A HAUNTING photo of a ghostly figure embracing a woman has sparked viewers' imaginations and earned Sydney photographer Tina Fiveash the Olive Cotton People's Choice Award.
Large crowds visited the Tweed River Art Gallery recently to view the mesmerising image.
Olive Cotton Award guest speaker Doug Spowart's floor talk had revealed the photo as a clear winner before the final tally was even counted.
"A significant number in the group were drawn to Twin Spirit," exhibition curator Anouk Beck said.
"Without any prior knowledge of the photographer or their intention, audience members responded to the evocative ghost-like figure embracing their more solid twin."
Surprised by the news she had won the award, MsFiveash said: "This is the best news ... I was interested to find out (the winner) after hearing a lot of people liked my work, but I wasn't getting my expectations up."
The Olive Cotton exhibition attracted 10,422visitors and 1500votes were cast.
The exhibition closed at the end of September, but due to the large number of votes, and gallery renovations, the final tally was only recently released.
The People's Choice winner receives a $250 award. The winner of the $20,000 acquisitive prize was Trent Parke for Candid Portrait of a Woman on a Street Corner.