Girl with the sunflower - Zorica Purlija

The Competition

The competition is open to photographers, audio producers and short film makers exploring your own, or someone close to you, experience of a mental illness.  You don’t need to be a professional or hold any qualifications to enter, all stories are valid and welcome.

Entries are encouraged to explore the emotion of their experiences but to also touch broadly on any one or all the following perspectives:


Lived Experience.

Mental illness encompass a range of disorders, some transient, others chronic, and each is a personal story of a lived experience. Images or short films can be based on a wide range of emotions, reactions, responses, and representations, reflecting the diversity of people’s experience.  Each story is personal and so is the journey. 



Having a mental illness can seriously affect a person’s relationship with those closest to them – sometimes bringing out new strengths, but often having an adverse impact. Those closest to someone with a mental illness can struggle with the demands that that illness places upon the relationship. 



Stigma is still a major issue when it comes to mental illness.  Many people continue to feel they need to hide their condition and are too afraid to seek help. Awareness campaigns have assisted, and a global pandemic has brought the mental health discussion to mainstream media, but stigma still remains.   


Recovery & Hope.

Many people recover fully or partially from a mental health condition and go on to live fulfilling and meaningful lives. Images or short movies celebrating recovery, wellness and contributing back into the community can provide hope for those still finding their way.



We all know someone with a mental illness, and the effects of climate change, COVID and political instability are likely to have increased the prevalence of mental illness amongst our friends and family. What system changes are needed to address those that fall through the cracks, or what does a future look like with more funding in finding better treatments, services and understanding of mental health conditions.

2023 Competition Timeline

Competition open
Competition close
Awards night
3rd July
1st September
4th-22nd September
10th October

Competition Information


Each entry is judged on the following criteria:

Creativity and originality
Technical merit


Entrants can submit a single photo or up to 4 images.  If entering multiple images, a theme needs to be clear and cohesion between the images. Images need to be 3000px on the longest side, 300dpi, Convert to sRGB Profile and save as maximum quality JPEG

Short Movie

Short movies are considered as a maximum of one minute long. Post-production, including a combination of several images and sounds, image manipulation, or sound manipulations using editing software is permitted. Links to You Tube & Vimeo only.


Entry Fee

Audio can be no longer than 4 minutes. Instrumental & vocal submissions. No cover versions will be accepted. MP3 files accepted.

Single entry is $15 AUD
Multiple image entry $40 AUD

About MIFA & Michael

Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia Inc (MIFA) works in partnership with its member organisations to understand the needs and issues for people affected by severe mental illness. This collaboration strengthens our advocacy and the work that we do. We aim to succeed together to cause positive change and enhance the quality of life for everyone affected by severe mental illness in Australia.

MIFA’s core strength is in amplifying the voice of people affected by mental illness, their families, and friends.

We advocate for positive changes in all areas of social and public policy that impact on the quality of life of people affected, as well as families and friends.

MIFA has been a part of Out From The Mist since its inception and has enjoyed seeing the growth and development of artists that have entered each year. 

The expansion of the competition each year shows the need for a competition like this as it provides an opportunity for stories to be heard from all over the world.

Out From The Mist’s creative director is Michael Lockwood. Michael has worked as a senior executive within the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council, where among other duties, he had responsibility for the Council’s diverse engagement with the arts community.

Michael has a lived experience of mental illness and has a Masters of Creative Industries with Distinction from Queensland University of Technology.

Michael lives in the central south-western Queensland town of Charleville, balancing his work on Out From The Mist while enjoying the ambiance of his remote ‘outback’ home.

Meet our Photograph Judges