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Head On opens, Fiona Wolf wins Portrait Award

The 2020 Head On Photo Festival has released its full online program, and is currently showing online exhibitions and running  hours of live events every day, until May 17.

The cover of the Head On Photo Festival Online Program booklet, featuring a photo by Paris-born Perth-based photographer, Vee Speers.

Head On ordinarily pulls together photography from all corners of the world and exhibits it across Sydney. However the Coronavirus forced organisers to modify the event, making it the first photo festival in the world to run entirely online.

The festival program has been released as a 106-page PDF document, which includes all exhibitions and an events schedule featuring free online artist talks and workshops. The booklet includes a link to all exhibitions and events, creating a smooth process to plan to view events and seamlessly jump over to the live stream.

And the winners are…
Sydney photographer, Fiona Wolf-Symeonides, won the Head On Portrait Award for her image, The gift, RHW 2020. The photo shows Wolf-Symeonides’ friend, Madeleine, a surrogate mother for a gay couple moments after giving birth. This was the photographer’s first time documenting a birth.

Head On Portrait Award winning image, The gift, RHW 2020, by Fiona Wolf-Symeonides

The photos description reads: ‘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’.

Instead of awarding a second and third place, Head On now awards an Australian and International Runner-up. The Australian Portrait Award runner-up is filmmaker, Jon Frank, for his photo Yuendumu, Northern Territory, 2019, captured during a year he spent with the Warlpiri people.

Head On Portrait Award Australian runner-up image, Yuendumu, Northern Territory, 2019, by Jon Frank.

The International Portrait Award runner-up is acclaimed Dutch photographer, Jouk Oosterhof, for Egbert. Oosterhof’s portrait of a toddler ‘draws on an old technique used for long exposures where children were held by their parents who were covered in decorative fabrics, to keep them in place and prevent blurry pictures’.

Head On 2020 Portrait Award International runner-up image, Egbert, by Jouk Oosterhof.

The winner of the 2020 Landscape Award is Mullengudgery-based teacher, Marcia Macmillan, who captured her daughter running towards a dust storm. Macmillan highlighted that she is ‘not a photographer’, and it was purely by chance she captured this award-winning moment.

Head On Landscape Award runner up image, Whimsical warrior, by Marcia Macmillan.

The Australian Landscape Award runner-up is celebrated photojournalist, Nick Moir, for Run, which shows firefighters escaping the intense heat of the Green Wattle Creek fire in Orangeville during the devastating 2019/20 Australian bushfire season.

Head On 2020 Landscape Award runner up image, Run, by Nick Moir.

The International Landscape Award runner-up is English photographer, Paul Carruthers, for his photo Cheddar Gorge – Horseshoe Bend, a five-minute night-time exposure of the famous limestone gorge, once voted one of the seven wonders of Britain.

Head On 2020 Landscape Award runner up image, Cheddar Gorge – Horseshoe Bend, by Paul Carruthers.

There are over 100 exhibitions and events, covering all styles and genres of photography. This year there is an impressive selection of shows by Australian photojournalists, documentary, landscape, and fine art photographers.

A handful of Australian shows:
– Some seriously iconic and memorable photos captured by Australian photojournalists are featured in Paper Tigers, an exhibition curated by Head On organisers which asked 60 leading photographers to provide an important image they captured;
– Social issues photographer, Belinda Mason, has captured powerful portraits of Australian indigenous women who are victims of violence for Blur Projects;
– Veteran conflict photographer, Tim Page, has provided his visual diary of the Vietnam War in Nam Contact;
Landscape photographers, Peter Eastway and Tony Hewitt, camped out somewhere in Middle Earth Middlehurst, a high country sheep station of New Zealand’s South Island, capturing dramatic large-format landscapes;
– Fremantle-based photographer, Odette Cavill, has taken a voyeuristic journey into change rooms while men try on vintage clothes in Change Room Series One. Having never been accused of over stepping boundaries, she can’t help but wonder if the roles were reversed, in this age of political correctness, would she be branded a ‘dirty old sleaze’. Most likely, she reckons, so does that make us a society of hypocrites?;
– Brian Cassey also explores the fallacies of politically correctness in ‘Me Too! Where the boys are… The girls are‘. He photographed male burlesque dancers, who perform for young women, and everyone behaves in ways which is in direct contrast to the #MeToo movement;
– Dave Tacon shines a lens on the great Chinese dream in Shanghai: Decadence with Chinese Characteristics. The rise of a wealthy younger class in China, thanks to aggressive economic expansion, has dramatically changed life for some in Shanghai. It’s all nightclubs and champagne.

There is way more, including numerous exhibitions by international photographers. Download the Head On Photo Festival Program (13MB). Visit the website here.

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