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2008 Corporate Media Release - House In Focus Winner

Issued 25 August, 2008

Winner of Sydney Opera House photography competition announced

Sydney Opera House and Hewlett-Packard (HP) today announced the winner of the House in Focus photography competition, Charles Fortin of Sydney.

The winning photo, Phantom of the Opera, was selected from over 2100 entries from 25 different countries and will be displayed in the Western Foyer of Sydney Opera House throughout September. 

As well as having his photo viewed by thousands of visitors coming to the House, Charles also receives a HP Touchsmart desktop computer ( and a large scale canvas print of his winning photo.

House in Focus set a worldwide challenge to find the most imaginative interpretation of one of the most photographed buildings on the planet.

Entries were submitted to, where members of the public could view and vote for their favourite images. The final ten entries were submitted to the judging panel of Jan Utzon (son of Sydney Opera House architect Jørn), leading photographer Eric Sierins, director of Max Dupain and Associates and Michael Mendenhall, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, HP.

Although it was up against stiff competition Phantom of the Opera struck a chord with the judges; Jan Utzon thought it was ‘spiritually evocative’, likening the photo the impressionistic sketches his father submitted to the Sydney Opera House design competition in 1956, while Eric Sierins said the image made the sails of House look like they were riding in a speed boat. 

Winner Charles Fortin said he felt honoured to have his shot elected as most creative by a member of the Utzon family.

“I feel lucky that one of my shots was chosen.  Sydney Opera House has always been one of my favourite buildings as it reminds me that some buildings, just like people, can have a great personality or style.”

House in Focus was another great collaboration between long-standing business partners HP and Sydney Opera House.

“Through technology, the competition has allowed thousands of people all over the world to showcase their unique vision of the House and share that with us all,” said Michael Mendenhall of HP.

Two runners up were also chosen, James O'Toole and Alicia Higgins, both of Sydney.  They receive large scale canvas prints of their photos, a roof tile collected during the construction of the building and a copy of the book Building a Masterpiece: the Sydney Opera House. 

Each of the winning entries can be viewed online at 


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