News – A photography lovers guide to BIFB

Photography is an art form with a multitude of genres, much like music, and compositions are created in a variety of forms.

This year’s 10th Ballarat International Foto Biennale celebrates photography in all styles alongside visual image culture beyond the lens. Use this guide for insights into the artistic practice of the photographers involved.

Andy Warhol, a pioneering figure in the realm of contemporary art, wielded Polaroid cameras with an innovative flair that reshaped the artistic landscape. Embracing the instant gratification and accessibility of Polaroid technology, Warhol harnessed its capabilities to capture candid moments and create a vivid visual diary of his life. The immediacy of the medium allowed him to experiment with composition, colour, and subject matter in real time, blurring the lines between art and documentation. Warhol’s use of Polaroid cameras not only revolutionized his own artistic process but also marked a significant contribution to the broader evolution of photography as an art form. His Polaroid portraits in Instant Warhol provide an intimate glimpse into the personalities and zeitgeist of his era, offering a distinctive window into the vibrant tapestry of Warhol’s creative genius.

Renowned for his powerful and emotive portraits, photographer Platon has harnessed the exceptional capabilities of the Hasselblad camera to craft images that resonate deeply with viewers. Platon’s mastery of Hasselblad’s medium format allows for an unparalleled level of detail, clarity, and tonal range in his photographs. This precision is crucial in capturing his subjects’ raw essence and character, whether they be world leaders, cultural icons, or everyday individuals. The Hasselblad’s versatility and reliability enable Platon to work seamlessly in a variety of environments, from tightly controlled studios to dynamic, on-location settings. With this formidable tool in hand, Platon continues to produce portraits that not only transcend the superficial but also delve into the very core of human experience, making him an indelible force in contemporary portraiture. Visit People Power – Platon to see an exhibition of arresting portraits of some of the most significant people of our time.

Black and white image of Cate Blanchett in dress with diamond-patterned tights on white background

In Australia, the Leica camera has emerged as an iconic tool for photographers across diverse genres. Renowned for its precision engineering and exceptional optics, the Leica has found a devoted following among both professional and amateur photographers in the country. Its compact design and robust construction make it well-suited for capturing the diverse landscapes and dynamic urban environments that define Australia. From the arid expanses of the Outback to the bustling streets of Sydney and Melbourne, the Leica’s versatility and reliability have made it a trusted companion for those seeking to immortalize the country’s unique beauty. Additionally, its discreet design and unobtrusive operation make it ideal for street photography, enabling photographers to capture candid moments with ease. In the hands of Australian photographers, the Leica camera has become a tool for storytelling, allowing them to preserve the rich tapestry of life Down Under with unparalleled clarity and artistry. This year, Leica Ambassadors include Jesse Marlow whose photography can be discovered on the corner of Camp and Field Streets in central Ballarat as part of the Oculi Collective laneways while the Core Program includes Stephen Dupont, an award-winning Australian photographer and artist who has been recognised around the world for his portrayal of the human condition, war and the climate crisis. Fucked Up Fotos is a series spanning thirty years, five continents and more than a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, China, and Romania.

Kate Ballis is a visionary photographer known for her distinctive use of infrared photography. This technique involves using a specially modified camera to capture light beyond the visible spectrum, resulting in surreal, dreamlike images that often feature otherworldly hues. Ballis employs this unconventional approach to infuse her subjects with an ethereal quality, transforming landscapes, architecture, and human forms into vibrant, almost extraterrestrial compositions. Her mastery of infrared photography transcends mere documentation, creating a visual language that straddles reality and the fantastical. By pushing the boundaries of traditional photography, Kate Ballis has carved out a unique niche in the art world, offering viewers a captivating perspective on the world through her lens. Her work serves as a testament to the boundless creativity that can be unlocked through innovative techniques and a keen artistic sensibility. Portals to Atlantis is a captivating site-responsive project by Kate Ballis at the Ballarat Train Station.

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, represent a transformative development in the digital world. These unique digital assets are built on blockchain technology, providing irrefutable proof of authenticity and ownership for a wide range of digital content, including art, music, videos, and collectibles. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, NFTs are indivisible and cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis. Each NFT is distinct, carrying a unique digital signature, making it one-of-a-kind and impossible to replicate. This scarcity and verifiability have sparked a surge of interest, leading to a thriving market for digital creators and collectors alike. NFTs have opened new avenues for artists and creators to monetize their work in the digital realm, while also challenging traditional notions of ownership and value in the art and entertainment industries. View NFT works in Alfred Deakin Place on multiple outdoor ArtScreen installations showing vibrant and colourful images by Serwah Attafuah and Jonathon Zawada in Digital Anthropocene, merging the worlds of science and art at the virtual forefront.

Attafuah is a multidisciplinary artist and musician based on Dharug land/West Sydney. Her surreal digital dreamscapes and futuristic humanoids challenge traditional narratives and perspectives. She is one of the first Australian artists to work with NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) and has developed great fluency in the Metaverse.

Zawada is a visual artist working across design, digital rendering, video and more. He creates virtual artefacts that are both natural and artificial, exploring ideas of digital culture, nature, and data. Zawada also works as a commercial creative producer and has worked in collaboration with Australian producer, DJ and musician, Flume.

Young goddess holding golden serpent and leaning against rock against purple sky   

Colleen Raven Strangways’ photography is infused with a spirit of activism and acknowledgment, sparked by her relationship with courageous First Nations women and her trailblazing father.  Her new series presented in the Core Program illuminates and immerses visitors in the stories and songlines of First Nations elders as ‘knowledge holders’. By revealing a feeling of their connectedness, movement and spirituality, Strangways enhances the pivotal role of elders in our society.

The exhibition UV Songlines: Illuminating Ancestral Roots is a photographic series featuring Aboriginal people adorned with body paint. The series depicts people with painted designs made with glow paints that fluoresced under UV blacklight. This series has been produced in a patented new printing format that produces high-contrast, coloured glow-in-the-dark effects on fabric, and the prints are presented in customised light-boxes creating a striking visual impact.

Now in its 10th edition, the 2023 Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs until 22 October. It features more than 2000 works by over 200 local, national and international artists across over 100 indoor and outdoor venues. The eight-week festival showcases some of the world’s biggest names in photography, including acclaimed British portrait photographer Platon, Indian street photographer Vineet Vohra and pop culture icon Andy Warhol.

The Core Program is a curated line-up of leading national and international photographic artists. There are 14 indoor and 10 outdoor exhibitions to explore.  The Open Program fosters the development of more than 200 emerging photographic artists.  Explore more than 80 free exhibitions throughout Ballarat’s cafes, restaurants, laneways, streets and historic buildings.

All Core Program indoor exhibitions require a Festival Pass:

• single-day pass (adult $25, concession $20, child 5-15 years $10, family two adults and up to three children $60)

• three-day pass (adult $42, concession $32, child 5-15 years $12, family two adults and up to three children $96)

• season pass (adult $62, concession $50, child 5-15 years $25, family two adults and up to three children $150)

A Festival Pass gives you access to all six Core Program venues, including the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Post Office Gallery and the Ballarat Mining Exchange. Buy your Festival Pass online at, at the Festival Hub, 12 Lydiard Street North or the Ballarat Information Centre at the Ballarat Town Hall.


1. Andy Warhol, Sylvester Stallone, 1980, polacolor type 108. © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Artists Rights Society [ARS]/Copyright Agency, 2023.

2. Platon, Cate Blanchett, 2004. Courtesy Studio Platon.

3. Joe Moro, Oculi Collective Laneways exhibition, 2023 Ballarat International Foto Biennale

4. Serwah Attafuah, ASKLEPIOS, 2021, 3D digital render. Courtesy the artist.

5. Jonathan Zawada, Static Ego, 2021, unique digital image. Courtesy the artist.

6. Colleen Raven Strangways, Ethan Brady, Maka, 2023