From mental illness and motherhood, ISIS and nudists, to the nightlife of Kings Cross in the 1970’s and rare and unseen images of David Bowie, Head On Photo Festival returns to Sydney with a stunning array of exhibitions from around the world.
On Saturday 5 May, at the Head On Photo Festival launch at UNSW Art & Design Paddington, this year’s winners were announced for the Head On Photo Awards, one of Australia’s most critically acclaimed photographic portrait competitions and one of the flagship events of the festival.
More than 5,000 entrants from emerging and established photographers, photo journalists and artists vied for over $50,000 worth of prizes across the five categories: Portrait, Landscape, Landscape NSW, Mobile and Student.
The Head On Portrait Prize, was taken out by Cesar Dezfuli with Passenger, an emotive portrait of a young West African refugee rescued 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. Sixteen year-old Amadou Sumaila had travelled in a rubber boat that had carried 118 people on board.
First prize in the Landscape category went to Todd Kennedy for Lit from above, an image of a rock formation at Lake Mungo, an image shot in colour despite its monochrome visual. This is the natural colour of the rocks when lit by pure white LED’s from a drone. Some green can be made out on the small bushes to the right.
Winner in the Mobile division was Demetris Koilalous for The Tempest, a haunting shot of the sea passage between Greece and Turkey that is referred to by migrants and refugees as the ’death passage’. The image was shot during a tempest that caused a temporary halt in the arrival of dinghies from the Turkish coast.
The Student prize was awarded to Sophie Smith whose use of a slow shutter produced an image filled with energy and liveliness. “In Animated, I asked my best friend to play some music and dance to her heart’s content. The slow shutter speed caused her sequinned top to resemble sparks flying around her, representing energy and liveliness.”
See the works of all 40 finalists at the Museum of Sydney from 6 May to 9 July 2017.