Unmissable highlights from 2017’s HeadOn Photo Festival


If you haven’t heard of the HeadOn Photo Festival, you’re missing out.

From cricket to Bowie, there’s no end to the wonders documented in stunning works of art at this year’s festival. 2017 marks the 8th anniversary of this formidable festival, and there’s a whole host of exhibitions for you to enjoy. This year is especially packed – with 843 artists contributing to 147 exhibitions in 92 locations, there’s something for everyone. There are exhibitions in genres ranging from fine art to mobile photography, and all of it was carefully selected for its photographic brilliance and emotive appeal. All of the exhibitions are worth a look, but we’ve collected the must-sees for you in one convenient list:

Bowie Unseen: A Collection of Rare Unseen Photographs of David Bowie


Image: Markus Klinko

The late David Bowie had a style all his own, and that’s what Markus Klinko’s Bowie Unseen exhibits captures perfectly. Klinko is a well renowned photographer in his own right, with a vast clientele of magazines like Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, and work on advertising campaigns for Nike, L’Oréal Paris, Hugo Boss, Lancôme, Anna Sui, and Remy Martin. The photographer had the opportunity to work with Bowie twice, once for his 2002 album ‘Heathens’ and once for GQ’s ‘Men of the Year’ issue cover, and over 24 previously unseen photos from those sessions will be on show as part of HeadOn. You can even purchase the prints in several different sizes if any stand out to you.

Opening hours: 11:00am – 5:00pm (Wednesday to Saturday)

Dates: 6th of May – 3rd of June

Venue: Blender Gallery (16 Elizabeth Street, Paddington)


Tableau A Deux


Image: Peter Solness

If you’re a drama fan, this exhibition is for you. Each photo is packed with dramatic detail, accentuated by the stunning lighting techniques of the photographer, Peter Solness. The exhibition encompasses a range of creative portraits of couples from around Australia, often in regional settings, in a celebration of the journey a relationship can take. The whole experience is that of witnessing a theatre play packed into a single still shot – it’s well worth a visit.

Opening hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm (Tuesday – Friday), 11:00am – 4:00pm (Saturday)

Dates: 5th May – 19th May

Venue: Gallery KLEI (Suite 9&10/1 – 7 Albion Place, Sydney)


HeadOn Photo Awards


Image:HeadOn Student Photography Prize

If you don’t have much time to attend HeadOn events, make sure to take a peek at the HeadOn Photo Awards as your event of choice. The exhibitions are the title series of the HeadOn Photo Festival, with Mobile, Portrait, Student and Landscape Awards. They offer a great look at the emerging generation of award-winning Australian photographers, and each photo is guaranteed to be a work of art in its own right.

Mobile, Portrait and Student Prizes 

Opening hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm (Monday – Sunday)

Dates: 6th May – 9th July

Venue: Museum of Sydney (Cnr Phillip St and Bridge Street, Sydney)

Landscape Prize

Opening hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (Monday – Friday)

Dates: 5th of May – 26th May

Venue: NSW Parliament House (6 Macquarie St, Sydney)




Image: Julien Mignot and Fred Stucin

Julien Mignot and Fred Stucin’s exhibition is a haunting look at the sombre underside of the fabled Cannes Film Festival, with stunning portraits of superstar actors that include Adam Driver and John Boyega (of Star Wars fame). The strength of the exhibition is in its brilliantly crafted portraits, supplemented by intriguing black-and-white street photography aimed at showcasing the beauty and chaos of the Croisette, a beautiful stretch of street along the sea at Cannes.

Opening hours: 12:00pm – 6:00pm (Monday – Thursday), 9:30am – 2:00pm (Friday – Saturday)

Dates: 5th of May – 27th May

Venue: Alliance Française de Sydney, Media Centre (257 Clarence St, Sydney)


The Secret Garden of Lily Lapalama


Image: Maggie Steber

This exhibition is the work of Maggie Steber, the 2017 winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, a prestigious US based grant for exceptional professionals. Steber is primarily a photojournalist, with clients such as National Geographic Magazine and Smithsonian Magazine, and a photographic inclusion in the Library of Congress. However, her HeadOn photo contribution is a more artistic piece, as a testament to the photographer’s ‘dark side’ – the fine art photos emulate her fears and private memories, resulting in a mysterious and sensual series of emotions.

Opening hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm (Monday – Saturday)

Dates: 6th May – 13th May

Venue: UNSW Art & Design, AD Space (Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington)


Power of Sport by Getty Images


Image: Getty Images

Are you a sports fan? If so, take a stroll to Paddington and check out Getty Images’ exhibition of sports photography from 2016. Everything from the Olympics to unpredictable wins in tennis is on show, encapsulating both the triumphs and disappointments from the last year in sport. It’ll be a good trip down memory lane for those of you who keep up with sports, and a great afternoon of photography even if you don’t.

Opening hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm (Monday – Sunday)

Dates: 5th May – 28th May

Venue: Paddington Reservoir Gardens (251 – 255 Oxford St, Paddington)


For the full list of events, head to HeadOn’s official website and check out what else is on offer.


Feature image from HeadOn Landscape Prize