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Now that the festival has well and truly wrapped up, let’s take a minute to look at our finalists.

They’ve been uploaded to the Gallery and put in print, so the images can be viewed in all their glory. Buy the book here!

Put the kettle on, make a tea or coffee (or whatever your poison is) and come with me for a whistle-stop tour of Head On Photo Festival 2015 finalists.

Let’s start with the newest category, our lovely School Students. 2015 was the inaugural year of the Head On Student Prize, celebrating the best junior snappers. This category was added as part of our educational programme to foster emerging talent and encourage young people.  Our three winners, Paul Phillpott, Hannah Kelly and Ella Rynehart, all showcased something different; Paul’s jewel-toned landscape brings a welcome pop of colour among the girls’ black and white imagery. The quality of entries was so high that we picked 50 Finalist images, the most of any category.


Next, we’ll look at our Moving Image Finalists. The Moving Image category caters to the photographers and visual artists who have expanded their practice outside of the still image, sometimes storytelling cannot remain static. Moving Image is a fascinating category to reflect on, because of the wide variety of techniques, concepts and genres covered. Watch a short run-down of our moving image finalists.  

The Mobile Prize is arguably the people’s favourite category, this is because it opens itself up to one of Head On Photo Festival’s core values: inclusivity. Camera phones have been around since 2000, and in 2015 smartphones are sneaking into every household. The camera has embedded itself in a device that most of us would be lost without, enabling us to capture even the most fleeting of moments – which brings the Mobile Prize to life with the right amount of awe, quirk and beauty.


The Head On Landscape Prize not only invites photographers to submit globally, but has a real focus on image shot in NSW too. It’s about what you see around you – nature, cities, space. We wanted to see those amazing spaces in which you first encountered new people, experiences or foreign lands.  A great landscape photo lets the audience see something new. Whether it is a technically perfect shot of a far flung location or the reimagining of a mundane location through an artist’s eye. Our Landscape Prize encapsulates the spaces that we inhabit in both the real and the imaginary. This year we were taken to the vistas of Iceland, Jakarta and Tokyo and the NSW Prize was won by an image shot in Centennial Park.


Finally, the Head On Portrait Prize, the oldest but most grand category. The Head On Portrait Prize seeks out 40 images which reveal the essence of a person. Whether it be a notable figure, for instance George Fetting’s portrait of George Gittoes. A face with a story to tell, like Brett Canet-Gibson’s The Life of Riley, or the habits and items that make up our human expeirence, like Melva and her diamond rings by Jonathon van der Knaap. We realise that the essence of a person is so much more than their “look”, it is their story, their gaze, their vision, their passion and all of our idiosyncrasies.

Image credits: (Banner Image: Richard Hedger, Ben Reynolds and Paul Phillpott) Paul Phillpott, Ella Rynehart, Hannah Kelly, Neda Vanovacpo, Eric Mueller, Ben Begley, Kenny Smith, Jonathan van der Knaap and Glenn Porter.