The BIFB has blazed a trail for a global approach to photography, seeking out extremely talented artists who are less well known outside their own domain, or in the case of Australian artists, those worthy of, but yet to be recognised as photographic superstars of the future. Our ongoing belief is that art is integral to society – not a marginal form of expression – but central to the issues that inform and shape our society.
From the Festival’s inception as the Daylesford Foto Biennale in 2005, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale has grown in scale, status and critical acclaim. After two successful festivals, BIFB outgrew the capacity of Daylesford to accommodate the event and relocated to Ballarat for BIFB’09. The Festival is the only internationally significant photographic event in regional Victoria. In the course of just five festivals BIFB has grown from 55 events over 28 venues, with an estimated audience of around 10,000 visitors, to 238 events staged at 82 venues throughout Ballarat. Carefully monitored figures for BIFB’13 record an increase of 14% attendance over the 2011 Festival.
Our seventh festival, BIFB’17 will run from August 19th 2015 to September 17th 2017.
HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
Emerging from the embryonic and highly successful Daylesford Foto Biennales (DFB) of 2005 and 2007, the 2009 and 2011 Ballarat International Foto Biennales enlarged and expanded this concept into a truly world-class, global event.
The DFB was born out of a vision by the founder and current Festival Director, Jeff Moorfoot. A former advertising photographer and educator, Moorfoot saw similarities between Daylesford and Arles. Daylesford is a small town with a strong arts community and well-developed tourist infrastructure built up over a century around the mineral springs, close to Melbourne and the regional centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. In 2004 Moorfoot gathered together a small but dedicated group of volunteers to hold the inaugural Daylesford Foto Biennale in June 2005.
DFB’05 consisted of 55 events staged over 28 venues throughout Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, including three exhibitions by international photographers. The festival attracted an estimated audience of 10,000+ visitors and achieved fabulous audience feedback and an extensive media profile.
DFB’07 expanded to produce 128 events staged over 55 separate venues in both Daylesford and surrounding towns of Clunes, Trentham and Creswick and Smeaton. Along with local artists, the 2007 festival presented international exhibitions from Japan, UK, Poland, Scotland, USA, Argentina and Norway, and included visits from four of the international artists featured in the program. DFB07 gained extensive Australian media coverage and increased the festival’s profile as an international photography event. The 2007 festival ran at a profit and distributed these funds to local community groups.
In late 2008, the DFB moved 40kms down the Midland Highway to Ballarat to expand and improve on the groundwork and solid relationships established with our stakeholders over the first two Biennales. The 2009 Biennale was once again an outstanding success, and built on the firm foundations established in Daylesford. BIFB has the full support for a minimum of three festivals from the City of Ballarat, firmly cementing the festival in regional Victoria.