Nikon Contemporary Australian Daily Life Prize


Getty Images

David Gray

“Dealing with drought”

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology recently declared the drought across New South Wales to be the worst on record, with conditions exceeding the Federation Drought (1895‑1903), the World War II Drought (1937‑1947) and the Millennium Drought (1997‑2009).

David Gray said: “I have been photographing 80-year-old May McKeown for over a decade, documenting the impact of the drought on her and the family property, Long View, near the town of Come By Chance. May has lived all her life on the 6000 acre (2400 hectare) property, located around 700 km from Sydney. The McKeown family has been farming in the north-west corner of New South Wales since the late 19th century.”

Nikon-Walkley winner David Gray began his career as a cadet photographer at The Australian newspaper in 1989, spending two years based in the Press Gallery at Parliament House in Canberra. In 2003 he was appointed chief photographer Australia/New Zealand/Pacific for Reuters and in 2007 he moved to Beijing as a specialist photographer. In 2013, he returned to Australia and again became Reuters chief photographer for ANZ/Pacific. In 2019, he went freelance, working for AFP, Getty Images, Bloomberg News, AAP and The New York Times.

Judges’ comments

David Gray’s striking and detailed body of work captures the effects, both physical and mental, of the drought on farmers. The photos are like paintings.

David Gray