The world comes to town for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale

BALLARAT’S International Foto Biennale is bringing the stars of the photographic world to town – and it’s also bringing the stars closer to Earth.

The full program of the month-long BIFB was launched last night and it includes some big names of the photographic world.

Iconic US photographer David LaChapelle headlines the overseas contingent coming to Ballarat with his first solo exhibition in Australia.

Iranian refugee Maziar Moradi will conduct a two-week residency at the Post Office Gallery where his collection Ich Werde Deutsch (I become German) illustrates his powerful personal experience of being a young refugee living in Germany. 

STAR SALUTE: BIFB director Fiona Sweet inspects The Baker telescope at Ballarat Observatory, which will host an exhibition of space photography. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

STAR SALUTE: BIFB director Fiona Sweet inspects The Baker telescope at Ballarat Observatory, which will host an exhibition of space photography. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

A core of the program is Rearranging Boundaries, bringing together the leading documentary photographers and visual activists from around the globe including Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Tanya Habjouqa (Jordan/US), Abbas Kowsari (Iran), Wei Leng Tay (China-Singapore) and Remissa Mak (Cambodia).

“The 2017 Ballarat International Foto Biennale is a feast for the image-obsessed – which is all of us – and photographers, photography enthusiasts and arts lovers,” said BIFB director Fiona Sweet.

“The town will be immersed in photography and Ballarat is ideal in its accessibility – everything is within 10 minutes of each other. This is about discovery of photography within the unique spaces of Ballarat.”

Selfies might be a much-maligned form of photography but they too have a niche in the BIFB program. What selfies say about society today and how they contribute to narcissism and conformist behaviour will be explored in the Self/Selfie exhibition. 

Ms Sweet said the popularity of astro photography was also growing quickly.

A Field Guide to the Stars, to be shown at Ballarat Observatory, explores how space might be understood through photomedia and will feature the works of seven local and international astro photographers bringing the stars to earth.

“There’s a really strong and emerging popularity in astronomical photography. It’s contemplative and absolutely beautiful and takes it from that scientific realm in to the beauty of photography.”

The festival will feature nine core programs, carefully crafted and curated to showcase the most exciting international and Australian photography around the world.

Among those are TELL, an exhibition dedicated to indigenous artists and photographs, and a free public outdoor program with photography displayed around Ballarat’s streets.

BIFB runs from August 19 to September 17. For the full program visit ballaratfoto.org