Image credit: Marcia Macmillan
The Head On Photo Awards has been changing the trajectory of photographers’ lives since 2004.
We asked several of our past winners from the Portrait, Landscape and Student Award categories “what has happened since you were in Head On?”
From prolific freelancers to passionate hobbyists to international superstars, they all had a story to tell of how the Head On Photo Awards strengthened their passion for photography and more!
Roger Grasas – Landscape winner 2018
Image credit: Roger Grasas
View of the pyramids and the sphinx of Giza, Egypt from the dining room of a well-known American restaurant.
Travel is at the core of Spanish-born photographer Roger Grasas’ practice. He has become internationally recognised for capturing nature-culture dichotomies in stunning clarity.
“The participation in the Head On Photo Awards and the Festival connected me with some relevant names (authors, curators, etc.) from the Asian Pacific area and, above all, strengthened my later presence in European festivals and photography fairs such as PhotoEspaña, Rencontres d’Arles, Cortona on the Move, PhotoLondon etc.
“The Awards gave me great self-confidence which continued with my following series ‘Ha Aretz’ which has just been published by Kehrer Verlag obtaining even better recognition than the previous work. Thank You Head On!”
Brendan Esposito – Portrait winner 2008
Image credit: Brendan Esposito
Brendan Esposito is an established photojournalist and has been recognised as one of the best in Australian news media.
“Since winning Head On in 2008 I have continued working in the Australian media landscape. Covering daily life, news, sport, fashion, feature assignments and conflict. I have worked for the Sydney Morning Herald as their chief photographer, News Ltd, AAP, and The Australian Rugby League (NRL) and as recently as three years ago was employed as a staff photographer for the ABC on the specialist reporting team on programs such as Four Corners, 7.30 Report, Australian Story and International assignments. Coverage such as the Mosque killings in NZ , The volcano eruptions on Mt White killing 22 people and recently returning home after covering the ongoing Ukraine/Russian War.”
Aimee Sluga – Student winner 2019
Image credit: Aimee Sluga
The Last Goodbye
My grandma was brought into hospital with severe pressure sores, dementia, pneumonia and weighing only 45 kg. She is completely reliant on nurses and no longer knows who I am. Although she was smiling, you could tell it she was in pain and it wasn’t a genuine smile, as though she was just copying my smile. I was shocked to see her this way and wanted to capture the sadness in a photo before she passed away.
Aimee Sluga, from Yackandandah, Victoria, won the Head On Student Award when she was 18 years old. Aimee went on to take out the top prize at the Silk Road Youth International Photography Competition at the Beijing Photo Festival with the same image.
“Since being in Head On I have been practising photography in my spare time whilst working part-time to save up. This year I am travelling overseas and would like to document my travels, before moving to Melbourne next year to study photography full time.”
Fiona Wolf – Portrait winner 2010 and 2020
Image credit: Fiona Wolf
“Jaqui is a Drag King. I photographed her after her hoola hoop performance at red rattler theatre.”
Image credit: Fiona Wolf
The Gift, RHW 2020
“A modern family story of a girl born by a warrior woman to two loving dads, with the love and support of a wonderful family around them.”
German-born photographer Fiona Wolf made Sydney her home in 2005. Since then, she has become a prolific photography-based practitioner, winning several accolades and tutoring other photographers.
“My first Head On win in 2010 got me set up with the gear that I needed to start shooting professionally. It also gave me the confidence to believe in my style. Although it might not always be what the mainstream is after.
“The second win at Head On Photo Awards in 2020 was so uplifting in very dire times during the pandemic. A lot of freelance photographers went through tough times. Now, I like focusing on passion projects and taking things as they come. I am still shooting commercially and things are starting to balance out.”
Tobias Titz – Portrait winner 2008
Image credit: Tobias Titz
Tobias Titz is a freelance photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Over the last ten years, he has worked for a range of local and international magazines and commercial clients.
“Plenty has happened! I got married we had a baby, moved house and still taking photos. I also started teaching Photography part-time at Monash University.
“Working with First Nations communities and Art Centres is still my favourite – a trip to the Tiwi Islands for the National Gallery of Victoria in 2019 was a highlight.
“Since I won the Head On in 2008 I have been a finalist in national and international Photography Awards and have won the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize in 2012 and the Art Handler Award at the National Portrait Prize in 2017.”
Marcia Macmillan – Landscape winner 2020
Image credit: Marcia Macmillan
“I took this image of my daughter running through our paddocks as we returned home from a walk one afternoon. Dust storms of this magnitude have now become so normal that we no longer adjust our daily routine to accommodate them. My daughter is a quintessential farm girl who likes to dress up. A fragile, yet fearless nine-year-old, challenging mother nature to unleash herself in all her fury.”
Marcia Macmillan is a burgeoning photographic talent. Now based in South Australia, Marcia has a natural tact for capturing the Australian landscape.
“Winning the Landscape Award in 2020 has had an extraordinary impact on my life. I could never have imagined the global reach the win would have, or the ongoing attention the image would receive. The image has been featured in a range of exhibitions, academic journals and articles around the world, which has allowed me to meet some of the most interesting and talented people in their industries.
Prior to my Head On win, I did not own a decent camera, so more than anything, I am loving my Sony Alpha and experimenting with a range of photographic techniques.
My life took an unexpected turn mid last year when my husband was offered a job to manage a progressive sheep and cattle farm in the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA. Here, the terrain is rugged, wild and ever-changing, and is serving as a perfect and spectacular backdrop for my photography. When our family has settled into this next chapter of our lives, I would like to pursue a more creative avenue of work, including a more focussed approach to my photography.
I am eternally grateful to The Head On Photo Awards for the exceptional work they do. I also love the organisation’s philosophy; one which enables all people to submit their work to a panel of judges who select winning images based on photographic merit rather than reputation – this is incredibly rare, and provides unknown artists with life-changing opportunities and industry recognition.”
How could your life change by winning The Head On Photo Awards?
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