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Excellent exhibition celebrates photography in a regional town

artists, spaces

19 September 2017
David LaChapelle's La Pieta with Courtney Love (2006)

David LaChapelle's La Pieta with Courtney Love

This past weekend I took the train to Ballarat, in regional Victoria, on the last day of the 2017 Ballarat International Foto Biennale, to see its highlight – David LaChapelle's exhibition. How wonderful to have such a great international photographer at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

As photography is becoming less and less celebrated in Australia, I believe it is important that these artistic programs are supported and visited.

Not only does it bring visitation to the regional towns, but it delivers great artists to areas which are deserving of excellent exhibitions.

It is the first time David LaChapelle has shown in Australia. He is an American artist/photographer known for his hyper-realistic, theatrical imagery in which he communicates social messages. LaChapelle began his career in the 1980s and was given his first job as a photographer for Interview magazine by Andy Warhol.

Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen's Eyes as Big as Plates

Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen's Eyes as Big as Plates

LaChapelle's work is a statement about consumerism, pop culture and fame. Photographing Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Angelina Jolie to Hillary Clinton, his work has graced the covers of many international magazines such as Italian Vogue, French Vogue and Vanity Fair, and he was the last person to take a portrait of Warhol before he died in 1987.

Other highlights were works by Jannatul Mawa from Nepal and a body of work (paste-ups) by Karoline Hjorth + Riitta Ikonen from Norway and Finland. The series Eyes as Big as Plates is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Nordic duo, with their work evolving over the years into a continual search for modern human being's affinity to nature.