Ann Killeen went reluctantly-viral last year after a pelican she freed from a barbed wire fence snapped back and put her head in its giant beak.
The unusual moment was captured on camera by Ann’s partner, Paul Blake, after the couple spotted the distressed bird near Cornish Town on their way home from an early-morning photographic expedition.
Within a day of Ann posting the image of the comical image to her Facebook account, the story was picked up by newspapers, radio and television.
Now the well-known Rutherglen photographer is making news for a more traditional reason, winning several prizes at local photographic awards.
The first two were the Portrait Prize and People’s Choice awards at Corowa’s Federation Photographic Competition and Exhibition with a heart-warming image of seven-year-old Daniel Schreenan and pony gelding, Tapu Hurricane, titled “Horse Boy”. (Ann also won prizes at this art show in 2013 and 2017).
Another of Ann’s images was also voted as the ‘People’s Choice’ at the recent Arts Rutherglen ‘Taste of Arts’ Show.
The entry titled “Floodways”, features colourful gum trees among floodwaters at Wahgunyah last November when the Murray River and Sunday Creek joined.
“It’s always good to support local events but it also good to put your work out there against your peers,” Ann said. “If people like what you do then it shows that you’re doing something right.”
Ann says producing photographic images that people “want to put on their walls” is an ongoing challenge because there has to be an emotional connection.
“You aren’t going to put up a picture of Paris if you haven’t been there,” she said. “Decorator pieces have to mean something.”
Ann’s favourite time of the day for landscape and wildlife photography is at dawn, something that is shared by fellow photographer, Paul.
The couple often work side-by-side in gumboots and silence waiting for the perfect shot.’
“The first five minutes when the sun comes up is the best part of the day,” Ann said.
The pair’s patience and commitment over several months at a ‘secret’ waterhole location has documented rare insights into the life of a local platypus colony, including images of flamboyant mating rituals and violent scuffles with water rats.
This hard-to-catch imagery of the usually-shy monotremes attracted the attention of ABC Murray Goulburn, who accompanied Ann one morning to film a story:
Full list of major prize winners of Tastes of Art at Rutherglen: http://artsrutherglen.com.au/tastes-of-art-2018/
To view or purchase Ann’s photography: