Photographers have until February 25 to submit entries for the Head On Photo Awards, which has over $60,000 in product and cash prizes to be won.
The Awards are divided into four categories – Portrait, Landscape, Mobile, and Student.
Each category is judged anonymously by an eclectic mix of local and international industry heavyweights.
‘We developed an online judging system – an App – so that the judges cannot see the name of the photographer,’ Moshe Rosenzveig, Head On Photo Festival founder and artistic director, told Artshub. ‘The main thing we do differently to many other competition is that we have judges from all around the world and they don’t know the work of these people. The conversation is about merit. It is not scored as such.
‘We change the judges every year. And to shake up the clichés, we might ask a museum photography curator to judge the mobile photo prize, for example, so they look with a fine art eye.’
The founding philosophy of the Head On Photo Festival and Awards is to democratise photography, by making it more inclusive for all photographers, provide them with opportunities, and show work to a wider audience,
‘We think differently about what photography can be. We moved to democratise it, and it was a very important part of festival to get photography out there – not as an exclusive club or part of the art scene,’ Moshe said.
This year the judging panel includes:
– New York Times photo editor, Mikko Takkunen;
– Award-winning humanitarian photographer, Nancy Borowick;
– Accomplished photojournalist, Paula Bronstein;
– Curator, Dr Alasdair Foster;
– Walkley winning photographer, David Dare Parker;
– Photographic artist, Katrin Koenning;
– British artist, Marcus Lyon;
– Guardian Australia picture editor, Jonny Weeks;
– Chinese contemporary art specialist, Nataline Colonnello;
– Australian Centre for Photography director, Cherie McNair;
– American reportage photographer, James Whitlow Delano;
– Visual arts educator, Louise Heilpern;
– And Moshe.
Beyond the epic prize pool, a selection of finalist images will be printed by Head On and exhibited as part of the Festival’s program.
‘Once you pay your entry fee and submit your material we do everything after that – we print, we mount, we get your work to the gallery, we do publicity. We even take some works overseas to show at international photography festivals. We have been to New York, to Auckland, to China twice as well as other cities,’ Moshe said. ‘With this philosophy, everyone is equal and has an equal chance. We present the pictures all at the same size so no one gets a bigger space – that is very important to our philosophy.’
Prizes are awarded for three chosen photos in each category.
The Head On Photo Festival will be held from 5 – 20 May in Sydney. Winners will be announced May 4, at the festival launch.