In the frame: Head On Photo Festival 2014

In the frame: Head On Photo Festival 2014

CREATED ON // Monday, 12 May 2014

The largest photography festival in Australia, Head On is kicking off its stellar 2014 program this week.

Presented by Olympus, the month-long festival boasts a robust program across many of Sydney’s most inspiring and innovative venues including art galleries, public spaces and community sites.Running over a month until June 16, the 2014 line-up will see over 140 exhibitions showcasing around 900 photographers along with over 4,000 entries across the four categories in the prize competition.

The centre point of Head On each year is the Head On Portrait Prize, which is recognised as Australia’s most critically acclaimed photographic portraitcompetition and exhibition, reflecting a vibrant, diverse cross-section of new and traditional photographic practices. Each year three winners out of 40 finalists are awarded prizes. The winners for 2014 will be announced at a ceremony at Paddington Town Hall on May 16.

A key exhibition of the 2014 Head On Photo Festival is award-winning New York-based Getty photojournalist Benjamin Lowy. Specialising in conflict and feature photography, Lowy has spent a decade using a camera to tell other people’s stories. Lowy’s photograph of an Iraqi Man launching himself from a lamp post on the Al-Shuhaba Bridge into the Tigris River on a hot Baghdad nightis  particularly incredible.


Above: ‘Allan y Jonathon’ by Pierre Dalpé. Top image: Benjamin Lowy. 

Another highlight has to be Personae, a presentation of the work of Pierre Dalpé, who questions the notion of ‘fixed’ identity and explores the idea that we, as individuals, potentially embody a multitude of personae – and that identity is fluid, malleable, and not pre-determined. The Personae series involves a collaborative process where Dalpé allowed his subjects to embody their alter egos through performing in an invented scenario or narrative within the proscenium arch of his camera frame. Dalpe’s intention is to play with and subvert the aesthetics and traditions of documentary photography, as well as aspects of identity, gender and performance, to coax viewers into believing false truths, leaving them to question everything contained within the image.

Head On Photo Festival, May 12 – June 16. Go to


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