Head On Photo Festival announces incredible line-up of exhibitions from Australia and abroad

Head On Photo Festival 2018 Craig Holmes AshtonsFrom Pattie Boyd’s personal images of life with George Harrison and Eric Clapton to Japanese love dolls, the death rituals of Indonesia, John F. Kennedy and an emotional exploration of a family’s dual cancer fight, Head On Photo Festival returns to venues across Sydney this May with an amazing array of exhibitions from all over the globe.

Running from Saturday 5 – Sunday 20 May 2018, Head On Photo Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious photo festivals. Since it began in 2010 the Festival has evolved to include a wide range of stunning exhibitions from world-renowned photographers, innovative workshops run by international professionals and critically acclaimed mentors and community events aimed at everyone from enthusiasts and devout collectors.

This year, over 100 exhibitions will pop up around the city. Paddington once again will become a hub for the Festival, with over 20 exhibitions taking place in various venues, from Paddington Town Hall to the Reservoir Gardens as well as in over 30 shopfronts along Oxford Street.

As always, Head On’s Festival Hub in Paddington will be made up of an electric mix of exhibitions. Supported by Fujifilm, the Festival Hub will feature 12 exhibitions including works by 87 international and Australian photographers.

A new venue for the Festival this year, the Royal Botanic Gardens, will see some of the more ambitious and interactive exhibitions installed. From a floating exhibition in one of the ponds to an interactive app based collection, Head On Photo Festival’s exhibitions will add to the already stunning views of the harbourside gardens.

“We have some of the most incredible work coming to Sydney for this year’s Festival,” says Festival Director, Moshe Rosenzveig. “The very best photographers from around the world are bringing their works to Sydney for the Festival, and we’re excited to be exhibiting works from over 700 photographers from 22 different countries.”

“Once again Head On Photo Festival launches with a special opening night gala event where we announce the winners of the Head On Photo Awards, Australia’s most prestigious photography awards. Representing a global selection of the best work from emerging and established photographers, the Head On Photo Awards is made up of four categories: Portrait, Mobile, Student and Landscape.”

“In a first for the Festival we’ll also be showcasing works from some of the biggest and most respected photo competitions and awards, from Australia and internationally. Finalists and winners from the most recent Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, Tokyo International Photography Competition, Alpha Awards and Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be shown at Head On this year,” added Rosenzveig.

Highlights from this year’s Head On Photo Festival include:

In Nancy Borowick’s The Family Imprint, the audience is introduced to a deeply personal story of family, looking at the experiences of Borowick’s own parents who were in parallel treatment for stage-four cancer, side by side.  The project looks at love and life in the face of death, from dual diagnosis to the moments of love shared with each other and their family.

Other explorations of personal life include Juan Pablo Echeverri ‘s miss fotojapan where hundreds of photo booth images of the artist depict his changing appearance over 17 years; and in American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times the golden age of photojournalism in America is on full display, featuring a wide range of images of the world’s most photographed politician. The exhibition during Head On also coincides with what would have been the Former President’s 101st Birthday on 29 May 2018.

Pattie Boyd was the original 1960’s It girl, model and first wife to both The Beatles’ George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Known as a muse to both artists, Boyd was also renowned for her work behind the lens and will be coming to Sydney for the Festival with a collection of never-before-seen photographs that offer an intimate glimpse into her life with the two British music legends. George Harrison, Eric Clapton & Me: The Photography of Pattie Boyd will run throughout the entire Festival.

Culture and the way people live in today’s society is explored in a number of exhibitions at the Festival. Focusing on the one subject, 61 year old Senji Nakajima, Saori looks at the human condition, connections and the fascinating popularity of realistic, life-sized ‘love dolls’ in Japan.

America’s obsession with guns is explored in two very different shows. Garret Hansen’s HAIL, responds to the fact that there are enough guns in America to arm every man, woman, and child in the country. Images are created from individual bullet holes displayed on 12 panels that represent a single month in Kentucky and records every homicide involving a gun that occurred during that month. In 2nd Amendment Cowboy, photographer Daniel Gonçalves attempts to understand America’s gun culture and owners, as well as his own feelings towards them in a series of striking portraits.

2018 marks the 16th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay, the first War on Terror prison. Former human rights lawyer turned photographer, Debi Cornwall paints a vivid and disorientating picture of life in and after Guantanamo in her series Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantanamo Bay. The exhibition will leave audiences questioning the choices made by the West, including Australia, in the era of the War on Terror.

Changing Perspectives: Renewable Energy and the Shifting Human Landscape is a multi-year aerial and ground-based photography project by Jamey Stillings that documents the important renewable energy development around the world. Renewable energy is a hot topic and new projects are being built around the world at a remarkable pace, this project documents the efforts being made globally to shift energy production away from Fossil Fuels.

Somos Brasil is a multimedia exhibition by Marcus Lyon and explores the diversity of Brazilian identity at the outset of the 21st century through ultra-high quality portraits, image activated app based soundscapes and DNA. Over a six-month period Lyon toured Brazil exploring the most diverse corners of the country with a producer and sound recordist. Together they mapped the ancestral DNA, personal stories and visual identity of over one hundred remarkable Brazilians.

Other exhibitions providing a window into the world today include Living for Death, in which photographer Alain Schroeder documents the complex and expensive Indonesian ritual Ma’nene, where family members dig up, clean and redress their deceased loved ones.

In James Whitlow Delano’s Normalizing Extrajudicial Murder in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal campaign against drugs is explored by focusing on the stories of the people most affected by the estimated 13,000 extrajudicial killings.

Australian photographers shine at Head On with a fascinatingly wide variety of subjects captured and on display. In Of Caravans and Canvas Queensland-based Photographer Craig Holmes sets out to capture the human face of the circus, following Australia’s longest running family-run circus, Ashton Circus, and investigating the individuals and environment that combine to create the travelling canvas theatre.

Having earnt international acclaim when her body painting was featured in Gotye’s music video Somebody I Used to Know, Emma Hack returns to Australia for Head On Photo Festival with two colourful new series, Flight of Fancy and Geometric.

Stuart Spence is a man of many talents, a photographer, columnist, presenter and author but most importantly he’s a man with the ability to turn garbage tins into Daleks, camping chairs to nervy beasts, and blow up dolls into anxious girlfriends. Enter the world of ‘When A Man Snaps,’ at the Festival where Stuey’s words and photographs come together, uncovering the humour, whimsy and confusion of a world most of us walk right past.

Two Australian artists look to the east with their premiere Festival shows. Samantha Everton’s series, Indochine explores notions of female identity and the meeting of Eastern and Western traditions by depicting Oriental women posed against intensely Ornate backdrops, whilst Olivia Martin-Maguire’s Double Happiness looks into China’s 80 billion dollar wedding industry and how pre-wedding photography has grown to become one of the most significant and curious parts of the industry.

As well as exhibitions, the prestigious Head On Photo Awards will take place, along with an assortment of world-renowned speakers, and innovative workshops, all showcasing the work from over 700 Australian and international photographers.

The 2018 Head On Photo Festival will be on display in galleries and other locations all over Sydney: 5 – 20 May. For more information, visit: www.headon.com.au for details.

Image: Craig Holmes, Ashtons (detail)