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Anthropology through photography

Featured Program
Organiser: Head On Foundation
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Free Event
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Li Aixiao
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Entry Fee: Free, donations welcome

Our kick-off panel for Head On Photo Festival 2022 discusses how we use photography as a tool to study humanity, in all it’s confounding forms.

Tim Smith, Roger Grasas, Sophie Howarth and Li Aixiao present photographic series at this year’s Festival that seek to study community, explore interpersonal relationships, and question our traditions.

The photographers will discuss what drew them to their subjects, what research they had to do to create their projects, and how they went about capturing a way of life in just an image.

Register for the livestream event here.

Dr. Alasdair Foster

Dr. Alasdair Foster is a writer, award-winning curator, and publisher of Talking Pictures – interviews with photographers around the world. He has twenty years’ experience heading national arts institutions in Europe and Australia, and over thirty-five years of working in the public cultural sector. A former president of the Contemporary Art Organisations of Australia and editor of Photofile magazine, he was, until recently, Professor of Culture in Community Wellbeing at The University of Queensland, and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Tim Smith

Tim Smith’s series In the world but not of it: the Hutterites follows the pacifist Anabaptist Hutterites are one of the most successful models for communal living, despite a long history of persecution. Their colonies range throughout the American and Canadian northwest, preserved through cultural separation, economic self-sufficiency and a spiritual connection to nature.

Based in Manitoba, Canada, Tim Smith has documented life on the prairies for fifteen years. He spent thirteen years photographing the insular Anabaptist Hutterites. Smith’s work is among the most extensive visual documentations of their culture ever produced and has been exhibited worldwide.

Roger Grasas

Roger GrasasHa Aretz (‘the Holy Land’ in Hebrew) is a reinterpretation of Biblical stories amidst a globalised world of alienation and conflict. Ha Aretz reflects on the evolution of the ancestral regions that represent the epicentre of Abrahamic religions and cultures while attesting to the power that geopolitics, capitalism, and technology exert in our times. Deeply researched and widely taken, these photographs document the precise locations where the most celebrated events of scripture supposedly took place, from Genesis to Revelations.

Roger Grasas (b. 1970, Barcelona) has had several international solo and group exhibitions in Madrid, Paris, Jakarta, and Sydney.

Sophie Howarth

Sophie Howarth’s Homage to chicks is an edit of photographs taken from 1990 to 2012, reimagined into a new artwork; a singular narrative of 126 photos highlighting women in the music industry. Throughout these images is a message of reverence for these women, placing them at the story’s centre. The series is an excerpt of Howarth’s touring solo exhibition Behind the Lens, an anthology of individual stories celebrating culture, land and profound experiences.

Spanning decades, Sophie Howarth’s prolific photography career has guided her from sweaty mosh-pits to the pages of Rolling Stone, working for globally renowned advertising campaigns and travelling the world.

Aixiao Li

Aixiao Li’s I am with me is a series based on the desire for escape and human connection in reaction to the compression of space and the concrete sense of time that she felt in COVID-19 lockdown. Li explored the private spaces of strangers. She would spend prolonged periods of time with them becoming a part of their home – chatting and doing routine things together – slowly Li could ‘become them.’

Li Aixiao lives and works in Chengdu, China, where she utilises her educational background in Journalism and Applied Psychology for continuous creative work in photography, writing and performance.

Related exhibitions

In the world but not of it

  • Head On Photo Festival 2022
View details

Homage to chicks

  • Featured exhibition
View details

I am with me

  • Head On Photo Festival 2022
View details

Ha Aretz: the promised land

  • Featured exhibition
View details

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© Tim Smith (detail)