Candid shot of Bob Hawke wins award

People's choice winner: The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David. He won by just one vote.

People's choice winner: The Honourable Bob Hawke savouring a strawberry milkshake, 2017 by Harold David. He won by just one vote.

Harold David knew he had the shot the minute he saw former Prime Minister and renowned beer sculler Bob Hawke sipping from a strawberry milkshake.

A close second: John Patten (Johnny Jarrett), 1958 Australian bantamweight boxing champion, 2017 by Tiffany Garvie

A close second: John Patten (Johnny Jarrett), 1958 Australian bantamweight boxing champion, 2017 by Tiffany Garvie

And his instincts were correct: His portrait of Hawke has won the people’s choice award at this year’s National Photographic Portrait Prize.

David, a professional photographer from Blackheath, had been engaged by the Weekend Australian magazine to do a spread on Hawke and his wife, Blanche.

It was November 2017 and David, who specialises in portraits, had his scene all set to take a series of photographs.

“I had my set all ready for Bob and Blanche to step into but when he walked in drinking that milkshake I knew I would have to quickly reconfigure the set to get that shot first up,” he said.

“I seriously could hear my father’s voice in my head saying, ‘it is what it is and nothing more’ and I was inspired straight away.

“Bob and Blanche were all too willing to let me do this and I knew at the time the possibility of this becoming an iconic image of him.” 

It was Mr David’s first time as a finalist in the portrait prize and his win was the tightest race in the history of the people’s choice award – he won by a single vote from a shot of John Patten (Johnny Jarrett), a 1958 Australian bantamweight boxing champion by Tiffany Garvie.

“This is the first year I have been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize and to be selected from more than 3000 entries was a win not just for me but all of the other finalists as well,’ said Mr David.

‘It was such a privilege to photograph Bob Hawke. Politicians do not come like that anymore: intelligent, yet a person of the people.

“I’m so grateful that my portrait of him should win the People’s Choice Award, I’m chuffed.”

Mr David has won a Pro-1000 printer valued at $1,799 and a maintenance cartridge and paper to the value of $200.

The printer will help him prepare for his November show at Day Gallery Blackheath.

Harold David

Harold David