Sydney artist Justine Varga recently won the $20,000 Olive Cotton Award for a portrait photo of her grandmother. Only, her work is not really a portrait, nor it’s a photo (at least not in conventional terms).
In Justine’s work titled Maternal Line, the grandmother doesn’t appear in the image at all. Instead, there are only her pen scribbles and traces of her saliva on a piece of film. And as expected, the fact that this work was rewarded the main prize sparked an outcry within the photographic community, leading even to some hate emails for one of the judges.