Head On photo festival asking for entries

Head On photo festival asking for entries
Image: Photo credit: Michael Torres and Tace Stevens

Head On, one of the world’s great photo festivals is calling for entires for the 2024 Photo Awards, and they will be coming not only from Australia, but from all over the world.

With a pool of prizes worth $80,000 awarded across landscape, portrait and exposure (new), Head On is also one of the world’s richest, having awarded over $850,000 in equipment and prize money since their inception in 2004.

Only this year the festival almost did not make it.

The long tail of Covid had hit and for a few months this year it looked like it had come to an end.

“In the last few months quite a number of organisations closed down,” Moshe Rosenzveig, director of the Head On Foundation said.

“While we are still operating, we have gone from six people to three, and we got some money from Create NSW.

“They have been supporting us for the past five to six years, and now they are very much behind us with substantial amounts.”

While Rosenzveig is grateful for government money, he stresses that the majority of the income for the prize monies is derived from the entry fee of $30 per image, while valued sponsors donate equipment and books as part of the prize packages.

Talia Greis’ 2023 Landscape Winner.

40 Head On shows around Bondi

This year the festival hopes to attract thousands of entries which will be refined to just few hundred for selection of the finalists who will exhibit in around 40 shows around Bondi, Paddington and hopefully Coogee and Maroubra.

“We have two main locations, one which is the Reservoir Gardens in Paddington, and the other is along Bondi Beach,” Rosenzveig said.

“We’re hoping to broaden out to Coogee and Maroubra and we are still talking to the councils on this. We’re in a new gallery in the Bondi Pavilion and we have been in the Paddington space since 2010.”

 History of the photo festival

When the festival started its shows were in cafes, restaurants, libraries and Parliament House.

“The idea was to have a celebration of photography wherever you went, but people complained that they could not get to everything, so we decided to concentrate the festival into a few places in the eastern suburbs and the inner west,” Rosenzveig said.

“Then Covid hit so we moved it outdoors.

“We were the only festival I know of which ran in 2020 and we had it online.”

Head On’s reach also goes way beyond Sydney, with side shows being held in cities around the world.

“We have a relationship with many organisations and for example, in Pingyang in China we have done over 400 exhibits and have been going there for the past 10 years except for the Covid years.” Rosenzveig said.

“We also work with the Royal College of Music in London and send them images every year that the students compose for, and they have a concert with the projected images.”

This year Head On will expand on its work during Covid with eight Indigenous photographers.

“We took one photographer, Michael Torrres of Blak Lens, who will act as a consultant that will feature the work of two of the workshop participants, Trace Stevens and Milli Hooper,” Rosenzveig said.

Jalaru Torres’ ‘Blood of my Blood’ from the 2021 Head On Festival.

Other work from Head On

Head On also published a book from the exhibit called First Sight.

For many photographers entering competitions can be fraught as quite often the judges are selected from a tight group of photographers who are often seen as having favourites.

Head On has always maintained a independent judging policy whereby the artist’s name submitting work is anonymous, making for a level playing field.

This year’s Head On judges comprise of leaders in their fields drawn from across the globe, including then USA, Iraq, Brazil, Germany and Australia and include Trent Parke, the first local member of the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency.

Entries for the 2024 Head On are open until 18 August with under-25 entrants receiving a 50% discount on entry fees.

Head On Foundation home site http://headon.org.au

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