All posts by Ben Apfelbaum

My photography began when my father handed me the proverbial brownie box camera as a child. As cameras developed I went through Fujica and Olympus range finders graduating to my first single lens reflex camera, the Minolta SRT101, the latter being the greatest facilitator to my growth as a photographer. Digital photography has only added to this. I was a regular contributor to Camera Craft magazine (Australian Camera ) for over three years. During Australia’s Bicentennial year (1988) I made it a personal project to document the celebrations. This culminated in the creation of a book of my photos which was published in 1989. The book was called CELEBRATING AUSTRALIA and came with an accompanying calendar. My works have appeared in a number of publications including the coffee book entitled MY AUSTRALIA (1989), publisher Robertsbridge Severn. This book had a preface by the then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. I was a co-photographer on a book entitled SYDNEY- DISCOVER THE CITY with text written by Robert Treborland. Major Mitchell Press was the publisher. Also for two years I was the photographer for calendars celebrating Sydney’s multicultural communities. The two calendars were entitled MULTICULTURAL SYDNEY. My work appeared in a group exhibition held at Sydney’s Town Hall pertaining to the diversity of life in South America to raise money for orphanages there. I have over one hundred photos stored in the New South Wales State Library archive. I had a solo exhibition held in 2007 entitled Ben’s Lens at the Sydney Jewish Museum which celebrated the vibrancy of the Sydney Jewish community. Some of these photos are on the Museum’s permanent display. I have exhibited internationally firstly at the Spruill Gallery in Atlanta Georgia, united states, and in an exhibition entitled Kosher and Co at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Currently I am a regular contributor to J-Wire and this esteemed publication.


The Parkes Elvis Festival is held in the 2nd week of January to coincide with Elvis’ January 8th birthday. It was started 25 years ago by some Elvis fans who ran the Graceland Restaurant when at that time of year, tourists were non existent.

Elvis had an early hit with Mystery Train, whose lyrics inspired indie writer/director Jim Jarmusch to make a cult film with the same name, but the Elvis Express is anything but enigmatic.

The exuberance, joie de vivre and sense of anticipation at Central Station on January 12th was infectious. Thousands of fans lined up, first to be entertained by some excellent Elvis impersonators and then to queue for the rebranded XPT.

The variety of costumes of the train travellers to Parkes, would have added a riot of colour to the 150 events with this year’s theme – Viva Las Vegas.

The town’s population triples, as 25,000 visitors are hosted by a majority of Parkes’ 12,000 residents.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


There is so much nudity in the media particularly in the cinema and clothes are so skimpy that this exhibition has attracted no controversy, no calls for it to be shut down and as such you can visit the exhibition and admire the artwork itself.

One is astonished to read when researching that when August Rodin’s The Kiss  was first exhibited in England it was covered in a sheet for fear it would corrupt local youth.

This exhibition extracts from the Tate Collection over 100 nudes covering 200 years of art history from the 1800s to the present. Continue reading NUDE : ART FROM THE TATE GALLERY @ THE ART GALLERY OF NSW


This was the Australian Haydn Ensemble’s (AHE) final concert for the year. The concert focused on the ‘Sturm and Drang’ movement of the 18th century, this concert was a treat in every way. The Sturm and Drang movement was characterised by drama and passion with sudden shifts of dynamics and rhythm. The four works presented in these concerts delivered these in spades.

The program consisted of three works by C.P.E Bach (son of Johann) together with Haydn’ Symphony no 49 (The Passion) to conclude. Guest director was the superbly talented Erin Helyard recent musical director for Pinchgut’s production of Theodora and he certainly raised this talented ensemble to new heights of excellence. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE : HAYDN’S PASSION @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


There was a good atmosphere at the recent Sydney premiere of ROGUE ONE – A STAR WARS STORY at the Hoyts Cinema Complex, the Entertainment Quarter.

Celebrities attending included David Campbell and his son Leo,members of the Aria Award winning group Peking Duk, Tom Williams, Leeanna Walsman, Isabel Durant, Tai Hara and Lincoln Younes. Also, Cosplayers dressed in a variety of colourful costumes took some of the limelight.

Unusual for a premiere, there was a pre-party prior to the film screening. Continue reading SYDNEY PREMIERE – ROGUE ONE : A STAR WARS STORY


LION, based on the autobiographical book, A LONG WAY HOME by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose, tells the story of how Saroo, adopted by a loving couple in Tasmania, with the help of Google, searches for and finds his birth mother.

Nicole Kidman hugs Sue Brierley

Nicole Kidman stars as his adoptive mother Sue Brierley and David Wenham plays his adoptive father John. Dev Patel stars as Saroo.

The film’s Sydney premiere took place on the 19th December at the State Theatre saw the real life Brierley’s join their celebrity counterparts on the red carpet.

The director Garth Davis, the writer Luke Davies, the producers and all the major stars attended with the exception of Rooney Mara stayed after the screening to participate in a Q and A.


Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, as well as its surrounds, has been refurbished. Gone is the moat and nearby fountains. However, it now appears to have a slightly concave shape which means it is likely to have better drainage than previously. It has a brand new and larger stage which now faces north rather than west.

One of the first uses of this revamped park is the staging of the Polish Christmas Festival. The area was a sea of red and white with visitors either carrying the flag or dressed in the national colours. There were posters celebrating their national hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko after whom our highest peak was named by its first conqueror Count Strezlecki. Next year there will be commemorations held by the Polish community acknowledging the year of this death, two hundred years ago.

There was folk dancing and folk musicians, the later tapping a deep well of nostalgia with many in the crowd singing happily along.

Tumbalong Park was ringed with  food, gift and travel stalls who all seemed to be doing a brisk trade on a glorious sunny afternoon.

Images copyright Ben Apfelbaum.



Like the Arias where one artist dominated, one film swept all before it. HACKSAW RIDGE won ten awards including best Director for Mel Gibson, Best Actor Andrew Garfield, and Best Supporting Actor Hugo Weaving.

Odessa Young, who starred in the film The Daughter, directed by Simon Stone, bucked the trend by being one of the youngest actors to win the  Best Actress Award.

The television awards had a mixed bunch of winners. Among the winners were Wentworth for Best Drama Series, The Kettering Incident for Best Mini Series, Upper Middle Bogan for Best Television Comedy Series, and Master Chef Australia for Best Reality Television series.

Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama was won  by Samuel Johnson for Molly, Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama went to Damon Herriman for Secret City, whilst Best Actress in a Television Drama was won by Elizabeth Debicki for The Kettering Incident, and Best Supporting Actress went to the usually comedic Celia Pacquola for The Beautiful Lie.

The Longford Lyell Award for a Lifetime Achievement in Film and Television went to Paul Hogan.

The Trailblazer Award, created to highlight an individual’s achievements, abilities and successes as an inspiration to all invested in screen,went to Isla Fisher.

The Byron Kennedy Award for Film and Television Innovation went to Lynette Wallworth.



The Sydney premiere of RED DOG: TRUE BLUE, directed by Kriv Stenders, took place recently at Event cinemas in George  Street with many of its stars in attendance. The biggest star of all was Phoenix, the Red Dog. Unfortunately, the original Red Dog, Koko, died of congestive heart failure in 2012.

This film is a prequel to the original film and shows the relationship of a young boy with the young dog who later grows up to be a real life legend.

The film first premiered in Karatha, Western Australia, the movie’s locale, and Phoenix’s performance  at the AACTA’s Red Carpet did not phase him.

Phoenix is in fact the younger cousin of Koko. When producer Nelson Woss was asked to compare the personalities of the two dogs he stated that Koko was a pure ham, lapping up all the attention whereas Phoenix was a consummate professional.

RED DOG:TRUE BLUE opens in  cinemas on Boxing Day.



Eastern Sydney’s very active Waverley Library recently featured an impressive double header.

Upstairs, in the theatrette, Jennifer H Crane spoke about her book Our Lady Of The Fence Post.

In June 2003 an  apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared at  the headland south of Coogee Beach. No fewer than three academic papers have delved into the apparition. Two of them found a link between the sighting of the Virgin Mary and the death of a number of local rugby players at the Sari Club in Bali which was bombed in October 2002. Unfortunately, shortly after the sighting, the fence at Dolphin’s Reserve was  vandalised and the apparition was no more. Continue reading WAVERLEY LIBRARY LITERARY DOUBLE HEADER


This is apparently the most expensive cable television series ever produced. If you loved The Queen and the live screening of the National Theatre’s production of The Audience also starring Helen Mirren as the Queen, you will adore this series as they were all written by Peter Morgan.

This lavish Netflix original drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth 11 from the 1940s to 1956 in this first series of ten episodes. The second series is currently being produced but subsequent series will have new sets of actors as the Queen and Prince Phillip age.

The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the Queen who ascended the throne when she was 25. Continue reading THE CROWN


Actress Amy Adams is having a bumper year with two films coming out in December/January  where she has the principal role –  Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.   

Twelve mysterious monoliths land in twelve different locations around the world emitting strange sounds. Are they friend or foe?

Referencing Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Amy Adams as linguist Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as scientist Ian Donnelly are recruited by Forrest Whittaker  as Colonel Weber to decipher  the intention of the octopus like heptapods who inhabit the monolith which has landed in Wyoming. Continue reading THE ARRIVAL


The quirky Camelot Lounge, owned by Monsieur Camembert’s Yaron Hallas, was the venue for this ‘unknown’ group. Whenever I hear of Australia’s most forgotten impressionist I always know that it is John Russell because he is mentioned as such so I can’t forget it.

This wonderful group formed in 2001 has a cult like following. Despite playing for fifteen years and having won overseas singing competitions, this group is truly forgotten and unknown to the general public. In a men’s shed like fashion it brought together a bunch of guys from all walks of life who lived in the Blue Mountains area. As time evolved some of the group moved from the Blue Mountains to Canberra with its leader and chief composer Stephen Taberner moving to Melbourne. Continue reading A SPOOKY NIGHT WAS LOVED BY ALL @ THE CAMELOT LOUNGE


Those who are privileged to see Pinchgut opera’s current production of Handel’s Theodora are in for a treat. It is, I believe faultless in every aspect.

This opera, dated 1749, Handel considered his masterpiece even though it was a commercial failure.With a libretto by Thomas Morell, it concerns the suffering of Christian martyr, Theodora, at the hands of idol worshipping Roman president Valens in 4th century Antioch and is full of beautiful chorus work and some sublime arias.

Theodora, sung by Valda Wilson, Irene, sung by Caitlin Hulcup and Didymus sung by American counter tenor Christopher Lowrey,  all did full justice to this magnificent work, with convincing, passionate performances and superb vocal work. I thought Valda Wilson’s performance was perfect, being both a joy to listen to as well as being gorgeous to watch. ‘O thou bright sun’, her aria of despair as she faces rape and prostitution, was very moving and her final duet with Christopher Lowrey sung as their characters ascended to heaven, took the audience to heavenly spaces with them!

Caitlin Hulcup’s warm velvety mezzo soprano voice was also one of the highlights of the evening. There was a deep humanity to all the principals’ performances that moved me deeply. Continue reading PINCHGUT OPERA EXCELS AGAIN WITH HANDEL’S THEODORA @ RECITAL HALL


After receiving their Awards several of the winners made themselves available for photographs and interviews. The following artists attending the Media Room were Best Group and Rock Album – Violent Soho, Breakthrough Artist – Montaigne, Best Urban Album – Drapht, Best Adult Contemporary Album – Bernard Fanning, Best Adult Alternative Album – Sarah Blasko, Best Country Album – Sara Storer, Best Children’s Album – The Wiggles, Best Video and Apple Music Song Of The Year – Troye Sivan, Best Australian Live Act – The Hilltop Hoods, Best Blues and Roots Album – Russell Morris, Best Album, Best Male Artist, Best Dance Release, Best Pop Release and Best Independent Release – Flume. Hall of Fame Inductees- Crowded House.

Featured image – Flume. All images by Ben Apfelbaum(c)..


King Abdullah and Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan made a quick visit to Sydney, such that they did not even have time to do the obligatory trip on Sydney Harbour.

However, they did have lovely views of the Harbour from Government House where prior to a formal lunch they inspected its gardens whose flowers were in full bloom, accompanied by Governor David and  Mrs Linda Hurley.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


Whether Mark Tedeschi, AM, QC, the State’s Senior Crown Prosecutor, intended this or not, he has written a trilogy of three legal cases each from a different point of view. In EUGENIA, the central subject, Eugenia Falleni, is a murderer, though some simplicity is elicited, KIDNAPPED whose main subject is Graeme Thorne, the kidnap victim, and now his latest  book MURDER AT MYALL CREEK where a courageous colonial Attorney General and the legal system itself is put on trial.

In 1838, 11 convicts and former convicts were put on trial for the brutal murder of 28  indigenous men, women and children at Myall Creek in  Northern New South Wales. Controversial for the colonial era this was the first time Europeans were charged with the murder of indigenous people who were ranked lower than sheep and cattle in the eyes of the law. It would become one of the most serious trials of mass murder in Australia’s history. Continue reading BOOK LAUNCH : MARK TEDESCHI’S ‘MURDER AT MYALL CREEK’


The Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the Armistice. After World War 2 the Australian Government agreed to the United Kingdom’s proposal that Armistice Day be renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars.Today the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day and continues to be commemorated in Allied Countries.

The time honoured proceedings took place at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. Lt Colonel John Moore was the Master Of Ceremonies for the Order of Service.

After the Royal Australian Navy’s Band’s Vice Regal Salute, the 2016 Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholars Mr Nikita Papastamatis and Ms Amber Frost read ‘In Flanders Fields’, a poem by John McGrath, composed in 1915. Continue reading REMEMBRANCE DAY 2016 – THE CENOTAPH MARTIN PLACE, SYDNEY


‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy’ is one of the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of the Jewish Faith. The 5th Commandment is largely ignored  by secular Jews. An initiative, commenced in South Africa in 2015, sought to involve these secular Jews in a modern and mass media way. Since then, globally, it has spread to an amazing 1,150 cities across 94 countries with over 1,000,000 participants. The Shabbat Project in Sydney gathered together 39 communal organisations which initiated over 85 events reaching nearly 15,000 people.

At Bondi Beach over 500 people gathered together on the sand to participate in music, dance and  prayer. The service was presided over by Rabbi Benji Levy, Head of Studies at Moriah College, as the sun set over the lapping waves, joyous singing and dancing.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


Some of Sydney’s most popular murals are located  in Newtown, Enmore or Ashfield but the trick is to find them, and some are quite a distance apart.

However, if you want to see a selection of colourful, eye popping murals in the one place, head to the Bondi Beach promenade.

Periodically, the street art on show is given a ‘fresh coat of paint’. It appears that this has occurred recently with a collection of new murals. The only mural that has been retained is a memorial to Chloe, as evidenced by its fading paint.

So the only place in Sydney where you can both have a great coffee, at one of the many excellent cafes in Campbell Street and a dip in the ocean, together with a dose of art in the fresh air, is iconic Bondi Beach.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


One of the longest red carpets (rainbow coloured in fact) was installed in front of the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter to accommodate, along its sides, a multitude of fans who adore Justin Timberlake.

As well as voicing one of the leads Timberlake also served as the film’s Executive Music Producer, the soundtrack of which features four original songs including songs by Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick, and Ariana Granda.

Other cast members include Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, Christine Baranski, James Corden, and John Cleese. Our own  Dami Im is the voice of Grandma Rosiepuff.

Justin Timberlake seemed relaxed and happy  to meet his fans posing patiently for selfies and signing autographs.

TROLLS opens in cinemas on December 1.

All images copyright Ben Apfelbaum.


The Sydney Chamber Choir launched its 2017 season at an inner city function. Founded in 1975, the Choir has forged a reputation as one of Australia’s leading choral ensembles. 

Highly regarded for its interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque works, it is also a champion of contemporary Australian choral music, having commissioned and premiered scores of works by many established and emerging Australian composers.

In 2017 the Choir will be singing music by Hildegard von Bingen, Monteverdi, Buxtehude, Purcell, Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Schoenberg, Britten and others. Cantatas, opera, lyric scenes and chant will be heard resounding throughout the Great Hall at the University of Sydney, a  perfect venue for this remarkable ensemble of musicians to display their talents.

As is the  Sydney Chamber Choir’s tradition most of the soloists will come from  the Choir. However Richard Butler will sing the role of St Nicolas in the eponymous Britten cantata. The N.S.W Public Schools senior singers, under the direction of Elizabeth Scott, will join  Richard Butler and the Choir in this work.



The stars of the Westfield W-League gathered in Sydney on the last day of October  to launch the 2016/17 season of the Westfield W-League.

One local and one international star from each club were on hand to kick-start the new season under the tagline ‘Be Real Be Remarkable’.

A host of Westfield Matildas stars were present including Brisbane Roar’s Clare Polkinghorne, Canberra’s Michelle Heyman, Melbourne City’s Steph Catley, Perth Glory’s Sam Kerr, Sydney FC’s Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy, as well Western Sydney Wanderers captain Caitlin Cooper.

“I’m sure the players will take the game to new heights in the 2016/17 season of the Westfield W-League,” said Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop.

“This season we will have 19 double-headers along with the Hyundai A-League, with 14 of them on air.

“So Be Real, Be Remarkable, and get out there and support the Westfield W-League.”

The season will conclude with the Grand Final on Sunday 12 February 2017.

FOX SPORTS and ABC Television will broadcast 14 matches throughout the regular season as well as every match in the 2017 Finals Series.

This article was originally published at:

Image by Ben Apfelbaum.


The greatest Australian cyclist of all time Cadel Evans attended a book signing event at Dymocks Sydney city store on 15th November.

Famous in the sport for his meticulous preparation and an athlete who prided himself on his ability to ‘leave it all on the road’, Evans writes about the triumphs, the frustrations, the training, the preparation, the psychology of the sport, his contemporaries, the legends, and his enduring love of the beauty of cycling. Continue reading CADEL EVANS : THE ART OF CYCLING


Sydney loves to host royalty and foreign dignitaries. On Thursday 3rd November King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands enjoyed a sparkling day packed with events for them to attend.

In the morning the Dutch Royal couple had a private business meeting with the Netherlands  Foreign Investment Agency that aims to assist companies that want to invest in the Netherlands.

After paying a courtesy call on the State Governor David Hurley and his wife Linda at Government House the King and Queen then paid a visit to the University of Sydney. There the Royal couple was welcomed by University Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson and met with Australian students who have been studying in the Netherlands and Dutch students currently studying in Australia. Continue reading DUTCH KING AND QUEEN VISIT SYDNEY


A portion of Dymocks lost its persona as a bookstore when it became a kitchen for this television celebrity cook. Two hot plates and an array of spices were set up to facilitate Ms Pulley’s demonstration in the making of a delicious soup and condiment flavoured chicken thighs.

There was a large crowd eager to taste the results of her cooking demonstration.

Its purpose was to launch her new cookbook FALLING IN LOVE WITH FOOD. With each signed copy Ms Pulley presented the purchaser with a free bottle of extra virgin oil in order to facilitate her recipes.

Also present to view the launch was her proud father and stepmother.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).