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Head On returns to Bondi

Sydney’s wonderful Head On Photo Festival will return on November 4, showcasing the work of over 500 photographers in 107 outdoor exhibitions in Bondi and the Paddington Reservoir Gardens.

The Head On Photo Festival again will be centred at its new – possibly permanent – home at Bondi Beach, with the evening opening party taking place at the recently-renovated Bondi Pavilion on Friday, November 4.

Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach will again host a lion’s share of the festival’s Featured (curated) Program, with the promenade transformed into a kilometre-long photography walk.

This is what we wrote about Head On’s move to Bondi last year:

There are 52 exhibitions at Bondi – hundreds of pictures zip-tied to the fence railing which separates the concrete city from Bondi’s golden sand. This strip enjoys the area’s heaviest foot traffic by far, and is a great score for the Aussie photo festival. It has likely exposed photography to a larger audience than any other location in Head On’s history.

And if Les Rencontres d’Arles is unashamedly French by showcasing photography in the city’s historic chapels and down cobbled streets, Head On is quintessentially Australian by bringing photography to the country’s most famous beach. Bronzed bodies slumped on the beach is part of Australian culture. Max Dupain made sure of this back in 1937. So it’s fitting to have the lead venue a frisbee throw or volley ball serve from the water’s edge.

As for the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, it hosts the more confronting and graphic work, thanks to being less in the public eye. It’s located just off Oxford road, down a couple of flight of steps, meaning the easily offended will only stumble upon the work with some level of curiosity. This is where attendees will find the hard-hitting photojournalism and graphic documentary work, as well as fine art that pushes boundaries. It’s not a venue to be missed, and easily accessible from the CBD.

Here’s a small selection of this year’s Featured Exhibitions:


Photo: Andrew Rovenko.

Ukrainian-born and raised, Andrew Rovenko presents The Rocketgirl Chronicles. This
series celebrates the small joys and victories families tried to relish during Melbourne’s COVID-19 240-day lockdown. For Andrew, this was making an astronaut suit and helmet for his space-fascinated daughter.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme is the most ambitious hydroelectric project in Australian history. While at first a visionary idea for renewable energy, this photographic series by Sydney-based multi-award-winning photographer Chris Round explores the balance between nature and human intervention.

MUAY THAI KIDS – Alain Schroeder

Photo: Alain Shroeder.

To keep their children out of trouble, families in the poverty-stricken region of Isaan, Thailand, enrol their children in the highly competitive sport: Muay Thai. Palpable pressure is put on these children as betting is fierce and gym owners, trainers and families rely heavily on their earnings.

HOME TRUTHS – Ilana Rose
Ilana Rose is a professional photographer and photojournalist. Home Truths is starting a conversation about the unique challenges facing Australia’s 50,000 homeless youth through a series of thought-provoking portraits. This series creates a sense of shared humanity by providing the viewer with rarely shown glimpses of experiences that may intersect with their lives.



Photo: Orna Naor.

For over a decade, Israeli women from the Machsom Watch Organization have helped
to bring Palestinian children and their mothers to the sea. For most of them, it’s the first time in their lives. Israeli photographer Orna Naor presents the moment fear and suspicion changed into joy and laughter.

This is a tiny sample. Click here for more info.

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