Head On Photo Festival returns to Sydney

One of Australia’s best-known annual international photography events, the Head On Photo Festival, returns to Sydney 9-24 November with physical exhibitions at Bondi Beach and Paddington Reservoir Gardens, as well as a number of galleries, including Gaffa and Disorder galleries and Bondi’s new Twenty Twenty Six Gallery.

Images © L to R: Bob Newman, Vee Speers, Tim Page, Astrid Blazsek-Ayala, Dave Tacon, Nikolaos Menoudarakos, Li Wei.
Images © L to R: Bob Newman, Vee Speers, Tim Page, Astrid Blazsek-Ayala, Dave Tacon, Nikolaos Menoudarakos, Li Wei.

Featuring the work of international and local photographers, Head On in print will include 25 major exhibitions, accompanied by an encore of artist talks and panel discussions from this year’s online festival which featured more than 180 exhibitions and live-streamed talks by artists and creative practitioners from over 47 countries.

Ten featured exhibitions by leading international and Australian photographers will be presented outdoors along the Bondi Beach promenade: 

  • Sony Alpha Award finalists bringing together the most outstanding images from across Australia and New Zealand captured on Sony Alpha cameras and lenses.
  • American photographer Bob Newman’s Irish Travellers, tells the story of the historically nomadic group kept on the margins of Irish society.
  • Nuclear Landscapes by Australian/American photographer Brett Leigh Dicks documents topographies and often abandoned sites across the United States associated with atomic energy.
  • Chinese photographer and filmmaker Lei Wei’s The Good Earth captures his homeland of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, which has been lived on for millennia by Han and Mongolian people.
  • Spanish documentary photographer Susana Girón’s 90 Varas is an intimate and poetic portrait of one of the last nomad families in the heart of Spain and Europe.
  • Double Trouble: Exposing Women in Street is a collaboration between Unexposed Collective and Women in Street presenting the work of contemporary women street photographers from around the world.
  • Guatemalan photographer Astrid Blazsek-Ayala's Mythological Imaginings looks at the intersections between Mayan cultural heritage and Western civilisation
  • Shanghai: Decadence with Chinese Characteristics by Shanghai-based photographer Dave Tacon captures the excitement and contradictions of Shanghai’s culture.
  • Greek photographer Nikolaos Menoudarakos’s Comfortably Wild documents the drag queen scene of Athens.
  • Award-winning artist and photographer Daniel Kneebone’s Alice-ism explores the age-old ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ with the grandeur of theatrical performance.

The Festival returns to the iconic Paddington Reservoir Gardens with a series of exhibitions including: 

  • Paris-based Australian artist, Vee Speer’s The Birthday Party, eternalises the last days of childhood with timeless portraits.
  • Neo Pride by Australian photojournalist Jake Nowakowski is the culmination of four years documenting violent race rallies in Melbourne.
  • Australian photojournalist Brian Cassey’s"Me too! ... where the boys are ... the girls are" documents male burlesque dance group MenXclusive.
  • Photographer Odette Cavill’s Change Room Series One explores what is politically incorrect or socially unacceptable as she photographs men in changing rooms.
  • Amygdala by Dutch photographer Du Choff translates his thoughts, feelings and fantasies into this series of portraits.

Head On in Print continues the Festival’s support of local Sydney galleries including several exhibitions at Disorder Gallery, Darlinghurst such as: 

  • Award-winning British photographer Professor Richard Sawdon Smith reflects on past lives playing with gender, identity, sexuality, subjectivity, masculinity, and everything in between.
  • American artist Diana Nicholette Jeon’s Nights as Inexorable as the Sea considers the quirky and unpredictable nature of dreams and memories.

Featured exhibitions presented across other local galleries include: 

  • Paper Tigers at Twenty Twenty Six Gallery, Bondi Beach, is a celebration of the best of Australian photojournalism, featuring sixty images from sixty of the best Australian photojournalists.
  • Brian Hodges’ Acholiland - portraits of resistance from Northern Uganda at Gaffa Gallery, captures the resilience of the human spirit following years of conflict in Uganda.
  • Australian photographer Emmanuel Angelicas presents his expansive archive of his home suburb on Marrickville at the ATLAS Community & Cultural Centre.
  • Multi-award-winning artist Belinda Mason’s Breaking Silent Codes at Delmar Gallery presents portraits of First Nations women from across Australian and the Pacific who came together to share stories of cultural and spiritual responses to the issue of family & domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • New Zealand photographer Ilan Wittenberg’s From Here to Africa at Ted's world of imaging is a collection of captivating portraits of the Maasai people from Tanzania.
  • South Korea's leading photographer Koo Bohnchang’s Light Shadow at The Korean Cultural Centre captures the unique beauty of Korean baekja (white porcelain).
  • Internationally-acclaimed exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the world's best nature photography exhibition returns to the Australian National Maritime Museum.
  • Every picture tells a story - a collection of the most iconic photographs in music history and the stories behind them at Blender Gallery presents some of the most iconic photographs in music and rock and roll history and the stories behind them.
  • Journalism students from (UTS) met and interviewed communities across NSW about life in The new normal of a changing environment, savage bushfires and extended droughts.

For more information, visit the Head On website.

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September

'Ink in the Lines' explores the connection between the personal experiences of Australia’s veterans and the inked designs that help tell those stories.

November

Inspired by the touching pool often found at aquariums and the sensorial connections with nature they elicit, this exhibition speaks to the conflicted and estranged relationship people have with the natural world.

December

'Untold Eurobodalla' takes a lateral approach to examining the multitude of ways that local residents contribute to the place they call home and shares their distinctive stories through photography, film, and the written word.