McRae is a long-time collaborator with Olympic gold-medal diver, Matthew Mitcham. For nine years, McRae has been documenting Mitcham’s development from an uncertain youth to a self-confident, international sportsman. Several of McRae’s portraits of Matthew have been reproduced on the covers of local and international magazines. Mitcham reveals himself to be an accomplished actor, at ease with his physical prowess and candid emotions.
“Essentially, I am using my camera as a tool for tracking and mapping a personality,” says McRae. “Over the years, our working relationship has formed very naturally and easily, as has our growing friendship. In a sense these images are snap-shots of the interaction between photographer and artist’s muse. I’m keen to investigate these viewpoints … I turn the camera in that direction.”
McRae’s portraits regularly feature as finalists in Australia’s most notable art prizes, including The Olive Cotton Award at the Tweed River Art Gallery, The National Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, The Moran Portrait Prize, The Head On Portrait Prize, The Blake Prize and The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Award. In 2012, McRae’s large triptych Margaret Olley in her Paddington Studio (the last official portrait of Olley before her death in July, 2011 at the age of 88) was voted as the winner of the people’s choice award at the National Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. In 2013 McRae was the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award in the popular “Shoot the Chef” competition sponsored by Fairfax Media, with his portrait of Ali and Ossobuco. His work has been seen in solo and group exhibitions in Italy, France, Germany, Malta, China, the United States and throughout Australia.
Jonathan Turner, 2012