We couldn’t be more grateful for our amazing Head On team and community that, every year, makes this Festival what it is – a home for photography.
So, let’s take a moment to look back on the epic tale that was Head On Photo Festival 2022!
Chapter 1: our volunteers are angels
What you have to understand is that by the time we are ready to start installing the Festival, the whole Head On team has been in full-throttle Festival-mode for several weeks. We are stressed sleep-deprived messes that couldn’t tell you the difference between a Phillips-head and flat-head screw to save ourselves. So, thank God for volunteers.
Our volunteers made this year’s installation one of our smoothest. We got those prints up in record time.
Chapter 2: countdown to launch
Welcome to our new home!
This year, our Festival hub was located at the newly renovated Bondi Pavillion – snazzy new digs for our spectacular Festival launch. The Pavilion welcomed over a thousand people for this special night.
It was a beautiful space, and we filled it with great food (did anyone try those doughnuts?!), amazing drinks and live music performed by the incredible Queen Porter Stomp.
Chapter 3: Winners announced
Time for the main event.
This year’s Head On Photo Awards was intensely competitive, with our amazing panel of judges deliberating for hours on which talented photographers would take out the top spots. But luckily (for us) they did manage to pick the winners.
Marika Lortkipanidze tuned in all the way from Georgia to accept her award as the overall winner of the Portrait Awards with her powerful image The invisible doors. Antoine Buttafoghi took out the top spot in the Landscape Awards with their beautiful photo A few metres from eternity. And the unbelievably talented young photographer Leila Middleton won the Student Awards with their photo Me.
You can see the rest of the winners here.
We awarded prizes to this year’s winner worth more than $70,000!
A particular highlight was seeing the Portrait Award Australian runner-up Amy Woodward accept her award with her beautiful baby strapped to her chest – that kid must have felt pretty special!
Chapter 4: First weekend
Sydney was blessed with lovely sunny weather, which meant everyone was out at the beach and parks (great news for us). We had more than 3000 people visit our exhibition at Paddington Reservoir Gardens in the first weekend alone!
And though we know that many of our devoted community would brave hurricanes to see our shows, the sunny weather was a welcomed sight compared to last year’s dreary weather. Tens of thousands saw our photos at Bondi Beach.
It was great to have so many of our artists, both local and international, be able to travel to Sydney to see their work hanging at these iconic locations.
Chapter 5: A world premiere
On our first Saturday night we walked the red carpet!
We were honoured to host the world premiere of Bentley Dean (director) and Tania Nehme’s (editor) new film BLAZE. A stunning film documenting photographer Murray Fredericks’ process of creating his new series of work that places fire as its central theme.
The film was a fascinating insight into Murray’s hands-on artistic process in the Australian outback.
Chapter 6: Event! Events! Events!
Each weekend of Head On Photo Festival 2022 was filled to the brim with interesting talks, panels, discussions, screenings and workshops. Here are just a few highlights:
Narratives of womanhood
In this session, we invited Aline Smithson, Mikaela Martin, Ramak Bamzar, and Sujata Setia to discuss their photographic projects which all shared a common thread of exploring what it is to be a woman and the various gendered roles they play.
This talk was so powerful because of the raw honesty that each of these women displayed – not a dry eye in the house!
We were thrilled when we secured such an impressive panel of photographers and photo editors for our Open portfolio review – and apparently so were you, since we were inundated with amazing photographers wanting to participate. This session was full of fantastic presentations and vibrant conversation, so much so that we went an hour overtime (oops!).
Thank you to all who participated – it’s a scary thing to show new work, but you all did marvellously.
Sony Photo Walk
Sony kindly stopped by Bondi, bringing with them the latest gadgets and gizmos and let us play around with them for the afternoon.
Our adventurous participants took to the beach to try out the tech.
Check out some of the extraordinary pictures our participants took!
Chapter 7: Expect the unexpected
While we try to plan the Festival down to every minute detail, things still manage to surprise us. Some surprises are pleasant, some…not so much. Here are the honourable mentions:
- The pigeon that would poo on the exact same print every day – thanks for that.
- This fluid-focussed headline by the Guardian
- When 5,000 people dressed all in white descended on Bondi Beach
- When 2,500 people dressed in nothing at all descended on Bondi Beach
- The fire alarm going off during our very first event, so we continued the talk in the park.
Chapter 8: Looking forward
We couldn’t be more grateful for all those who participated, engaged, and helped in this Festival, you make this Festival so special. Please consider supporting our exhibiting photographers by checking out their webpages; you can view the 2022 exhibitions online here.
And finally… Head On Photo Festival 2023 is on the horizon. We will be looking for diverse, engaging, quality work in all genres across still photography, multi-media, and video art to join the 2023 program. So, make sure to sign up to our mailing list, to be the first to know when submissions open!