Press "Enter" to skip to content

2023 Head On Photo Award winners gallery

The 2023 Head On Photo Awards results have been announced, with two Australians pocketing top spots including Newcastle photographer, David Cossini, who won the prestigious Portrait Prize.

The Head On Photo Awards, consisting of the Portrait, Landscape, Student, and the new Environmental prize, were announced at the photo festivals’ launch on November 10 at Bondi Beach. Cossini wins $10,000 cash and other prizes. Each category has both an international and Australian runner-up.

Cossini’s winning image, Ugandan Ssebabi, is ‘set among the tough slums of Kyazanga’, the image description states, and ‘is a photographic tribute to the world’s greatest underdog’.

The Head On Portrait Prize winning image, Ugandan Ssebabi, by David Cossini.

‘Godfrey Baguma, born with a rare and painful physical disability, was abandoned by his mother as a bringer of ‘bad luck’ and shunned by society,’ the image description states. ‘Through a chance encounter, he reinvents himself as an entertainer in a travelling show. Now 57, he has beaten the odds. While most people with his condition die by 40, he has found love, success and bought a house — a testament to human resilience and positivity.’

It’s the second time Ugandan Ssebabi has appeared on Inside Imaging, with Cossini’s image winning the 2023 National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) Art Handler’s Award earlier this year.

The Head On Landscape Prize was won by Sydney-based underwater photographer, Talia Greis, for her image Underwater Garden.

The Head On Landscape Prize winning image, Underwater Garden, by Talia Greis.

‘A shallow, pond like, open air sinkhole with the most impressive range of water lilies,’ the image description states. ‘Found in the depths of the rainforest, Mexico.’

The Environmental Prize overall winner is Belgian documentary photographer, Alain Schroeder, for Saving orangutans 1.

The Head On Environmental Prize winning image, Saving Orangutans 1, by Alain Schroeder.

‘Sibolangit, SOCP Quarantine Centre, North Sumatra, Indonesia,’ the image description states. ‘The SOCP team works together to prepare Brenda, an estimated 3-month-old female orangutan (she has no teeth yet), for surgery. They administer a sedative, shave her arm, and take her temperature while others hold her head or hand out of compassion. This series documents Indonesia’s orangutan’s rescue, rehabilitation, and release. They are under threat from the ongoing depletion of the rainforest due to palm oil plantations, logging, mining, and hunting.’

And lastly, the Student Prize goes to Lucia St Leon for Paper constructs.

The Head On Student Prize winning image, Paper constructs, by Lucia St Leon.

‘I experiment with light and natural fragments of the earth, captured and reframed through dioramas to create an alluring glimpse of the connection between Earthy forms and their inhabitants. Encouraging appreciation for our world.’

Here’s the Australian and international runner-ups:

Portrait Prize runner-ups

The Head On Portrait Prize International runner-up, The retreat of butterflies, by Delphine Blast. ‘Delphine lived in the Dominican Republic in 2011. In 2021, she returned to lead a participatory project with 16 inmates in the country’s only penitentiary centre for underage girls. Participants are encouraged to regain possession of their image and become actors in their lives in a place that deprives them of all freedom. Together, they make masks, a central element of Dominican folklore, which protects their identity and embodies their physical and psychological confinement. They choose messages to transcribe onto the images, projecting themselves into the future.’


The Head On Portrait Prize Australian runner-up, MP Jane Wade, by Julian Kingma. ‘Jan liked to control the room. “You’ve got ten minutes.”‘


Landscape Prize runner-ups

Head On Landscape Prize International runner-up, The image of fear, by Francisco Negroni. ‘Los Lagos Region, Chile. In 2015 and after more than 40 years of calm, the Calbuco volcano began a new and violent eruptive process. Hundreds of people had to evacuate the area due to the ash fall. In the photograph, a gigantic fumarole is surrounded by thousands of electrical discharges (a phenomenon scientifically known as a dirty storm) which caused panic throughout the region and during the first night of eruption’.


Head On Landscape Prize Australian runner-up, Shanty Town, Swakopmund, Namibia, by Barbara Brown. Aerial view describing life within a shanty town north of Swakopmund taken from aeroplane.

Environmental Prize runner-ups

Head On Environmental Prize International runner-up, Fauxliage – Airport approach, Palm Springs, CA, by Annette LeMay.
‘This series documents the proliferation of disguised cell phone towers in the American West. By attempting to conceal an unsightly yet essential technology of the modern world, our landscapes are now sown with a quirky mosaic of masquerading palms, evergreens, flagpoles, crosses, and cacti. But the towers are simulacra. They are water towers that hold no water, windmills that provide no power, and trees that provide no oxygen, yet they all provide five bars of service. The towers pose the question: How much of an ersatz landscape and manufactured nature are we willing to accept in exchange for connectivity?’


The Head On Environmental Prize Australian runner-up, Portrait of extinction, by Adam Oswell. ‘Field rangers from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority pose in front of over 12 tonnes of metal snares confiscated in just one year in Murchison Falls National Park. The snare crisis is devastating wildlife populations across the planet as they are a cheap and effective method of poaching wildlife for powerful and sophisticated criminal syndicates who often exploit impoverished communities to supply a booming global black market for wildlife.’





Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Business Partners