Head On Conversations | Head On Photo Festival

Head On Conversations

Image Credit: 
Michael Amendolia

Head On Conversations

Conversations about photography and contemporary social issues


A series of conversations over two days, jam-packed with Australian and international photographers joined by experts in the creative industry and media who share their passion for photography and exploring contemporary issues. 

Participate in thought-provoking discussions that will raise and answer questions, inform, inspire and move you.

Saturday 4 May

Recapturing the audience: Why is nobody paying attention? 


Why the power of photography to address global challenges is declining. What is behind this crisis of compassion in an increasingly isolated world? How can we change the intolerance and fear surrounding refugees? Why is nobody paying attention?
Image detail: Head On Photo Festival Feaured exhibitor David Dare Parker

Moderator: Helen Vatsikopoulos - Australian journalist, academic and documentary maker



Indigenous (In)Justice: Confronting Deaths in Custody


The stories they don't want you to hear. What's going on behind closed doors? How can you shed light on a topic kept in the dark? Plus, a survival guide for dealing with challenging issues.

Moderator: Liz Deep-Jones - journalist, television presenter, media commentator, author and public speaker


  • Nioka Chatfield - Armidale mother of 22yo Tane Chatfield who died in custody 17 months ago, personal story of a death in custody 
  • David Shoebridge - Greens MP passionate about the issue who has been in contact and has a broad overview of all the families who’ve suffered from deaths in custody, not afraid to speak his mind 
  • Stewart Levitt - lawyer working pro bono for death in custody cases 
  • Pauline Clague - Associate professor, Manager of Cultural Resilience Research at Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research (JIIER)

More to be announced.


Sunday 5 May

The Naked Truth: Exploring Sexual Identity from Behind the Lens


What does modern sexuality look like? How do people express their sexual identity? Why is it so important? Plus how to gain trust and access as a photographer to the most private details of someone’s life. 

Participate in thought-provoking discussions that will raise and answer questions, inform, inspire and move you
Image detail: Head On Photo Festival Featured exhbitor Giljung Yoon

Moderator:  Matthew Friedman - founder of 2 Birds 1 Bee, a relationship and sex education business, providing educational content to students, parents, and schools whilst smashing the unhelpful taboos that silence most discussion in that area


  • Roni Ben Ari - Head On Photo Festival Featured artist, 'Ladies in waiting'
  • Soraya Zaman - Head On Photo Festival Featured artist, 'American boys'
  • Dr Elizabeth Riley - Specialist in Gender Identity Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor, Trainer & Academic
  • Safari Lee - Visual artist with lived experience in queer and sex worker communities. Completing an Honours degree in film, focusing on fetish and desire.

Protecting your work; digital filing & archiving, copyright and moral rights


Has the way we store our photos changed with Artificial intelligence software? Does using a NAS give you the safety you need? How do you work with cloud-based services? What do the proposed changes to Australian copyright law really mean? In today’s social media world, do moral rights have a larger role to play?

Image detail: Abir Sultan

Speakers: Ian McDonald - Ian is one of Australia's leading copyright lawyers and has been recommended in the leading international legal review guide Legal 500 

                  Anthony McKee - a professional photographer who specialises in documentary photography, will also deliver a talk about how he backs up and stores his digital assets


This session is supported by



Truths, Lies and Censorship


How to approach a project from a new perspective and find more success. Where is the line between the truth and a lie? How can you turn the mundane into the extraordinary? 
Image detail: Head On Photo Festival Featured exhbitor Sina Niemeyer

Moderator: Alison Stieven-Taylor - journalist, international commentator, lecturer in journalism


  • Dr Ella Dreyfus - Head On Photo Festival featured artist, 'Under Twenty-Seven', finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize, senior lecturer and Head of Public Programs at the National Art School, Sydney
  • Sina Niemeyer - Head On Photo Festival featured artist, 'Für mich / A way to reconciliation'
  • Olivia Rosenman - Founder of 'First Draft' verification unit in Sydney
  • Darryn Lyons - Director and founder of Lyons Gallery, Paddington. Former paparazzi.
  • Jennifer Greenburg - Head On Photo Festival featured artist, 'Revising history'

The Power of Exclusion: Should there be Segregation in the Arts?


Are we trying too hard to be inclusive? What can be gained when you shut out other points of view? Can you get more funding if you narrow your focus? 
Image detail: 2018 Head On Portrait Prize finalist Marinka Massaus

Moderator:  Dr Ella Dreyfus - Head On Photo Festival featured artist, 'Under Twenty-Seven', finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize, senior lecturer and Head of Public Programs at the National Art School, Sydney


  • Michael Torres - Head On Photo Festival featured artist, 'Native'
  • Tilly Davey - Manager of community arts programs serving developmentally disabled and psychosocial adults in art related affiliations

Exposing the work of women and non binary street photographers in Australia


Wind down the weekend with the Unexposed Collective (female and non-binary street photographers). Hear and see several photographers' different approaches to street photography.
Image detail: Rosie English

Moderators:  Julia Coddington and Rebecca Wiltshire, Unexposed Collective co-founders

Speakers: Meg Hewitt, Sue Brunialti, Linda Maclean and more to be announced.