Ballarat International Foto Biennale to present Linda McCartney: Retrospective in an Australian exclusive

The 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale is proud to present – for the first time in Australia – an exclusive look back at the career of world-famous photographer Linda McCartney (1941 – 1998).

Exclusive to Ballarat, Linda McCartney: Retrospective, curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, features more than 200 extraordinary photographs, including images of the McCartney family and a series of prints from their trips to Australia in 1975 and 1993, which have never been displayed before.

“In the vein of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, Linda often captured the subtle and fortuitous rather than the staged moments,” said Fiona Sweet, Ballarat International Foto Biennale Artistic Director and Co-Curator.

“Linda used the tools at her disposal to create moving and intimate portraits creating a new perspective in rock and roll photography. She captured the essence of those around her, providing insight into the personal lives of iconic artists and that of her family in later life.”

“As Susan Sontag states, “To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. All photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” Linda’s significant archive offers a personal glimpse into the cultural icons of the 1960s and 70s, through her eyes.”

Linda McCartney’s photographic career spanned from 1965 to 1997, during which bore witness to the evolution of pop and youth culture as we know it. Linda’s early portraits of the burgeoning New York 1960s music scene capture the vulnerability of future world conquering rock stars.

Linda was voted the US Female Photographer of the Year in 1967. Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured as the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton.

Moving to London with her new husband Paul McCartney in 1969, Linda had a uniquely intimate visual perspective on the biggest band in the world. Into the late 1960s and 1970s Linda began to document her extraordinary version of domestic life: as a mother and herself a founding member of Wings.

No longer on the road and with the time to experiment, Linda’s later work conveys the stillness, patience and wisdom of a grown-up counter culturalist.

Linda McCartney was an animal rights activist and a passionate advocate of a vegetarian lifestyle, often using her images to support the campaigns that she believed in. Linda continued to work prolifically as a photographer until her death from breast cancer in 1998.

Her work has been exhibited by institutions including the International Center of Photography in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Linda McCartney: Retrospective features photographs of some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene, alongside intimate family portraits. The photographs capture the world as Linda experienced it, representing the people, places and landscape around her in her inimitable spontaneous and experimental style. 

For over a decade, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale has enriched the cultural landscape of regional Victoria and become the most significant, prestigious photographic arts festival in Australia.

Held every two years, the event comprises of two major photographic programs: a curated Core Program showcasing work from Australian and international artists; and an Open Program that fosters the development of new artists.

The two-month event also features an outdoor program, education programs, workshops, artist talks, foto walks plus awards and prizes.

The 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs 28 August – 24 October. Tickets for Linda McCartney: Retrospective are available from 9.00am – Sunday 13 December 2020. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Linda McCartney, Self Portrait with Paul, London, 1970