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Exhibition Program Introduction Essay

Updated: Oct 12, 2018

BIFB '15 Projections

BIFB '15 Projections exhibit at the historic Mining Exchange, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Program introductory essay written for the 2015 Ballarat International Foto Biennale's acclaimed Projections exhibit curated by Jeff Moorfoot, Mark Avellino and myself, Jennifer Dean. The Projections Program comprised of 53 audio visual shows from 45 international photographers hand selected by the curatorial team, and played on a continuous loop every day of the month-long festival in the Ballarat Mining Exchange.


BIFB '15 Projections

We support the idea that photography provokes, questions and invites conversation. This is the very essence of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale vision

Reaching out from 16 countries around the world, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale Projections program is a visual feast for those with an insatiable appetite for photography. Comprising 53 unique shows by 45 photographic artists, Projections is designed to play continuously every day of the festival offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves within a diverse range of photographic styles. From fine art to documentary photography, high fashion to architecture, Projections is an all-encompassing program inviting conversation on themes and topics as diverse as its creators.


Since his dramatic and controversial disqualification after winning this years’ World Press Photo Contest, Italian photographer Giovanni Troilo joins Projections with his mesmerising series La Ville Noire, The Dark Heart of Europe. Greatly intrigued with the sensational debate caused by Troilo’s work, and in a show of support for his artistic vision and in fact for photojournalism globally, the Projections team promptly invited Troilo to join this years’ program to share his compelling visual story about a forgotten place. We support the idea that photography provokes, questions and invites conversation. This is the very essence of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale vision, and in doing so, it is for this reason that we bring photography from the world to Australian audiences.


The diversity of this years’ Projections is one of great scope that increases further with the inclusion of Iranian photographer Hossein Fatemi’s insightful story, To Be A Woman In Afghanistan. Amnesty International described Afghanistan under the Taliban ‘a human rights catastrophe’ with the country’s women bearing the brunt of suffering and imposed burden. The nation’s women who survived this era of dictatorship likened themselves to ‘the living dead’. Deprived of their basic human rights, the nations’ women were literally forced into home imprisonment. Fatemi’s story provides an astonishing account that enables Australian audiences a brief glimpse into the Afghan woman’s reality. In doing so, moments of understanding are revealed and so too is an opportunity for empathy.


It is important to note that Projections also has a lighter side, a side which celebrates quite simply the purity of photography as an art form. American photographer Joni Sternbach’s stunningly crafted, labour-intensive tintypes of surfing culture in Surfland are a must see. Transforming historical methods with a contemporary voice, Sternbach’s seemingly nostalgic portraits are infused with a timelessness that imbues a sense of breathless mystery and awe.

Likewise, MD Farhad Rahman, a photographer from Bangladesh illustrates a stunning articulation of light, colour and personality within his joyful yet evocative series One Last Playground. The beautifully rich captures of children at play reveal the joyful innocence and imagination of the young in charismatic, masterful photographs while also inciting comment on their approaching loss to commercial development.


It is difficult to highlight just a handful of Projections ’15 for it is arguably the strongest Projections Programs ever offered by the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. The curated work of a team of 3 dedicated to showcasing the overwhelming talents of local, national and international photographers offers the unique merging of professional and emerging talents; this is an exhibit not to be missed. So enjoy some respite during your gallery hoping this festival and take a seat in The Mining Exchange as BIFB Projections ’15 takes you away for a voyage of visual discovery

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© 2018 by Jennifer Dean