunity to vote for their favourite work from the 72 finalists, which were on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery until 8 October.
 
Voting was close, with the portrait Trevor Jamieson by Brett Canet-Gibson of WA just 30 votes behind.
 
The biennial competition reinforced its claim as Australia’s top photographic portraiture prize by attracting record entries this year. Entrants ranged from many high-profile photographers to a strong field of emerging artists, including the Olive Cotton Award’s youngest finalist, 12-year-old local Ari Messina.
 
The end of this year’s exhibition also brought to a close a ‘selfie’ competition to promote the new social media pages for the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.
 
Sherry Mackay won a Tweed Regional Gallery prize pack, featuring Margaret Olley merchandise, for snapping herself with her favourite portrait, featuring actor and comedian Bill Bailey.
 
Sarah K8 @cloudcatcher15 chose Anita Modok’s portrait, in absentia: Judy Cassab’s bedroom, for her selfie on Instagram and won a $100 food and drinks voucher from the Gallery Cafe. She said the colours, composition and texture are “absolutely divine”.
 
“I could totally move in and make it my own room!!” she said.