Exhibition submissions 2020


Exhibit in 2020

Open call
Submissions open 1-25 Aug

Now closed

Terms and conditions


Head On Photo Festival is Australia’s leading photographic event and a highlight on the global arts calendar

We are looking for excellent work across still photography, multi-media and video art and welcome applications from individual artists, curators, groups and exhibition spaces/galleries; work can be recent or not.

We believe all photo-artists need a fair chance to show their work; proposals submitted through our submission process is judged without the artists’ names or pedigrees, so they stand on their merit alone.

After the selection panel reviews the submissions, we will invite successful applicants to exhibit during Head On Photo Festival 2020 as either Associated or Featured or Head On Curated exhibitors.


1-25 August 2019

The 2020 festival will take place in Sydney 1 - 17 May and will include outstanding international and Australian artists both emerging and well known.

Above image credits: Dina GoldsteinOded WagensteinPaul BlackmoreSoraya ZamanRoger GrasasMax Mason Hubers (courtesy The Sydney Morning Herald), Jörgen AxelvallJenny Rova

Why exhibit at Head On Photo Festival?


Head On Photo Festival is a leading international photography festival. Our reputation is based upon our belief that every photo artist deserves a fair chance to show their work. This philosophy has allowed us to be first to exhibit quality work that breaks the mould and exhibit all genres of photography by artists at all career stages.

Our team works all year round to create opportunities for your work to be seen - many leading industry professionals seeking new and emerging talents follow what we do. Many of our artists go on to exhibit their work at other photo festivals around the world.

The Festival is also a great opportunity to experience the process of exhibiting your work, meeting other artists and creative professionals and being part of an internationally recognized event.


All exhibitors receive the following benefits:

- Inclusion in the 2020 Festival, an internationally recognised festival that puts the spotlight on photography, attracting extensive publicity through a variety of promotional channels

- Access to Head On’s infrastructure built over 16 years

- Dedicated webpage for each exhibition on www.headon.com.au (also available to view public post-festival)

- Inclusion in a widely-distributed 100-page printed Festival catalogue

- Access to premium service providers at discounted fees

- Invitation to join Head On Photo Festival exhibitors on-line community

- Head On help desk

Featured/Head On Curated exhibitors gain additional benefits.


Differences between Associated, Featured and Head On Curated exhibitions






Head On Curated 


Inclusion in an international festival program that is widely promoted in Australia and overseas

Festival registration fees (AUD$) (exhibition costs not included)




Help desk and general administration


Access to discounted services


Online exhibition web page (also available to view post-festival)


Inclusion in 2020 Festival printed catalogue


¼ page

1 page

1 page

Social media promotion

At Head On’s discretion*

Mention in e-news** (44K+ readers) including key industry leaders


With image at Head On’s discretion

With image at Head On’s discretion

Inclusion in contracted PR agency press-kit


Direct support in finding an exhibition space



Curatorial input from Head On Photo Festival Creative Director in consultation with artist /gallery curator


Exhibition costs to be discussed with each artist


Fully curated by Head On Photo Festival Creative Director in partnership with the artist as part of an exhibition package (management / major festival venue /production /installation sales / post-festival)



Exhibition costs to be discussed with each artist

Exhibition package (management /venue /production /installation) working with an independent curator


Exhibition costs to be discussed with each artist



* After 5 May and upon Head On’s discretion and social media schedule, not all across all platforms.

**Or online blog accessed via e-news

***Dependent on available exhibition venues

Note: we do what we can, but cannot guarantee the amount of media and/or public interest in the exhibitions


About work for submission

- We prefer recently completed works (within the last 3-5 years), although works made at any time are accepted

- Works previously exhibited and published elsewhere are accepted (however if accepted into Head On Photo Festival they must not be exhibited elsewhere in Sydney between 1 September 2019 and 30 June 2020)  

- Collaborative works / group shows are accepted

- There is no specified size or limit on the number of images for your proposed exhibition. The selection panel does consider the size/quantity of the work in relation to available exhibition spaces

- We accept any genre of photography including multi-media and video


Submission checklist

- Go to the submission webpage

- Complete all fields of the form

- Upload 10 images - 1200px on the longest edge (72 dpi, JPG format, less than 500Kb, sRGB)

- For multi-media/video projects please provide 1 still frame and a link to the full video in the ‘exhibition description’ field

- Copy and paste into the form an exhibition description (max 4080 char) and artist bio (max 1220 char)

- Pay the submission fee AUD$20 (approximately US$14) per project (non-refundable)

- Read the Terms and Conditions

Note: The submission process has been optimised for Chrome, Safari and Firefox


Terms and conditions in a nutshell

The key points are:

- You retain copyright over your images

- If you are invited to exhibit, you allow Head On the right to use submitted images for promotion purposes (yes, you will be credited)

- Invitations to exhibit in Head On Photo Festival 2020 as either an Associated, Featured, or Head On Curated artist will be sent out by Sunday 15 September 2019

- Once invited to exhibit during Head On Photo Festival 2020 you must pay the refundable registration fee by 11:59pm (AEST) 20 September 2019 or your invitation will be voided

- A separate set of Terms and Conditions for exhibitors will be sent to you

- Automatic refunds of the registration fee will be made in February 2020 (or earlier by request in writing) for any project that is not going ahead

- Payment of the submission fee deems that you accept all Terms and Conditions. It is therefore important that you read them in full

Terms and Conditions

This Call for Submissions does NOT apply to the Head On Photo Awards – Portrait, Landscape, Mobile or Student Prizes.

Head On Photo Awards will open later this year

Selection Process

Head On Photo Festival believes all photo artists need a fair chance to show their work. This is why all exhibition submissions are selected without the artists’ names, so the proposals stand on their merit alone.

- All submissions will be reviewed

- Blind selection will be performed by a selection panel of industry professionals

- The selection panel has access only to the 'submission title', 'submission description' and images

- The selection panel will decide if the exhibition fits into the program

- All applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by email (please check your junk/spam/trash/clutter folders regularly)


Key questions the selection panel asks:

- Is each image individually strong?

- Is the submission cohesive?

- Is there a new or unique approach to the subject matter?

- Does the photographer show an in-depth understanding of their genre and demonstrate a deep connection with their subject(s)?


Above image credits: Masayoshi SukitaAgata GrzybowskaCamillo Pasquarelli, Helmut Newton courtesy of Lyons Gallery.
Key dates*
Milestone Date
Submissions open 1 Aug 2019
Submissions close 25 Aug 2019
Artists notified 10-15 Sept 2019
Deadline for festival registration fees 22 Sept 2019
Automatic refund of festival fees for projects not going ahead** 7 Feb 2020

 *May be amended at Head On's discretion

**If you cannot meet this deadline, please contact us to discuss

Selection Panel
Moshe Rosenzveig OAM is the founder and Creative Director of Head On Photo Festival. Moshe has over 40 years’ experience in the media as a photojournalist, award-winning television producer/director (SBS TV) and commercial photographer. He has held lecturing positions at the University of Technology (UTS), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and others. He has also sat on judging panels for various competitions including The Walkleys, Tokyo Photography Prize, Sydney’s Art & About and is the lead judge for Head On Photo Awards. In 2018, Moshe received an Order of Australia Medal for services to the arts.
Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Founder and Creative Director of Head On Photo Festival
Mags King is the managing photo editor at The Sydney Morning Herald responsible for leading a successful team of photojournalists. With twenty years of experience, she has overseen and directed coverage of major news events locally and internationally. She has curated and produced high profile annual photo exhibitions and has been photographic judge for the Walkley Awards, Amnesty International, Indian Photographic Festival, Clique and is a member of the Walkley advisory board.
Mags King
Managing photo editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
Michelle Paterson is the founder and director of .M Contemporary - a gallery representing artists in the domestic and international art market. Paterson specialises in nurturing emerging artists from the early days of graduation, through mid-career and into international, professional careers. With a talent for bringing together voices, that resonate with contemporary collectors, Paterson travels extensively to unearth new talent. Her mission is to create a bold, cross cultural conversation within the four walls of her gallery and to inspire people to engage with art across all subjects and mediums.
Michelle Paterson
Founder and Principle .M Contemporary, Sydney
Bronek Kozka
Australian contemporary photographer and visual artist / educator at RMIT, Melbourne
Jonathan May is commercial advertising photographer/director, he is best known for his portrait and documentary fine art series and is fascinated by the human condition. Jonathan has exhibited in Sydney, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv and The Ivory Coast.
Jonathan May
Multi-award winning photographer
Judith Nangala Crispin is a poet, editor and photographic artist. Her visual work focuses on Lumachrome glass printing, a technique she has developed from layered alternative analogue methods including sun printing, chemigram and cliché-verre. A collection of her photographic portraits of remote Warlpiri elders were published in her book ‘The Lumen Seed’ by Daylight Books in 2017. Judith’s work responds to her Indigenous ancestry and includes themes of displacement, genocide and the loss of connection with nature. In addition to her photography, she has published collections of poetry and academic writings on music. She is currently poetry editor for The Canberra Times and Photography Director for the Kurdiji Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Project.
Judith Nangal Crispin
Visual artist and poet, Canberra
Liz Ham has been working professionally as a photographer for over twenty years. Straddling the genres of documentary, portraiture and fashion, her work is infused with nostalgia and narrative, often exploring ideas around identity and subculture. In 2017 Ham’s first monograph ‘Punk Girls’ was released internationally by Manuscript Publishing. Liz is currently undertaking a Masters by Research at UTS exploring her lifelong investment in documentary photography.
Liz Ham
Widely published and collected photographer
Louisa Kirby
Picture editor

Frequently Asked Questions

What genres of photography do you accept?

  • • We accept ALL genres of photography

Can I exhibit more than the 10 images submitted?

  • • YES! We ask for your 10 best images to show the panel. If accepted, you will be able to exhibit more images from the same body of work or project

How much does it cost to apply?

  • • $20 (approximately US$14 non-refundable) for each submission 
  • • Applicants may submit more than one proposal

What types of exhibition spaces do you use?

  • • Each year the festival uses a mixture of exhibition spaces. Head On Photo Festival exhibitions appear in Festival hubs, traditional white wall galleries, and popular outdoor installations

Do I need to have a venue booked before I can apply for an exhibition?

  • No, you don’t need a venue at this stage. If your application is successful, there will be more information about the next steps

Wagner Gallery, Paddington.

Image: Rob Johnston

Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Image: Joseph Cuzzocrea

Festival Hub Paddington Town Hall

Image: Stephen Godfrey