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My Martin Kantor Portrait Education Program

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale presents the My Martin Kantor Portrait Program. Inspired by the Biennale’s Martin Kantor Portrait Prize, this free education resource guides teachers and students through the exciting art of portrait photography, working towards the final task of taking their very own Martin Kantor Portrait.

The Martin Kantor Portrait Prize is awarded in memory of the late Martin Kantor. Kantor was a photographer and philanthropist who was known for his arresting portraits of famous musicians and artists like Iggy Pop, Howard Arkley, painter Adam Cullen and conceptual artist Dale Frank. His image of Mark Seymour, the lead singer of Hunters & Collectors, was used by the band for an album cover and is a classic representation of Australian rock and roll. Kantor founded the well-known St Kilda gallery Brightspace and was a strong supporter of Indigenous and environmental causes.

Using the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize finalists from 2017 and 2019, this resource guides students through the different choices a photographer makes when taking a portrait: lighting, setting, facial expression, body language, props and costume. Each section explains how the concept is employed in portrait photography to communicate something about the subject and demonstrates the different visuals effects that can be achieved. This content covers key considerations, challenges, tips and ideas to support students before engaging in practical tasks to develop their portrait photography skills. Discussion questions are listed after each concept explanation to prompt more complex student thinking and analysis of the example portraits included.

Following this theoretical section is a range of accessible and creative classroom-based task ideas for both Primary and Secondary students. This includes the final My Martin Kantor Portrait student task which puts students’ newfound skills to the test by asking them to take a portrait of someone significant to them. As permitted, these images may be collected and displayed across Ballarat in the lead-up to the 2021 Biennale as part of the My Martin Kantor Portrait Education Program.

The BIFB Education team is also able to provide extended additions to this program upon request such as artist run workshops, guest educators or equipment. For all enquiries, please email education@ballaratfoto.org

(Left) Steve Young, Paul Kelly, 2014
(Right) Penelope Hunt, Finding Focus, 2019