Since its inception in 2005 the Biennale has championed the promotion of Australian and international photography, and in 2019, for the second time, BIFB will present the prize to a work considered to be an exceptional photographic portrait of a significant, living Australian, distinguished in art, letters, science politics, or sport.
This year’s shortlisted works include portraits of celebrated author Helen Garner, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, human rights advocate and ASRC founder Kon Karapanagiodis, legendary Indigenous actor David Gulpilil, Serwah Gyekyewah Attafuah, lead singer of anti-colonial death metal band DISPOSSESSED, singer Paul Kelly (pictured) and a strikingly unconventional portrait of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The 28 shortlisted works will be exhibited at this year’s Ballarat International Foto Biennale, a two month-long festival event that immerses the historic town of Ballarat in photographic art from 23 August 2019 – which will this year be headlined by an Australia-first exhibition of the work of Chinese photographer and social activist, Liu Bolin, and a career-spanning retrospective of the work of celebrated artist and Badtjala woman Dr Fiona Foley.
The 2019 finalists are: Alex Ellinghausen, Alison Bennett, Allison Rose, Chris Budgeon, Christopher Polack, Ellie Meade, Glenn Hunt, Sophia Hewson, Jeff Busby, Kellie Leczinska, Kelly Champion, Kristen Lyttle, Katrin Koenning, Mia Mala McDonald, Steve Young, Penelope Hunt, Ponch Hawkes, Robert Erp, Rod McNicol, Rodney Stewart, Sanjeev Singh, Shara Henderson, Sonia Esposito, Thuy Vy, Tobias Titz, and Tristan Still.
In 2017 the Biennale presented the inaugural BIFB Martin Kantor Prize, named in honour of the late portrait photographer Martin Kantor, known for his arresting portraits of artists like Iggy Pop, Howard Arkley, painter Adam Cullen and conceptual artist Dale Frank.
His image of Mark Seymour, the lead singer of Hunters and 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.
The winner will be announced during the opening weekend of the Biennale on Sunday 25 August. The 2019 Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs 23 August – 20 October. For more information, visit: www.ballaratfoto.org for details.
Image: Steve Young, PK In The Bay , 2014 (detail)