PHOTO CAPTION: “Ice Nation” by Gary Ramage, News Corp Australia
Nikon-Walkley Awards for Excellence in Photojournalism – Photo of the Year 2015
Gary Ramage’s “Ice Nation” has been named the 2015 Nikon-Walkley Photo of the Year.
Gary Ramage is a former Australian Army photographer, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Australian Army Public Relations Service, sometimes contributor to CONTACT magazine and our friend.
We congratulate Gary on another huge achievement.
The Walkleys’ web site says the image shot by Gary Ramage in Perth, was the clear stand-out for the judges.
“Ramage travelled around Australia investigating the impact of ice,” the web site says.
“His photo captures ‘Bill’, a young man in the throes of an ice-induced medical emergency.
“It took nine hospital staff, including full-time security personnel, to restrain the man before he could be treated by a medical crew.
“The judges said “Gary’s work has great social impact”. They praised his dedication to telling the story “without stigmatising the victim, and with empathy for everyone in the room”.
“Gary Ramage captures the force and the personnel needed to restrain just one ice addict to facilitate his treatment.
“Criss-crossing the country over four weeks, Ramage gained extraordinary access to the facilities and people on the front line of Australia’s ice crisis.
“He was inside the Emergency Department at the Royal Perth Hospital when three police auxiliaries arrived with ‘Bill’, late 20s, locked in the back of a paddy wagon.
“Twelve staff – doctors, nurses and security guards as well as the auxiliaries – were standing by when the van door was unlocked and a screaming, spitting Bill burst out.
“Bill is HIV-positive, hence the protective masks worn by all the staff in the treatment room.
“Even with his feet chained and both hands handcuffed to the trolley, he was trying to spit.
“One of the guards had to slam his elbow into Bill’s head to hold him still so he could be injected with essential sedatives and antipsychotic medications.
“The judges considered Ramage’s photo captured the pathos of one of Australia’s most significant social problems – a horror that affects people across all ages, regions and income levels.
“While the image is dramatic, Ramage’s approach is highly ethical, as he treats all his subjects with respect and empathy, never stigmatising the addict.”