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R 'Chee' Ball prize for self portraiture

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Sadly there is no winner of the 2004 R "Chee" Ball Prize. Unfortunately there were insufficient starters for the night to go ahead.

R Chee Ball 2003 winner
Graham Carter

R Chee Ball 2003 peoples choice award
Orien Harvey

2002 R Chee Ball winner
Rick Altman

equal winner peoples choice 2002
Judy Brandt

equal winner peoples choice 2002
Joe Melillo

winner R Chee ball prize 2001
John Bodin

R Chee Ball prize 2001 peoples choice
Paul Griggs


Rules are fairly simple. Bring along your self portrait on the night - any size any media, any format [a self portrait is by definition a photograph of you made by you - not a picture of you made by someone else] Your print must be unframed and unmounted. You choose a vacant spot on the wall and blu tac up your entry. Our esteemed judge [we wont mention his impediment] makes his choice of the winner over the course of the evening. Each participant is eligible to vote for the peoples choice award. Entry fee is $25 [plus gold coin for peoples choice prize pool] which includes a buffet style meal of two types of pasta, crusty bread and dessert/cake. No BYO but drinks at bar prices. It is essential to book for this event. Pay at the door on the evening. Partners/friends welcome and are encouraged to make an entry.

R Chee Ball 4 takes place Saturday Sept 11th 7pm at St Anns on Rathdowne. 401 Rathdowne Street Carlton. Think about preparing your self portrait for this prestigious event. Previous winners have gone on to bigger and better things since their win. Winner of R Chee Ball 1, John Bodin, ended up in India photographing the Maharajah of Jandihpur on the strength of his win. R Chee Ball # 2 winner Rick Altman so impressed one of his fellow entrants that she asked him to marry her. R Chee Ball #3 winner Graham carter so liked the look of his winning entry that his nose hasnt been out of a wine glass since.Who knows what fate belies the winner of R Chee Ball 4. RSVP now

Rupert Ball - A History

Rupert Ball was born in Darwin in 1940 of an Australian father and Chinese mother.Early on, because of his Eurasian appearance, he picked up the nickname "Chee" at primary school.
R Chee was not a distinguished student, and dropped out after three years of high school to go pearling from Broome. Both his parents died tragically when their car collided with a road train on a trip to Alice Springs in 1957. R Chee returned to Darwin to the family home in November 1958, and developed an interest in photography when he came across an early model seagull twins lens reflex camera his mother had brought back from a holiday in China in late 1956.
By the mid sixties, R Chee had taught himself photography, and sold the family home and purchased a shop with a small attached residence in Fannie Bay, where he set up a commercial photographic studio. As a photographer, R Chee never rose to any great heights, barely scraping a living from the odd down market wedding and the occasional passport photograph. To pass the time and develop his photographic technique R Chee started making self portraits, but like his other endeavours in life, they never amounted to much.
When cyclone Tracey struck Darwin the studio was totally destroyed. The only thing that was untouched was a framed silver gelatine self portrait, made in 1973, which found its way to the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, more on the strength of its novelty rather than its artistic merit. It was R Chees only claim to fame, and he died in March 1982 from cirrhosis of the liver in a cheap boarding house in the Darwin suburb of Stuart Park.
Free radical has introduced the R Chee Ball prize for self portraiture to the memory of one of Australias unsung photographic heroes.

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