As the 2020 Head On Photo Festival draws to a close, we look back over the last weeks of the Festival with a fondness in our hearts. This year has been extraordinary in so many ways. Like everyone everywhere, COVID19 put pay to our plans and we had to ditch our regular Sydney-based extravaganza with a launch party, exhibitions around the city and in-person workshops and talks.
Not a team to give up easily, we set our sights on the task of a quick turnaround of an entirely online festival….and it paid off! Let us recap….
Image credit: Dave Tacon
WE WENT ENTIRELY ONLINE
Image credit: Paul Harmon
This year Head On Photo Festival, Australia’s premier photographic event and a world-leading arts festival, presented by the not-for-profit Head On Foundation, ran it's whole program entirely online.
The rationale behind this ambitious decision is summed up by the Festival Director Moshe Rosenzveig OAM: “We recognise the extraordinary effort photographers have put into delivering Award entries and preparing exhibitions over recent months and plan to honour and celebrate this by working to create an online Head On Photo Festival and Awards.”
ARTIST TALKS, WORKSHOPS AND PANELS
Image credit: Charles McKean and AddOn artists
We delivered a dizzying program of around 82 artist talks, panel discussions and workshops, delivered entirely online and for free.
We had around 50 different artists talk about their work.
Other sessions included a variety of practical and inspiring photography workshops delivered by local and international artists including Oded Wagenstein, Peter Solness, Ilan Wittenberg, and Sandy Edwards, with others supported by Sony, Adobe and Olympus.
We had panel discussions and informative sessions on writing for the creative industries; photography, trauma and healing; armchair street photography; promoting your work; teaching photography; navigating the new world of photography; and alternative facts and the use of deep fakes, and more.
Over the duration of the Festival, we have attracted in excess of 80,000 visits to our website from a staggering 147 countries.
HEAD ON PHOTO AWARDS
Image credit: Fiona Wolf
Our Award ceremony and launch live-streamed on our website and Facebook to a global audience of tens of thousands. Everyone watched in delight as our surprised winners, unaware until then of the massive windfall they were just about to receive, were broadcast straight into their living rooms. We gave away over $70,000 worth of prizes to our Portrait Award winners, the Landscape and Student Award winners (sponsored by Fujifilm Australia and Sony Australia respectively).
Image credit: Renée C Byer
Our program included over 110 online exhibitions featuring both local and international artists. These included:
LIVING ON A DOLLAR A DAY: THE LIVES AND FACES OF THE WORLD'S POOR by photojournalist and Pulitzer prize winning Renée C Byer;
WATERMARKS by local photographer and quiet political activist Paul Harmon which takes a long hard look at the ugly truths that belie the beauty of the floodplains of the Murray-Darling River from the air, land traditionally owned by the Barkandji, Ngemba, Euahlayi and Wayilwan nations;
Image credit: Vee Speers
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY by Paris-based Australian artist Vee Speers which explores the playful escapism of games of childhood 'dress up' through her part fantasy part dystopic imagery;
PAPER TIGERS, an outstanding celebration of 60 images from 60 of Australia’s best photojournalists, including Stephen Dupont, Tracey Nearmy, Merv Bishop, Tim Page and Robert McFarlane amongst others. The “Paper Tigers” book is available for purchase from our new online bookstore.
Image credit: Janie Barrett
WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED
Please allow us to recap in a few dot points of self-congratulatory jubilation:
- We delivered the very first photo festival, if not festival, to go entirely online EVER
- People from all over the world watched as we gave away over $70,000 worth of prizes to our amazing Head On Photo Awards winners
- We had over 110 photography exhibitions delivered entirely online
- We delivered 80 artist talks, panel discussions and workshops all free, all online
- In the lead-up to, and during the festival period, we had over 80,000 visits to our website
- People from a staggering 147 countries were able to enjoy our festival in this online format
- We have set the bar into the future for other cultural and artistic agencies and organisations around the world
- Citizens from all over the world found their tribe and were able to connect and form relationships into the future
We’d like to thank everyone for their support.
If you were one of the lucky ones who attended one or more of our amazing workshops or talks, or saw our fabulous online exhibitions, and you enjoyed them, please consider donating to our cause. We run on an extremely tight budget and every little bit will go towards bringing you more exciting and practical events and workshops in the future.