Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival launches this Friday
Now in its 12th year, the annual Head On Photo Festival is set to launch in Sydney this Friday, 19 November at a number of iconic venues and locations across the city. The festival is scheduled to run for 10 days until Sunday 28 November.
Established in 2008, Head On is a not-for-profit organisation that works to promote the work of photographers; professional and amateur alike. Head On aims to use their Photo Festival and Awards program to increase the accessibility of photography and help raise awareness about important issues.
Building on the success of last year’s Head (On)line program, which was viewed by 80,000 people across Australia and around the world, the 2021 festival will also have a digital presence, including a series of virtual artist talks and workshops.
That said, the 2021 festival will also have its familiar physical presence across Sydney. Now that restrictions have well and truly eased, Sydneysiders are invited to visit a number of galleries and public spaces to view the exhibitions the 2021 festival has on offer. The main festival hubs will be located at Bondi Beach and at Paddington Reservoir Gardens.
You will find the just over half a kilometre of exhibition space along the Bondi Beach Promenade and the Paddington Reservoir Gardens will play host to a series of free talks, artist conversations and workshops. You can visit the Head On website here to find out more about the festival's live events.
International talent featured on Australian shores
Works created by renowned international photographers are set to play a starring role in this year’s festival program. A few of the festival highlights are listed below.
Turkish-American photographer Nadide Goksun’s series titled Swimmers will be on show against the very fitting backdrop of Bondi Beach. The series draws inspiration from Goksun’s childhood memories of summer holidays by the Aegean sea and explores feelings of relaxation and pleasure brought on by the act of floating and moving through water.
A series titled Roger the Rat will be on show at Paddington Reservoir Gardens. The series was captured by internationally acclaimed South Africa based photographer Roger Ballen and explores the nature of the human psyche.
Celebrated American photographer, writer and filmmaker Neil Kramer’s series Quarantine in Queens will make its Australian debut along the Bondi Beach Promenade. Finding himself in an unexpected living arrangement during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, housed in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens with his 86-year-old mother and his ex-wife, Kramer sought to capture images that served as a personal commentary on ideas of caregiving, love and family responsibility.
Shot at the mermaid tank at the Perth Fringe World Festival, Dreaming of Mermaids is a series of etherial images captured by Australian-based photographer Johannes Reinhart. Also on show at the Bondi Beach Promenade, Dreaming of Mermaids explores the innocence and magic of childhood.
There are many more incredible international photographers featured in this year’s program. You can see the full program on the Head On Festival website here.
Where to find Aussie Photographers
While this year's program features the work of both Australian and international photographers, we thought that you might like to know where you can find some of the home-grown talent this year.
As a festival-first, Head On 2021 will feature an exhibition that showcases images captured by emerging First Nations photographers who took part in the First Sight mentorship program. The exhibition, which shares its name with the mentorship program, is made up of images that explore themes of First Nations identity, culture and artistic vision. It will be on show at the Paddington Reservoir Gardens.
Tom Goldner’s series Do brumbies dream in red? will be on display at the main exhibition space along the Bondi Beach Promenade. The work explores changes in the Australian landscape, especially with respect to the Snowy Mountain brumby and the impact of the 2019-2020 summer bushfires.
2019 - A Year Before Lockdown is a collaborative exhibition that will also be on show along the Bondi Beach Promenade. The exhibition features the work of more than fifty of Australia’s best Australian live music photographers, and has been put together as a celebration of the live music community. The images were also featured in a photobook created to help raise funds for the SupportAct charity in the wake of the economic strain felt by the arts community due to Covid-19.
Tim Bauer’s exhibition We Bleed the Same will be on show at the the Tim Bauer Photo Studio in Annandale. The exhibition features a series of 29 portraits of immigrants and First Nations people, accompanied by short quotes that shed light on each subjects' story, that together serve as an account of the racism that persists in Australia today.
On exhibition along the Bondi Beach Promenade, Kadri Elcoat’s series titled Postcards from the Edge (of South Melbourne) sheds light on the impact of having life put on hold during the lockdown in Melbourne. To create the series, Elcoat recreated activities at home that were no longer possible in the real world, depicting humorous scenes such as going on holiday in her kitchen, abseiling from the stairs and camping in the living room.
Australian photographer and former DJ, Bridgette Gower, will showcase the world premiere of her body of work titled Disco Bugs. The series, which depicts ‘dancing’ bugs, was inspired by the lights and laser beams of the nightclubs that she visited around the globe as a DJ.
These are just a few of the Australian photographers featured in this year’s program. To find out more details about the Head On Photo Festival exhibitions taking place this November, check out the Head On website here.