Sydney through the lens

Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival will soon be over, but there’s still plenty of great events to enjoy. With more than 200 events spread out across 100 venues, a smorgasbord of stunning photographs to suit any taste are on show. Two exhibitions that capture the essence of living in a city with beautiful beaches and coastline are Classic Bondi by Jon Lewis at Bondi Pavillion until 3 June and Daniel Sponiar’s 100 Seconds at Galleryeight, Millers Point, until 14 June.

Both of these photographers have focused on this narrow fringe where land meets the sea, but their approach is quite different. Sponiar takes a diversion from the commercial/editorial demands of his day job to celebrate the coastal landscape as a destination we all crave in different guises: as holidaymakers, honeymooners, dreamers and retirees. Sponiar’s images take on an almost mythical, spiritual dimension in stark contrast to his commercial work.

Lewis’ Classic Bondi series focuses on not just the surf and sand of Bondi Beach, but the often eccentric characters who flock there making it ‘the’ place to be in Sydney on a hot, summery day.

My Dad emigrated to Sydney from a small Greek island and seemed to be drawn like a magnet to the Bondi coastline. I have a black and white photo of him, circa 1940, in his swimming ‘trunks’, posing proudly on the promenade at Bondi. It was just as much the place to be in summer then as it is now, and will be long into the future. Lewis’ work captures the spirit of Bondi that compelled my Dad down there every weekend he could.

Our beaches and coastline, as depicted in these photographers’ work, make Sydney one of the most liveable cities in the world. Events like the Head On Photo Festival make it even better.