09/05/2017 7:10 AM AEST | Updated 11/05/2017 7:13 AM AEST

The Winning Shots From Sydney's 2017 Head On Photo Festival

A refugee portrait has won the top award.

You may have noticed a collection of stunning photographs starting to take over Sydney -- from Circular Quay to Oxford St.

The Head On Photo Festival is back in 2017 and the winners, announced at the UNSW's Art & Design school on Saturday, have drawn inspiration from the plight of refugees.

A Spanish photojournalist took out the crowd favourite category, the Head On Portrait Prize, for his raw portrait of a 16 year-old West African refugee who was rescued off the coast of Libya in August 2016.

Cesar Dezfuli
Simply titled 'Passenger'.

Cesar Dezfuli took the photograph of Amadou Sumaila, aged 16 from Mali, after a vessel provided by the NGO Jugend Rettet rescued him from a rubber boat carrying 118 others. They were later transferred by the Italian Coast Guard to Lampedusa.

Taking out first place in the mobile category was 'The Tempest', a haunting depiction of the sea passage between Greece and Turkey.

Demetris Koilalous
A 'Tempest' hits the death passage.

Greek freelance photographer Demetris Koilalus snapped the shot of the coined 'death passage' as a violent story temporarily halted the arrival of dinghies from the Turkish coast.

Australian photographer Todd Kennedy has won the landscape prize for 'Lit from above'.

Todd Kennedy
The Aussie used a drone to capture 'Lit From Above'.

You may be thinking this image of a rock formation at Lake Mungo in south-western New South Wales -- about 760 kilometres due west of Sydney -- is a black and white conversion. You would be mistaken.

"This is the natural colour of the rocks when lit by pure white LED's from a drone. Some green can be made out on the small bushes to the right," Kennedy said. (You'll need to zoom in).

Sophie Kennedy
In one word, this is 'Animated'.

Among the student winners is 'Animated', a lively depiction of photographer Sophie Smith's best friend featuring an incredibly slow shutter speed and a dash of sequins.

"In 'Animation', I asked my best friend to play some music and dance to her heart's content. The slow shutter speed caused her sequinned top to resemble sparks flying around her," Smith said.

Kirsten Felice
Capturing 'Anxiety' in its purest of forms is no light feat.

Kirsten Felice's 'Anxiety' is a raw depiction of a panic attack, a common and often masked symptom of an anxiety disorder.

"Recorded levels of anxiety related disorders in 18-34 year-olds is at its highest ever...This image depicts the raw emotion of a panic attack in an attept to help sufferers feel more comfortable talking about it, after seeing it in a public setting," Felice said.

Winning images and finalists in the portrait, mobile and student prizes are on display at the Museum of Sydney from May 6 to July 9. Winners and finalists in the landscape prize can be viewed in the Exhibition Space at NSW Parliament House.

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