National prize winner David Darcy returns to Springwood High School

David Darcy with his prize-winning portrait of actor Levi Miller.
David Darcy with his prize-winning portrait of actor Levi Miller.

National Photographic Portrait Prize winning photographer David Darcy will return to his alma mater to officially open Springwood Art show at Springwood High School on August 26.

Renowned for his images on the Red Dog movies sets, Mr Darcy will be special guest speaker on opening night.

A major drawcard of this year’s art show will be a displayed print of the prize-winning image captured by Mr Darcy, who graduated from Springwood High School in 1990.

The portrait of actor Levi Miller taken on location of the sequel to the hit Australian movie, Red Dog: True Blue, took out the people’s choice award in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, announced at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra in June.

Those who attend opening night will hear Mr Darcy talk about the location and circumstances of the image, his time at Springwood High School and career pathway.

Mr Darcy, who is renowned for his images of dogs, initially picked up a camera at age 12 as a way of connecting with his father Terence, who taught him the fundamentals of photography.

“He was very critical about stuff I did. He was a perfectionist. But I learnt a lot from him.”

At age 16, David won the NSW Junior Top Shot Award. By 17, his work was accepted into national photographic exhibitions and winning professional photographic competitions.

While he did have success in other subjects, “art is really the one thing that kept me at school”.

“It gave me a real cause and purpose and was a way of exploring my feelings and emotions. I was passionate about art and always felt creative.

“Art is a great way to explore yourself. There’s no right or wrong in art – it’s purely what you want it to be.”

After leaving school, he worked as a commercial, wedding and industrial photographer and did a stint of fashion photography before taking an eight-year hiatus from photography.

At age 26 while photographing landscapes in the NSW alps with his girlfriend, her dog kept running into photo frames. Mr Darcy “had a lightbulb moment” and decided he would photograph dogs just being themselves.

Since 1999 Mr Darcy has published 10 books, nine featuring dogs, and has become one of the leading author-photographers in Australia.

Renowned as a stills photographer on the Red Dog movies, his work appears nationally and internationally.

Citing himself as an example, Mr Darcy encouraged young people to “have a go at anything – don’t limit yourself”.

“School and my father were my only training in photography,” Mr Darcy said. “After that, it was me on my own, trying different things and learning from my mistakes.”

Springwood Art Show committee member Xandro Lombardi said: “What a privilege for us to have David open our show. He and our judges Jane Canfield, Victor Peralta, Mathew Lynn and Michael Jungura are all successful artists individually and collectively highlight the calibre of art on show at Springwood Art Show.”

School principal Dr Mark Howie said Mr Darcy’s involvement with the art show was a confidence boost to current students of the school: “Many of our students forge very successful careers after leaving school and it’s always wonderful to have them visit as positive role models for our young people, showing the range of fulfilling directions that people can take in life.

“Congratulations to David Darcy for his prestigious national prize. Springwood High School is proud of our former student.”

David Darcy will be special guest speaker at Springwood Art Show opening night (7pm to 10pm) on Friday, August 26. Tickets: $20 includes supper, wine and first option to buy art. Pre-book tickets online for a chance to win a luxury overnight stay at Lilianfels Resort & Spa. Details: