Image: Horace Li from The journey home

With just a few weeks to go until the launch of Head On Photo Festival 2021, we thought we’d whet your appetite with another sneak peek at some of the amazing exhibitions we’ll have on display.

Not surprisingly, still in the throes of the worldwide pandemic, we received plenty of submissions exploring the subject of COVID-19. We think the depth and variety of these shows will surprise you. Here are just four for tasters.

Sydney-based photographer Horace Li supports the city’s Chinese diaspora by constructing a unique home studio to take portraits of Chinese families unable to reunite with relatives for Chinese New Year due to COVID-19 restrictions. With a backdrop of a ‘siheyuan’ (a historical type of Chinese residence), Horace’s portraits commemorate not only their homesickness and regrets but also their warmth. His exhibition The journey home is a remembrance of the Year of the Ox.


Image: Angus Mordant from The mourning undertaker

One of the sadder exhibitions revolving around the pandemic is by New York-based Australian photographer Angus Mordant. Angus documents the heartbreaking story of Omar Rodriguez, a funeral-home worker in the city. Even though Omar loses his father to complications from COVID-19, he can only take a short break from his work to mourn his passing.


Image: Anat Icar Shoham from COVID-19 Metaphors

Israeli photographer Anat Icar Shoham takes a more nuanced perspective on the pandemic. In COVID-19 metaphors, she presents an imaginary archive of the pandemic, explored through the metaphor of the natural process of seed dispersal. She deconstructs the stages of the epidemic through her meticulous observation of plants to bring an intriguing collection of abstract photographs.


Image: Neil Kramer from Quarantine in Queens

And finally, American photographer Neil Kramer brings a big, much-welcome dose of humour with Quarantine in Queens. Finding himself quarantined in his two-bedroomed, one bathroom apartment with his 86-year-old mother and ex-wife from Los Angeles, Neil spent the year documenting the more comic elements of their confinement.

There is plenty to love in this year’s Festival and we do hope you’ll join us online – or in person, if you’re in Sydney – to discover some truly great photography from around the world. 

We launch on Friday 19 November, with exhibitions running until 28 November, so be sure to mark those dates in your calendar! Follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our news.


See more for Head On Photo Festival 2021



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Image detail: Gary Ramage