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  • PSC Graduate Chris Hopkins Named WINNER of Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year prize 2020

A big congratulations to PSC Graduate Chris Hopkins for being named the WINNER of the Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year prize 2020 for his image 'I Want to Hold her Hand' for The Age. It is one of the highest accolades for journalism in Australia – and this is his second Walkley award.

Christopher-Hopkins_I-want-to-hold-her-hand-The Age - Walkley2020

Image by © Chris Hopkins for The Age.

"It is always nice to be recognised by your peers, particularly in a year where there has been such powerful imagery made by photojournalists around the country. It is very humbling to have this image chosen," says Chris Hopkins.
Image caption: 11:09 am, Williamstown. Robyn Becker is in the final stages of terminal breast and gastric cancer, in home isolation with daughter Alex. She was told last week she could only have hours to live. Her sister Jennifer flew from California to Melbourne to be with her but is required to quarantine for two weeks. Jennifer has been given special leave from the hotel to be with Robyn, if only for an hour at a time.
“Each visit, our time is cut short and it’s devastating”, says Robyn. Jennifer understands the necessity of the quarantine, but says that there could be some flexibility for those in palliative care, “I want to be with her, I want talk to her, I want to hold her hand, comfort her and hug her”. Robyn would sadly pass away on July 10, seven weeks later.
The Nikon-Walkley judges felt Chris’ image of Robyn and her family powerfully captured the emotion of 2020. The judges said “the warmth and sense of connection while we are all still in this moment of borders and barriers, is just so powerful. Beautifully composed with great emotion, this is tenderness”.
"I knew when I was with Robyn, Alex and Jennifer that I had an opportunity to document their situation in a way that would resonate with society. Especially with the way lockdown has eventuated and its affect on our freedoms. As I was making the portrait the situation got a bit much for Robyn and she reached out for Jennifer and started breaking up, that was the moment, the very human, touching moment that is in the image. I think it speaks volumes about 2020," Chris says.

Chris graduated from PSC in 2010, and works for the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times and The Age. Based in Melbourne, he focuses on social justice, humanitarian issues (although shoots everything from celebrity portraits to food). His work has taken him around the world, and his latest work, funded by a recent grant, is set in Uganda. Chris was the WINNER of a Nikon-Walkley Feature/Photographic Essay award back in 2018 for his commissioned piece 'My Name is Yunus' for SBS Online about the Rohingyan community in Melbourne. Follow Chris on Instagram @cnhop.

Watch the video on Chris talking to PSC about being a photojournalist during COVID-19, via PSC's YouTube Channel here.
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