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The inaugural Head On Photo Festival 2010 featured a wide range of photography across all genres with over 80 events at almost 70 venues. It was a resounding success for everyone who participated: galleries and other venues, photographers, Head On partners and the viewing public. The festival was opened by the Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett and it attracted widespread media coverage including major outlets such as SBS and ABC television, ABC radio and The Sydney Morning Herald.

 Events were spread across Sydney from the CBD extending, north, south, east and west. Aside from traditional venues such as art galleries and museums, exhibitions and events were set in less formal venues such as cafes, pubs and Centennial Park. Most events were free of charge and included indoors and outdoors exhibitions, workshops, artists’ talks, open studios, seminar with mini-tradeshow and screenings. With the diverse range of venues, events and photography, Head On Photo Festival offered something for everyone.

At the heart of the festival is Head On Portrait Prize which is the nation’s major innovative showcase for Australian portrait photography, reflecting a diverse cross-section of new and traditional photographic practices. It is the most critically acclaimed photographic portrait competition in Australia.



With the launch of the inaugural Head On Photo Festival in May 2010, the vibrant and cosmopolitan global city of Sydney finally gained a photography festival. Sydney is now firmly placed on the global photography scene alongside Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Ballarat who all have established festivals.

Both the Head On Photo Festival and Head On Portrait Prize are innovations of Head On Foundation; a non-profit organization founded in 2008. The foundation aims to promote photography, to encourage excellence and innovation and to raise awareness of important issues through photography.

All projects are operated with the basic philosophy of “inclusivity”; work is selected based on merit rather than the celebrity of the subject or photographer. At Head On, we endeavour to provide all photo artists with an equal opportunity to be seen.

Programming for Head On Photo Festival 2011 is underway; please keep in touch via this site, Facebook, twitter or email. We appreciate your support and feedback and look forward to Head On Photo Festival 2011.


Images: © William Yang, © Tamara Voninski

Head On Foundation Ambassadors

Milton and Penny Harris

Head On Photo Festival Advisory Board

Sandra Byron
John Swainston
Stuart Poignand
Craig Coverdale
Anita Schwartz
Moshe Rosenzveig – Festival Director

Head On Photo Festival Selection Committee

Amanda James
Andrew Quilty
Tim Hixson
Anthony Browell
Judith Love
Penelope Beveridge





Head On Photo Festival Team

Anita Schwartz
Carole Duchene
Sandra Byron
Stephanie Rjalingam
Irit Gross
Paula Towers
Lyndal Irons
Mayu Kanamori
Torunn Momtazi
Patrick Tombola
Tom Marcusson
Johanna Trainor
Rita Slattery
Sue Storry
Jesse Brockis
Andrew Mamo
Viisti Dickens
Stacy Mehrfar
Joel Rosenzveig Holland
Charles McKean
Belinda Mason
Claudio Mantovani
Victoria Johnstone
Jason Morris

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage