Australia’s prestigious photography prize, Head On, has announced the 2018 winners of their four prizes in the categories of Portrait, Landscape, Mobile, and Student. This year over 5,000 established and emerging photographers entered for the chance to win $60,000 worth of available prizes.
The Head On Portrait Prize was awarded to partners Sávio Freire and Irmina Walczak for their captivating family portrait, Mama, which was taken after the birth of their second son. In the intimate photograph, where a mother cradles newborn and firstborn, each person’s feelings in the new family unit as carer, outsider, and observer are depicted.
In their statement accompanying the work Walczak and Freire state ‘This photo is a portrait of us in the early days of the arrival of our son. It represents a time in which each of us was searching and reviewing its place in this new organism called family.’
Second Prize in this category was awarded to Hubert Czajkowski for Silence which displays a subject who asks ‘does each song have to be about love?’ whilst gazing enigmatically back at the viewer. Third place was given to Susan Copen Oken’s Portrait at One Hundred, a vulnerable and arresting black and white photograph of a nude geriatric.
Roger Grasas’ Giza Pyramids won the Landscape prize for his shot of the ancient Pyramids and sphinx of Giza in Egypt seen from within the dining room of a Pizza Hut restaurant. Simon Harsent was awarded second place for a depiction of the Notts County Football Ground whilst third place was given to Al Wildey for Midland, a digital composite comprised of 100 photographs merged into a single image. The Landscape NSW Award was presented to Jasmine Pool for Middle Kingdoms- Wan Wah, Forbes NSW, a photograph from the series ‘Middle Kingdoms’ which explores Chinese restaurants and their owners in country and rural NSW.
The Mobile Prize was awarded to Zay Yar Lin’s Life in Colour, a striking aerial shot of a seafarer sweeping the bright red deck of his ship, contrasted with the crashing blue waves below. Lin states in a statement accompanying the photograph that this is not only an image of the ship but also a depiction of ‘the life of a seafarer.’ Second place was taken by Lauren Elise Barlow for Déjà vu, a documentation of Elise Barlow’s pregnant sister and her young daughter. John Platt’s Untitled won third place for an otherworldly meditation of Platt’s adolescent connection to the ocean and ‘what lurked beneath that dark still water.’ Douwe Dijkstra’s Nordic Saga was given an honourable mention for a black and white photograph of an individual, which Dijkstra describes as ‘braving the elements of Ryvarden Lighthouse, Norway.’
Finally, the Student Prize was given to Levitation by Hi Yin Chan for a mountain top portrait of the subject seemingly floating against a mountainside backdrop. Chan notes in the accompanying statement that ‘Hiking has always been a way for me to escape. It is both scary and exciting when I think of my future. But at the end of the day, all I want for my future is freedom.’ Indiana Greer’s mesmerising close-up photograph, Rotten, was awarded second place and Gigi Malherbe’s VB Party 01, a documentary photograph of a ‘Victory Brownout Party’ came in third.
Running from 5 to 20 May, the 2018 ‘Head On Photo Festival’ spans over 100 exhibitions showcasing over 700 photographers from 22 countries. This year, the festival is centred around Paddington’s Festival Hub and in galleries and creative spaces across the city. For the first time, the Royal Botanic Gardens will also be a new venue for the festival.