The Ballarat International Foto Biennale has been a fixture for Australian and International photographers and their audiences since 2005 … and the festival prides itself on “immersing the historic township in photographic art”. The 2017 program is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors during the month long festival from mid August.
This year they have also introduced an important new exhibit … the inaugural Ballarat International Foto Biennale Martin Kantor Prize … and I’m somewhat stoked to have been selected as one of the twenty eight Finalists.
The rationale of the prize is to recognise “portraiture of significant Australians” … and perhaps they don’t come much more ‘significant’ than my Finalist subject … Noel Pearson. I made the image of Noel whilst he was mesmerising an audience during one of his oratory triumphs at an indigenous convention in Port Douglas. The light was extremely low and the framing of the image was made ‘in camera’. (Image below)
I’m joined in the finalist selection but some of Australia’s very best photographic portraitists including George Fetting, Tamara Dean, Rod McNicol, Tobias Titz, Tony Kearney, David Darcy … and the prize is a fitting tribute to the late Martin Kantor. a photographer and philanthropist who was known for his arresting portraits of famous musicians and artists.
The Martin Kantor Prize exhibition runs for the length of the festival … 19th August to 17th September … at Ballarat Town Hall. The overall winner of the the $15,000 acquisitive prize will be announced at 2pm on the 20th August. Sadly I doubt if I will be able to get there to see it.
Image of Noel Pearson © Brian Cassey