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.


Featured image – Director Greg McLean, with producers Rob Gibson and Lisa Scott. Pic Ben Apfelbaum.

Director Greg McLean and some of the show’s stars including Tess Haubrich walked the Red Carpet at the World Premiere  on Tuesday 21st November at the brand new  Palace Central complex, Central Park Mall, Sydney.

A high-end psychological thriller, the new season of WOLF CREEK pits a diverse cast of characters against an inhospitable, remote landscape, whose lethal dangers are personified by the series’ infamous serial killer, Mick Taylor.

A six part television series WOLF CREEK will premiere exclusively on Stan on December 15.





These pics were taken by Ben Apfelbaum capturing the very festive atmosphere of the party following the opening night performance of  Sydney Theatre Company’s major production for the year. Featured image is of Ben Bennett who plays the gruff parking inspector with the star of the show, Maggie McKenna.


Featured image – Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Alana Valentine at Dymocks city store. Images by Ben Apfelbaum.

As Lindy mourned the death of her baby daughter Azaria, taken by a dingo from a campsite at Uluru in 1980, she was tried and convicted in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

The court of public opinion had already made its ruling, shown in the thousands of hurtful, supportive, accusatory or sympathetic letters Lindy received.

DEAR LINDY revealed the Australian public’s personal and passionate reaction to Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton. Using the letters sent to Lindy throughout her ordeal, author Alana Valentine picks up the story first told in her play Letters to Lindy which was performed to critical acclaim at the Seymour Centre.

Some of the letters are angry and full of prejudice, but most are compassionate and empathetic. With DEAR LINDY, Valentine takes us through Lindy’s emotional journey exploring the 199 boxes of letters housed at the National Library of Australia.

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Alana Valentine attended a Dymocks Literary Lunch held in their honour at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel last Monday 20th November.


Featured image- Performers Stephen Mahy and Sarah Morrison. Pic by Ben Apfelbaum.

Over 60 million people have fallen in love with the story and the music that makes MAMMA MIA the ultimate feel good musical.

A new Australian production- producers Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick– will be directed by Helpmann Award winner Gary Young, with a creative team that includes Choreographer Tom Hodgson and Musical Supervisor Stephen Amos.

Set on a Greek Island paradise, combined with the story telling magic of Abba’s timeless songs, writer Catherine Johnson’s tale centres around a young bride to be’s quest to discover the identity of her father. This quest brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island, they all visited twenty years ago.

Starring in this brand new Australian production as mother of the bride Donna Sheridan is Natalie O’Donnell. Donna’s daughter and bride to be Sophie, is emerging young actress Sarah Morrison. Donna’s loyal friend Rosa is played by  Alicia Gardiner. Sophie’s adoring fiance Sky is played by Stephen Mahy. The prospective fathers’ of the bride are played by Ian Stenlake, Phillip Lowe and Josef Ber.

Featuring 22 of Abba’s greatest hits, MAMMA MIA will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from 11th February, 2018.



Featured image – Amanda Davies’ portrait of Pat Brassington.

The  Portia Geach Memorial Award is Australia’s most prestigious art prize for portraiture by women artists.

The Award was established by the will of the late Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, Portia Geach. The non-acquisitive award of $30,000 is awarded by the Trustee for the entry which is of the highest artistic merit, ‘…for the best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, or the Sciences by any female artist resident in Australia during the twelve months preceding the close date for entries.’

Born in 1873 in Melbourne, Portia Geach studied with John Singer Sargent and Lawrence Alma-Tadema in London and was also a lifelong activist for women’s rights. She established the Housewives Progressive Association of New South Wales, The Housewives Magazine in 1933 and the Progressive Journal two years later to promote issues such as equal pay for women and the right to hold public office.

Visitors can vote in the People’s Choice Award and the winning artist will receive $1,000. The award is given by Heather & Hilary Macorison in memory of Winifred & Harry Macorison.


Tasmanian artist Amanda Davies has won the 2017 Portia Geach Memorial Award, with her painting Portrait of Pat Brassington.

Highly Commended artists are Effie Pryer Marieke Hardy, and Clare Thackway Bend.



The 21st ‘Coming Of Age’ annual Sculpture By The Sea has welcomed work from 104 sculptors from 15 countries around the world. Since its inception, 1272 sculptors have exhibited on the Bondi-Tamarama coastal walk. One of the sculptors, Orest Keywan, has exhibited every year since 1998.

At the launch of this year’s Sculpture By The Sea on Thursday 19th October at Marks Park a number of awards were handed out. The Aqualan Sculpture Award worth $60,000 was won by David Ball of Bowral for his sculpture Orb.  Helen  Lempriere’s   scholarships of $30,000 were presented to Hame Fasher of Oberon, Julie Gough of Hobart and Ron Robertson-Swann of Sydney. Continue reading SCULPTURE BY THE SEA : NOW IN ITS 21ST YEAR


P.J.Hogan, the writer and director of the original film Muriel’s Wedding and the writer of the book to the musical, said that he was delighted when he cast the then relatively unknown Toni Collette in the role of Muriel Heslop. Continue reading MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL ON TRACK TO OPEN SOON


Founded by Doug and Greta Moran and family in 1988 for the celebration of Australia’s Bi-Centennial, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, believed to be the world’s most valuable portrait prize, has been held annually ever since. This year, the Moran Arts Foundation  received more than 1,130 entries, double that of the Archibald Prize.

The Moran Prize winner who received $150,000 was Tim Storrier for a portrait Lunar Savant which was a portrait of his friend and fellow artist, McLean Edwards. Ironically this painting did not make the Archibald cut.

For the first time the judges Greta Moran, Daniel Thomas and Wendy Sharpe gave a Highly Commended Award to Dagmar Cyrulla’s self portrait entitled I am Woman.

The proceedings were chaired by Doug’s son Peter Moran and veteran media personality Richard Moorecroft.

This free exhibition showcasing all thirty finalist  is on view at Juniper Hall, 250 Oxford Street, Paddington, almost diagonally opposite to Paddington Town Hall. Opening times are Thursdays to Sundays between 10am and 4pm until 17th December.

Also free Artists Talks are being every Sunday at 2pm at Juniper Hall throughout November and December.


Pics  by Ben Apfelbaum.


Festival of Death and Dying, Sydney

THE FESTIVAL OF DEATH AND DYING   is the result of the collaboration between Victoria Spence and Peter Banki.  Their aim is to question the death phobia of contemporary culture by creating new spaces where people can to think, feel and learn more about death and dying, which is to say more about life. The Festival of Death and Dying is an annual event, which first took place in Sydney in November 2016.  This year, the event was held in October at Critical Path in Rushcutters Bay.

In contemporary Western culture death and dying are generally regarded as something to fight against, deny, hide from public view and above all fear. But what if we were to look at them differently? Despite understandable fear and denial, we may have very good reasons to want to learn more about death and dying. Thinking about and experiencing mortality–our own and that of others–can make us our lives richer, deeper and more valuable to us. Mortality in truth is the intensification of life.

For information about the Festival of Death and Dying :

Photos by Ben Apfelbaum

A Festival of Fraudulent Facts

Recently  the Bondi Pavilion hosted a talk with the title of FRAUDULENT FACTS, HOAX HEADLINES AND MALICIOUS MEDIA.

 Jan Fran, Alex McKinnon,Sandra Sully, John Barron

Images by Ben Apfelbaum

Presented by the Mark and Evett Moran Nib Literary Award and  the Walkeley Foundation, it an expert channel of journalists including John Barron, Sandra Sully, Alex McKinnon, and hosted by journalist  Jan Fran.

The consensus of the Panel seemed to be that in order to keep reporting quality stories the panelists relied on tried and tried sources and in local crime news, police media reports rather fantastical social media.

The panelists lamented that some people in the community held misguided views such as the denial of climate and the link between autism and vaccinations.

The more you presented these people with objective facts and scientific studies, the more they doubled down on their prejudices.

The panel sought to present quality news to their target audiences who hopefully were sufficiently open minded to receive their accurate news reports.

More information about Fraudulent Facts, Hoax Headlines and Malicious Media :,_hoax_headlines_and_malicious_media


Over the weekend of the 7th and 8th October, the National Art School in Darlinghurst held the Underbelly Arts Festival.

Its Director, Roslyn Helper, together with her team and the 116 artists themselves created 21 new projects, 6 lab events, funderbelly for kids together with eateries, some of which were artworks themselves.



Two of the main protagonists in this third installment of the Marble Comics are Thor himself and the Hulk. Their earthly counterparts Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo strode the Red Carpet at the Entertainment Quarter last Sunday.

It was a very glitzy Sydney premiere with gold painted models and statues of Thor and the Hulk. Also in attendance was the New Zealand Director Taika Waititi and producers Brad Winderbaum and Chelsea Winstanley. Among the local celebrities who made an appearance was ex Home and Away star Johnny Ruffo, fresh from a life saving operation for brain cancer, who attended along with his girlfriend, Tahnee Sims.

A major difference in this film is that, at his insistence, Chris Hemsworth refused to wear the long blonde hair wig. Also with the inclusion of Taika Waititi, the film has more comedic touches. Filmed on the Gold Coast, Chris Hemsworth declared that he wished he could film more of his films in Australia.

THOR RAGNAROK opens in cinemas on the 26th October.

Featured image – Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley. All images By Ben Apfelbaum.


Featured image – Baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes by Yvonne East.

The Salon Des Refuses was initiated by the S.H.Ervin Gallery in 1992 in response to the large number of works entered into the Archibald Prize which were not selected for display in the main exhibition.

Each year the Salon Des Refuses is invited to go behind the scenes of the judging process for the Archibald Prize for Portraiture and the Wynne Prize for Landscape Painting and figure sculpture at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Salon selected 54 works that did not make the main exhibition and presented these works at an alternative exhibition at the S.H. Ervin.

This year’s Salon panel comprised James Dorahy, art advisor from the Michael Reid Galleries, Elizabeth Hastings, curator and author, Kevin Connor monograph writer, and James Watters, director of the S.H. Ervin Gallery. Continue reading SALON DES REFUSES 2017 @ S.H.ERVIN GALLERY


Beautiful. Not only was the musical beautiful but so were many of the celebs who walked the Red Carpet. Here are some of the best pics that Ben Apfelbaum took. Enjoy!

Featured image. Left to right- Director Marc Bruni, Writer Douglas McGarth, Producers – Michael Cassel and Mike Bosner.


Featured image – Camp Dog 2002-03.

Lena Yarinkura was born in 1961 and works in Ankabadbirri, a small coastal town in north-east Arnhem Land.

Lena first learned the technique of string bag weaving and pandanus basketry from her mother. In the early 1990’s Lena moved away from creating purely functional domestic objects out of pandanus fibre and started making sculptural forms that represent both the physical embodiment of ancestral beings and animals observed such as camp dogs, bandicoots, spiders, bush pigs and bush mice.

This exhibition is curated by Clothilde Bullen, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections and exhibitions.




Featured : Senne Mestrom ‘Soft Kiss’ 2011.

Drawn entirely from the Museum’s Collection, TODAY, TOMORROW, YESTERDAY considers the impact of the past and the influence of history on artistic practice today. From contemporary interpretations of ancestral stories to the continuing effects of early to mid twentieth century ideas, each room presents a different perspective on the history of the present.

The title and exhibition reference the circular timeless wonderment of TODAY, TOMORROW, YESTERDAY celebrating the different artists deep and ongoing interest in different social, political, cultural and aesthetics histories.

The exhibition is curated by MCA Senior Curator Natasha Bullock. The exhibition runs until 31 December, 2017.




Featured image – The Pretty Face Of Domesticity 2014 (c) Jenny Watson 

Jenny Watson is a leading Australian artist whose conceptual painting practice spans more than four decades. Curated by MCA Curator Anna Davis, this survey exhibition features works from the 1970’s to the present, including examples of Watson’s early realist paintings and drawings and a number of key series of works on fabric.

Inspired by both punk and feminism, she has travelled  widely since the 1970’s and utilises textiles collected on her travels as the surface of many of her paintings, which also often include collages materials  such as images  from magazines, horse’s hair, ribbons, bows and sequins.

Many of Watson’s works feature self portraits and altar egos, a cast of long haired women, horses, rock guitarists and cats who enact life’s ongoing psychodramas.

This exhibition is on until 2nd October, 2017 at the MCA.



Ben Apfelbaum and Mustafah Abdulaziz with the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House.

If you find yourself near the Opera House gates of the Botanical Gardens you will see a vivid yet sobering group of photographs about the crisis in water supply in various parts of the world photographed by New Yorker Mustafah Abdulaziz.

To avoid being categorised into a certain type of photography, Mustafah relocated to Berlin to feel less constrained. As a result he came up with a Water Stories photography project as one of the few unifying themes of mankind, especially as we are made up of  80% water. What started out as a limited project has blown out to 15 years and at this stage he believes he is a third way through. His principal sponsors are HSBC and EarthWatch. Continue reading WATER STORIES : A PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION BY MUSTAFAH ABDULAZIZ


Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

The Cherry Blossoms were out in full bloom at the Auburn Botanical Gardens and  surrounding streets. As they were designed to simulate a Japanese garden, the Japanese community came out in force, mingling with other people of ethnic origin.

As a result there were kimonos aplenty, manga and cos players, sumo wrestlers and even a geisha  girl.

Sydney’s Cherry Blossom Festival was on display at the Auburn Botanical  Gardens between the 18th and the 27th August 2017.


Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Sydney’s sweet tooth shone brightly at the recent Chocolate Festival in the Rocks.

Chocolates of all shapes and sizes and ethnicity were consumed by happy hordes of of cocoa nuts.

Our photographer Ben Apfelbaum took a large photographic bite from the Festival.


Featured photo- Esther Hannaford who will play Carole King. Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Rehearsals have begun for the Australian premiere production of BEAUTIFUL : THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, starring multi-award winning leading lady, Esther Hannaford as Carole King.

BEAUTIFUL is a celebration of Carole King’s rise to stardom including her relationship with husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin and their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Written by Douglas McGrath, directed by Broadway Director Mark Bruni and choreographed by John Prince it features a song list jam-packed with hits including ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ and many more of classics. Continue reading REHEARSALS BEGIN FOR ‘BEAUTIFUL : THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL’


Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Australian theatre producer John Frost and leading UK theatre producer David Ian yesterday announced that Australian icon, singer, songwriter and musical theatre star Tina Arena will play the role of Eva Peron in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s EVITA.

This follows the announcement last week that EVITA, one of the most celebrated classical musicals of all time, will return to Australia next year, playing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House, with tickets on sale from 31 August. This production will continue Opera Australia’s 5 year tradition of mounting popular Broadway and West End musicals. Continue reading TINA ARENA TO PLAY EVITA FOR OPERA AUSTRALIA NEXT YEAR


Featured photo- Christopher Langton and his sculpture ‘Shoe’. All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.

SCULPTURE AT BARANGAROO, presented in partnership with Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Sculpture By The Sea, opened last Saturday.

Official launch proceedings were held a day earlier with speakers David Handley, Founding Director of the Exhibition, Geoffrey Edwards, Exhibition Curator, and Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig Van De Laan.

The exhibition showcases 14 artworks by 9 established and emerging Australian artists.

Exhibiting artists include acclaimed Australian sculpture Michael Le Grand who is celebrating a mini retrospective of six works, Richard Tipping, Nicol Monks, Cave Urban, Andrew Rogers, Adam King from the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, Teresa Trevor, Christopher Langton and Elyssa Sykes-Smith.

SCULPTURE AT BARANGAROO is on display at the Barangaroo Reserve until the 19th August.

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes : Art Gallery Of New South Wales

Featured image – Archibald Prize winner Mitch Cairns  and wife Agatha Gothe-Snape in front of his winning portrait of his wife. All images by Ben Apfelbaum.

To the delight of Sydneysiders and I suspect the Board of Trustees there was the usual post Archibald and Wynne controversy.

Distinguished veteran John Olsen opined words to the effect that the winner of the Archibald Prize was not a portrait but a decorative Matisse like painting. A Herald letter writer said that she would no longer paint in the European tradition but would paint dot paintings.

David Gonski, the Director of the Board of Trustee, announced the Prize winners at midday last Friday with a huge media contingent present.

The Archibald Prize, worth $100,000, went to Sydney artist Mitch Cairns for his portrait of his artist-wife Agatha Gothe-Snape.

The Wynne Prize, worth $50,000, went to Betty Kuntiwa Pumani for ‘Antara’, her portrait of her homeland.

The  Sulman Prize, worth $40000, went to Joan Ross, for her painting, ‘Oh history, you lied to me.’

Jun Chen was highly commended for his portrait of former gallery owner Ray Hughes.

The  Young Archies finalists are on exhibition until 22nd October with the announcement of the winner taking place on 16th September.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman exhibitions are on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until the 22nd October.

The ANZ People’s Choice Announcement will take place on Wednesday 4th October.

The Salon-des- Refuges exhibition will be on display at the SH Ervin Gallery until Sunday 15th October.