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Everything you need to know about the Ballarat International Foto Biennale


Here’s everything you need to know about Australia’s most prestigious photographic festival.

Now in its 10th edition, the 2023 Ballarat International Foto Biennale is running until 22 October.

It features more than 2000 works by over 200 local, national and international artists across over 100 indoor and outdoor venues.

The eight-week festival showcases some of the world’s biggest names in photography, including acclaimed British portrait photographer Platon, Indian street photographer Vineet Vohra and pop culture icon Andy Warhol.

Platon, Self Portrait with George Lois, June 2012 (part of the People Power – Platon exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat)

Core program

The Core Program is a curated line-up of leading national and international photographic artists.

Think 14 indoor and 10 outdoor exhibitions.

Highlights of the Core Program include:

  • the world premiere of People Power – Platon
  • New Zealand artist Yvonne Todd’s quirky photographs that make you take a second look
  • intricate but also large-scale photographs by Swedish photographer Erik Johansson
  • Instant Warhol – a series of 59 Polaroid portraits captured by the cultural icon in the 1970s and 80s

All Core Program indoor exhibitions require a Festival Pass (details below). The pass also includes entry to several artist talks, performances and events.

And don’t miss Lisa Roet’s giant Golden Monkey clinging to the side of the National Centre for Photography in Lydiard Street South.

For the full Core Program, visit

Open program

The Open Program fosters the development of more than 200 emerging photographic artists.

Explore more than 80 free exhibitions throughout Ballarat’s cafes, restaurants, laneways, streets and historic buildings.

For the full Open Program, visit

Vineet Vohra, Untitled, 2011 (part of the here, there, everywhere outdoor exhibition)

Workshops, events and talks

An exciting range of individually ticketed workshops, masterclasses, forums and artist talks are sold separately.

Find out more at

Festival passes

Take your pick from three Festival Passes:

  • single-day pass (adult $25, concession $20, child 5-15 years $10, family of two adults and up to three children $60, group of 10+ $18pp, BIFB Friend $18)
  • three-day pass (adult $42, concession $32, child 5-15 years $12, family of two adults and up to three children $96, group of 10+ $28pp, BIFB Friend $28)
  • season pass (adult $62, concession $50, child 5-15 years $25, family of two adults and up to three children $150, BIFB Friend $45)

Festival Pass gives you access to all six Core Program venues, including the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Post Office Gallery and the Ballarat Mining Exchange.

Buy your Festival Pass online at, at the Festival Hub (see below) or the Ballarat Information Centre at the Ballarat Town Hall.

Erik Johansson, October 13th, 2022 (part of the How to Fly exhibition at the Ballarat Mining Exchange)

Festival Hub

Browse the range of limited edition prints, books, merchandise and fun photo products at the Festival Hub.

Located at 12 Lydiard Street North (part of the Ballarat Mining Exchange), the hub is open 9.30am-5pm daily.

Printed festival guides are available for $5 each. The full program can also be downloaded for free from

The BIFB Kids’ Hub is located here too – a dedicated space for participants of all ages to learn about photography.

Awards and prizes

The 2023 Martin Kantor Portrait Prize will be awarded to an exceptional portrait of a significant Australian recognised within their field of art, letters, science, sport or politics.

Finalists are on show at the Ballarat Town Hall from 26 August – 22 October.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Promoted Peculiar — International AI Prize 2023 brings us squarely into the world of images generated by prompting Artificial Intelligence to create art.

Shortlisted images will be on show at the BAaD Gallery & Events (737 Sturt Street) from 22 September – 22 October.

And the 2023 Open Program People’s Choice Award is awarded to the public’s favourite Open Program exhibition. Vote now at

Main image: Erik Johansson, Full Moon Service, 2017. Courtesy the artist.

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31 Aug 2023

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