Fraud Blocker

Valentine’s day is just around the corner – it became associated with romantic love in the 14th century, and these days, it is also associated with marketing and consumerism.

We asked our Festival artistic director, Moshe Rosenzveig OAM, to dig through Head On’s archive to pull out photographs that say something more about the relationships and bonds we all share.

Now into its 11th Head On Photo Festival and 16th Head On Photo Awards Festival Head On has become a significant online archive of some of the best local and international contemporary photography.

Cover photo (above): Meghann Lyding

Transference: Mom and Dad is the result of repeatedly kissing my parents. The traces of lipstick, which recall the act, become marks of a relationship history that presents itself superficially and in excess. The kisses can be seen as gestures of affection or elicitation of a healing response as well as the redness of wounds. Regardless of the read, the gesture is revisited as it has been shared, transferred back and forth through the relationship.

Photo: Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd was a successful fashion model in England during the 1960s and 1970s. In that time, she met and married both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, putting her in the enviable position of being able to take intimate photographs of some of the world’s great musicians who came into their lives.

Photo: Loulou D’Aki

“When the doctor came in and told me I probably shouldn’t wait too long to have a child, I thought: I’ll just do it – straight away! One year later, I was pregnant.” Lilje was born after insemination treatment with eggs donated from Sandra’s sister in Finland.

Photo: Morganna Magee

Daisyanna and her boyfriend Cam aged 16, Ballarat, Victoria. It is this age that we change and develop in ways that shape who we are for the rest of our lives. These years were the most tumultuous of my childhood; I was wild and nothing could stop me. It was a time that I never want to revisit. I use portraiture to humanize a generation caught between traditional expectations of teenagehood and the strong push in modern society to grow up fast.

Photo: Matthew Abbott

Young lovers, the morning after the Croydon Rodeo.

Photo: Tom Williams

Shawnii and Jake, Wollongong 2013

Photo: Richard Wainwright

“We fled Syria across the border into Jordan and could only carry this suitcase with a few clothes and food for the baby. It was cold and dangerous, I cannot explain how awful it’s been for the children” Zeena, 26 and her family struggle to survive in Amman after fleeing Homs following the destruction of their house and bakery.

Photo: Fiona Wolf

Crowned Madonna’ is a representation of what ‘woman’ stands for- nurturing, strength and beauty. However, some slip into male roles to gain respect. Gender roles are hard to escape when trying to fulfil the most important jobs (which are unpaid): being a loving mother, matriarch and partner while also battling the workforce and retaining a perfectly shaped female form.

Photo: Didi Gilson

Bobby, Thearee and Justice (with Armani and Dolce).

Photo: Patrick Tombola

Part of a wider look at Australia’s rural underclass, this photograph capture a moment of tenderness between the father, a fifty-year-old scrap metal worker and his six-month-old son. Beer and loud music feature prominently in the scrapyard where the family lives, yet at this moment it all seems to come to a complete stand-still.

Alex Vaughan

Photo: Alex Vaughan

Les is 95 and Eileen 96. Their journey started in 1945 as they walked by each other on Archer Street in Chatswood. They shared a life together for the next 65 years.

Photo: Liz Thompson

Annie and her partner, traditional lawman and chairman of the Kimberley Land Council for many years, John Darragah Watson, are deeply concerned about the maintenance, holding and transmission of important cultural heritage.

Photo: Nancy Borowick

A Life In Death is the story of family, my family, looking at the experiences of two parents who were in parallel treatment for stage-four cancer, side by side. The project looks at the simultaneity of life—the good, the bad, the important, and the frivolous in face of death. It honours my parents’ memory by focusing on their strength and grace, both individually and together, and shares the story of their final chapters, which came to a close just 364 days apart from one another.

Photo: Jenny Rova

I intended to make a self-portrait made by previous romantic partners. I asked my ex-boyfriends and lovers to provide me with every photograph they took of me during our relationship. The pictures I received were created for over 25 years. The first photo was created when I was nineteen, the last one was made this year after turning forty-five.

The work can be seen as biographical work, telling about a part of my life, but also an indirect portrait of the photographer— my former partner behind the camera.

Photo: Olivia Martin-McGuire

I first arrived in Shanghai I began noticing couples on every street being photographed in flamboyant wedding costumes. When I delved deeper I discovered this was a curious window into understanding China.

Just over 40 years ago, marriage in China was arranged by the state, by the army or by the parents. Couples were matched for the practicalities of social responsibility, for their families and ultimately for their country. Wedding photos consisted of one black and white passport photo of the couple, primarily as proof of the marriage.

Photo: Sara Naomi Lewkowicz

Emily and Kate had not initially planned to be pregnant at the same time. When Kate had troubles conceiving, she asked Emily to try. Emily became pregnant immediately, and in the three-week interim between her pregnancy and Kate winding down on her fertilization treatments, Kate became pregnant.

Photo: Daniel Schumann

As a Fulbright grantee in San Francisco, I wanted to carry forward the idea of family portraits in such a diverse and liberal city and express the freedom and beauty that I experienced in California. Since working on my book Princesses and Football Stars, I have become very interested in the subject of family portraits. I decided to take images of LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] families and couples, as an investigation on the shift in understanding family life.

Photo: Ramak Bamzar

For her series ‘Iranian Wedding,’ Ramak Bamzar focused on the small town of Karaj between 2005 and 2008. Much of the work undertaken was posed portraits of the families in traditional dress. The image highlights their ideals of beauty and prosperity and is often striking in their comparison with more modern communities/societies. Brides heavily made up, the wedding costumes, veils, hairdos and the traditional dress of the family that often overshadow the love and commitment being shared.

Photo: Mary Ellen Mark

Italian American Club Photo

Photo: Shauna Greyerbiehl

Daily Motion is an exhibition of documentary works scrutinizing the enchanting quiet of everyday life. Fractions of time are recorded in black and white to emphasize alluring simplicity in diurnal happenings, easily overlooked in today’s roaring world.

Photo: Andrea & Magda

For the past 50 years, our perception of the Palestinians has been shaped by conflict, violence, the intifada, the refugee camps and the Israeli occupation. The photographs in the series Palestinian Dream conjure up something completely different: a reality emerging in the context of the transformation of the Palestinian society.

Photo: Slim Aarons

Slim Aarons was a well-known celebrity photographer and socialite. Following a stint as a war photographer during World War II, he became a household name for his photos of the rich and famous, in his words “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”.

Photo: Jessica Dimmock

Rachel and Dionn have sex in their Washington Height’s apartment in January 2006

Photo: Sam Harris

Postcards from Home revolves around my domestic life and especially focuses on my two daughters Uma & Yali growing up. As I witness my daughter’s transformation in what feels like the briefest of moments I’m compelled to preserve something of our time living together.

Photo: Donna Bailey

Charlie and the pink bisket

Photo: Phillip Castleton

Miss Pixie lives with her family in Sydney’s North West. They all worship the 1950’s and their home is a shrine to the era.

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage