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Since 2008, the Head On Festival has been promoting the work of photographers at all stages of their careers, encouraging excellence and innovation, making photography accessible to all, and raising awareness of important issues through photography. The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across Australia to over 200 events at more than 100 venues across Sydney. The festival is unique in that it provides opportunities for thousands of artists to meet, exhibit and sell work. Head On has put Sydney on the global map as a centre for photography.

The hub of the Head On Festival for us North Shore dwellers is the TWT Creative Precinct in St Leonards. Three galleries – Contact Sheet, me Artspace and White Rhino – are holding group exhibitions presenting the work of their artists. From photos from the professional tennis circuit, a photographer smuggled in to the Manus Island Detention Centre and given only 18 minutes to shoot refugees, a study of locked-in syndrome, and many more – these artists showcase photos with a startling and wonderful depth of artistry, skill and interest.

*Main photo credit: Vitor Queiroz, ‘Young Cairo’

Contact Sheet: 60 Atchison Street

Contact Sheet is a hub for photography and a community-focused business that invests in artists and the community. Photographers and artists benefit from mentorship, professional development and masterclasses, gallery and facilities for hire, curation and installation and a co-working space.

Taking part in the Head On Festival group exhibition at Contact Sheet are Ivan Clemente, Andy Cheung, Jack Davies, 
Cameron Longshaw, Chris Meredith, Marc Stepelberg, Henriette Tronrud, Linda Warlond and Vitor Queiroz.

Exhibition dates: May 8-18
VIP Exhibition opening event – Saturday 11th May 1pm-3pm

From ‘Locked In’ by Marc Stapelberg
Andy Cheung: “I’m genuinely passionate about shooting professional tennis. What I love about tennis is its content-rich emotions and actions.”
From ‘The Light Enters’ by Norway-based artist Henriette Tronrud.

White Rhino Artspace: Level 1, 62 Atchison Street

Catie Sully, Regula Wettstein-Graf and Tracy Stirzaker launched White Rhino Artspace to facilitate a forum for creative artistic exchange. They have a focus on women creatives and emerging artists in the North Shore. Their first big joint collaboration was with the Taronga Wild Rhinos project. Together they mosaiced a life size rhinoceros, with thousands of mosaic tiles, to create overlapping bullseye targets to symbolize the hunting and extinction of this endangered species. The success of this group project was the jumping off point for the name for our new art space – White Rhino Artspace. The colour “white” represents a clean slate, a blank canvas, and new beginnings.  “Artspace” reflects our multi-functional space, it is intended to build a community of like-minded creatives and support artists from the novice to the professional.

Participating in the Head On Photo Festival are artists Mike Wall, Brian Cassey and Amir Maleki.

Exhibition dates: May 8-18
VIP Exhibition opening event – Saturday 11th May 1pm-3pm https://www.whiterhinoartspace.com.au/

Mike Wall, ‘116 Years’
Brian Cassey, ‘Inside Manus – Asylum Seekers Abandoned’                                 
Amir Maleki: ‘Bipolar Disorder Characters’. The subject is the second personality of people which is not easily seen and lives with them like a shadow.


me Artspace: 25 Atchison Street

me Artspace is the realisation of a dream of established Sydney artist Debbie Mackinnon: “me is a creative environment where like-minded artists come to explore their ideas and develop their painting potential.”

Four artists-in-residence have studios on site. Debbie is also the director of the me Artspace gallery – a low-cost space for hire, with changing exhibitions throughout the year.

Taking part in the Head On Photo Festival is artist Michael Miller, who presents ‘Shifting Presence’. As he states, “My aim with this body of work is to explore and to visualise my uncomfortableness of being human. By using a metaphor of the body as a vessel, a contained shape in this case, and having its location change, fade and interact with itself, I was to portray my need for constant change, trying to become comfortable, and the resulting restlessness and ill-ease with remaining still.”

Michael Miller, ‘Shifting Presence’

Exhibition dates: May 14-19
Official opening event – Saturday 18th May 1pm