The award winners of Australia’s most prestigious photography prize were announced in front of 800 guests at the official opening of the Head On Photo Festival at Sydney’s Lower Town Hall on Friday 1st May 2015.
Perennial crowd favourite category, the Head On Portrait prize, was taken out by Molly Harris with her emotive image of transgender air force pilot Sandra, born as John, shaving as she gets ready for the Anzac day parade.
First prize in the Mobile category was won by Laki Sideris, for a sedate, high-contrast black and white image from his mother‘s funeral: an image he cannot remember taking. Winner in the Landscape division was Alfonso Perez, with his depiction of Indonesian disparity: Jakarta’s largest cemetery, lush with grass, provides a banquet for a shepherd’s flock of sheep, whilst the city’s tallest ultra-modern building stands monolithic in the background.
Head On is Australia’s largest photo festival, and the world’s second largest, and boasts a bustling satellite program of talks, hands-on workshops and exhibitions. Photographers submitted works covering every known field of photography, from photojournalism to fine art to reportage to commercial.
More than 4,000 entrants vied for over $50,000 worth of prizes across the five categories: Portrait, Landscape, Mobile, Student and Moving Image.
First place Being Sandra Molly Harris
“Sandra was born as John but started living as Sandra 6 years ago. When she became Sandra she left behind a career that spanned 37 years in the Air force. In this photo Sandra is getting ready for Anzac Day.”
Second place JOHN Glynn Patrick
“Recovering from facial surgery, he turns his back on the sun he loves…”
Third place Sawat Samantha Everton
“Sawat from the series Sang Tong, translates as ‘the golden shell’ and comes from a beautiful old Thai folk tale about a boy who emerges triumphant and ‘golden’ from disquieting circumstances beyond his control.”
First place Urban landscape. Central Jakarta, Indonesia Alfonso Perez
“Jakarta is a heavily populated metropolis full of contrasts with few green spaces. Shepherds from neighboring villages bring their sheep to graze at Karet Bivat cemetery; one of the largest in Jakarta. In the background stands Wisma 46, which at 250 metres tall, is the tallest building in Indonesia.”
Second place Salt 400 Murray Fredericks
New work from ‘Salt Series’ (2003-2014), this work was produced in 2014. Every year, Fredericks takes a solo pilgrimage to the heart of Lake Eyre – a completely desolate and unforgiving habitat. The cruel environment enables Fredericks to explore the subject of infinity and pure space. Frederick’s award-winning work has been the subject of documentaries Salt and Nothing On Earth.
Third place Bruce Ridge Andrew Lance
“Light trails from the headlamp of a jogger between the trees at dawn fog on Bruce ridge, Canberra, Australia.”
Landscape NSW Award Construction Catherine Cloran
Centennial Park, mid 2014 during the construction of a movie set. A builder’s scrim printed with photographic imagery of trees.
First place Life Laki Sideris
“Found it on my phone sometime after my mother’s funeral. I can’t remember taking it.”
Second place Kobani Andrew Quilty
“After a day of heavy street fighting in Kobani and only a few air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition, cheers erupted from Kurds gathered in fields, hills and on rooftops along the Turkish border. Two explosions – perhaps ten times the size of those dropped intermittently over the past few days-targeting ISIS militants, landed on the eastern side of the city, ten minutes apart.”
Andrew was also second place for his Burns Victim photo in the Head On mobile prize last year pic.
Third place Dive Dayclub, Southern California Justin Vague
“A two hour bus ride through the desert from San Diego – young Americans splash, dance and drink until the sun sets.”
First place Shattered Euphoria Paul Philpott
“It’s my northern lights.”
Second place Suffocating thoughts Ella Rynehart
“I wanted to create a visual representation of how I feel when I am overwhelmed. I feel smothered and feel as though life won’t slow down and there is too much for me to handle at once.”
Third place Alex Hannah Kelly
‘My friend & I were just messing around with her phone, trying to take ‘candid’ looking shots, and this particular one turned out really well. I feel like it really captures her spirit. Neither of us knew why she decided to put pegs on herself, it was just what happened.’
MOVING IMAGE PRIZE
First place Stereotypes – What are you listening to? Dan Gray
“Headphones can offer a world of comfort and control within the disconnected and chaotic environment of a busy city. Far from tuning-out of the world, we found our subjects were wanting to tune-in and be tuned-in to. Music not only provides a soundtrack to city life, it also provides a soul.”
Second place Realm of Forms Yoong Wah Wong
“This is a time lapse photography that I attempt to explore how objects and forms modify the environment to re-create new visual representation when I put the still images together.”
Third place Jack Paul Mosig
“Jack comes to his hidden place in the forest to explore the world through his own unique movement style. Taking inspiration from contemporary dance and gymnastic he performs without concern for correct form or technique. The music mimics this approach, providing a wonky cyclical framework for his performance to occur in.”