May 05, 2012

Four photographers were named in the Head On Portrait prize last night in Sydney at the Festival's opening at Customs House. The three joint portrait prize winners are:

Chris Budgeon
Tracey Nearmy
David Manley

The Critic's Choice, chosen by Robert McFarlane, was a photograph by Louise Whelan (see winners below). 

Hundreds turned out for the Portrait Prize announcement last night filling the cavernous, multi-level Customs House. Head On has outgrown its original opening venue, Australian Centre of Photography (ACP) showing how much traction, and cache, this Festival has gained in a few short years - this year more than 200 shows are on exhibition at more than 100 venues over the month-long Festival.  With a Festival this big in a city the size of Sydney, for us out-of-towners it is not possible to get to everything of interest, but over this weekend I will be seeing, and reporting on, as much as possible. 

David Alan Harvey, Magnum Photos, officially opened the Festival and announced the winners, although the size of the gathering and the acoustics made it hard to hear what any of the speakers were saying despite amplification. Harvey will run workshops while he is in Sydney and there is a comprehensive seminar programme starting today at Bondi Pavilion. 

Festivals like Head On demonstrate how much talent, creativity, courage and ingenuity exists in photography today. There is clearly a deep love of, and for the medium. The discussion around technology no longer seems as important.

The winning photographs from top: Chris Budgeon, Tracey Nearmy, David Manley, Louise Whelan.