Friday, May 16, 2014

HeadOn & AddOn 2014

I was excited to receive a VIP invite to the HeadOn opening night and special preview of the photographs chosen in the much coveted ‘Portrait’ category.  Last year I was shortlisted for the Portrait Prize but this year I am not so lucky.  The event is being held at the Paddington Reservoir space, a perfect venue to
With Charles McKean Curator of AddOn
browse photos and mingle with other enthusiasts.

The collection of portraits is incredible but there is one element that always strikes me about this particular competition.  The chosen images always seem to be telling a story about the hardships of life.  Perhaps these are the stories that capture the most emotion but I think there is just as much merit and skill involved in capturing joy.  I am drawn to the image of a young girl cradled in the hands of her carers.  I take a number of photos of this image and later on that evening I learn it wins the coveted first prize.  There are stories of migrants, people suffering from cancer as well and a couple of images depicting aboriginal Australia. 

With Loraine at the AddOn Opening Night
It’s a beautiful evening and we enjoy the exhibition.  Besides the portrait prize, there are a couple of other exhibitions including Benjamin Lowey’s collection shot solely with a mobile phone.  I am impressed with his work although I am not really interested in taking photos with a mobile phone myself.

A couple of months ago, I had attended a pre festival workshop on setting up an exhibition.  There I met Loraine MacLarty whose work with the organization FRANS and disabled people has been selected to be a HeadOn exhibition.  She invited us to her opening night and we were able to join her friends and family at the Tap Gallery for an enjoyable evening.  Her work gave us an insight into not just what disabled people go through but also a real appreciation of what their carers lives are like.  Ultimately, a good photograph must tell a story and give a little insight into another world.  Her work certainly does this. 

One of the highlights of the HeadOn festival is AddOn and this year I was excited to receive an invitation to submit a photograph to AddOn an exhibition curated by Charles McKean and Festival Director Moshe.  The exhibition showcases a diverse collection of square images taken by more than 150 photographers ranging from professionals, amateurs, artists to politicians and celebrities.  We received an invitation to the opening night of the exhibition and it is interesting to see that amongst the list of artist is a name I recognize – that of our one time state premier Bob Carr!  The photographs are displayed without titles or photographer credits and the viewers are encouraged to interpret the images for themselves.  At the end of the exhibition, each entrant receives the photograph of someone else and you also have the opportunity to purchase a book published with all of the images.

We meet up with Loraine once again as she too has submitted an image for this exhibition.  The event has been going on since 2011 and Charles gives out little keep sakes for those photographers who have submitted to AddOn four years in a row. 

From AddOn - At the Exhibition

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