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Ballarat International Foto Biennale

Home > Melbourne > Fun Things To Do | Festivals | Exhibitions | Escape the City | Photography
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
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Immerse yourself in photographic excellence
Ballarat is celebrating its sixth festival of photography at its International Foto Biennale being held between 22nd August and 20th September 2015. 'Biennale' is an Italian word meaning 'a large art exhibition or music festival, especially one held biennially'.

This event is not just 'large', it's HUGE. Anyone with an interest in photography - from passionate amateur to professional - will find something worth seeing or participating in. The Biennale is not just a photographic exhibition, it also offers a series of workshops, tours and films throughout the month.

And it's not just confined to one location; the festival activities take place in over 80 locations in Ballarat, including historic buildings, cafes, galleries, and public spaces!

The Biennale hosts two main exhibitions. The first is the Core Program, a curated exhibition of 21 leading photographic artists from countries including USA, Malta, Germany and Australia. The works encompass all genres of photography, from reportage to fine art.

The second, the Fringe Program is an open-entry presentation of 120 shows by more than 200 artists. Exhibiting Fringe artists are vying for prizes including the opportunity to exhibit in the Core Program in 2017, and for the Designscope Award for the best and most innovative fringe exhibition of an individual project or photographer.

Highlights of the Core Program include works from Dave Tacon (a Melbourne born photographer now working in Shanghai, China). Tacon was the winner of the 2012 Walkley Award for Best Freelance Journalist of the Year and two-time finalist in Australia's National Photographic Portrait Award.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Dave Tacon's 'Shanghai Decadence'


Winner of the D'or Sonty World Photographer of the Year Award and otherwise highly credentialed photographer, Argentinian Alejandro Chaskielberg, also has works on display, including Dark Passage.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Alejandro Chaskielberg's 'Dark Passage'


Finally, Sam Harris (born in London, now working in Balingup, WA) - winner of the Australian publishing industry's Galley Club 'Australian Book of the Year' 2012 for his self published photo book Postcards from Home will be both exhibiting his work and launching his new book, The Middle of Somewhere.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Sam Harris: 'The Middle of Somewhere'


As well as the exhibitions, there is an impressive range of photography related workshops on offer that are being conducted by respected industry professionals. Examples include:

  • Photography 101 (Oxygen College) (10am - 4pm, 5th September). The cost is $79. This course will encourage students to take their camera off automatic, and start to explore manual mode.

  • Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary (Helga Leunig) (10am - 4pm, 29th August). The cost is $290. Students will be encouraged to look at their lives with fresh eyes, and to stop censoring themselves to more strongly appreciate the people, objects and landscapes they inhabit.

    For the full workshop program, click here.

    As well, there are free 'conversations with photographers' taking place each weekend during the festival, tours of the Core Program with the Creative Director ($120), and tours of Ballarat's historic buildings ($20).

    To see the full offer of events and activities, the program is available on the website.

    For an easy way to travel between Melbourne and Ballarat, consider taking the train. The full adult fare is $38.40 (peak) or $26.88 (off peak), and you can use your MYKI. Click here for the travel timetables.
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    Why? One of the 'must see' photographic exhibitions in Australia.
    When: Various times between 22nd August and 20th September 2015
    Phone: (03) 5331 4833
    Where: More than 80 venues in Ballarat. See the website for full details.
    Cost: Main exhibitions are free; activity prices vary - see website for full details
    Your Comment
    SOunds like a good reason to visit Balalarat again.
    by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6154) 1180 days ago
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