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.


Due to budget constraints and insurance cost blow-outs, several free outdoor events in .Sydney no longer take place.

This is not the case with Buddha’s birthday, celebrating its 28th year at Tumbalong Park. Its principal sponsor and organiser is the Nan Kien Temple near Wollongong, the largest temple of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Apart from the fact that if you are a Buddhist this was a beautifully staged event for you to say your prayers or make wishes, it is also a feast for the eyes. By this I mean the many diverse food stalls and souvenir outlets from  several parts of South East Asia which encircle  Tumbalong Park. Accordingly if you favour a certain Asian cuisine you can most likely obtain it at Buddha’s birthday.

The same can be said of cultural showcases  with dancers  performing from Bali to Beijing.

Each year it gets bigger and better and this year  behind the performance area it had the biggest Buddha statue to date. Therefore I’m really looking forward to next year for more eye popping displays (weather permitting).

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum


I live in an area close to where the Global Table is held annually in May.

This is the first time in its 14 year history that I have attended it albeit with insufficient time.

Waverley Council believes that music and food bring together diverse groups of people thereby fostering harmony and tolerance.

Situated under a very large marquee, the Global Table itself a 35 metre long table lined by stalls from many countries around the world..

Forming almost a ‘T’ intersection to the Table is a performance stage where people performing dancing or music express their ethnic culture all in clear view of the contented diners and other passers by in the Bondi Junction mall.

In the time that I was there  I saw an exhibition of Middle Eastern bellydancing as well as  a performance by an Indonesian song and dance troupe. I would have liked to linger longer but I had errands to do in a limited time.

As a result of what I witnessed I will make sure that this is not my last Global Table visit.

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum


From Wollongong to Wyong, from Port Macquarie to Penrith and Parramatta, Jonathon Biggins has been touring his wildly acclaimed play throughout New South Wales.

Wherever Biggins takes this show he performs nearly always to deserved full houses. Paul Keating is unique in that he has had two shows written about him that are highly entertaining ie that is Keating The Musical and now The Gospel According To Paul.

I must declare my bias in that I am a huge fan of Paul Keating. I used to watch question time in Parliament to witness Keating’s  wit and viciousness. In this regard I am similar to President Suharto who although he was a dictator would obtain tapes of Paul Keating performing during Question Time and as a result relations with Indonesia  became warmer. Continue reading THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL @ THE PLAYHOUSE


Now in its 98th year the Archibald Prize has been held annually since 1921 and is worth $100,000.

The Prize was established from a bequest by Jules Francois Archibald, the founding editor of The Bulletin magazine.

According to Archibald’s will the Archibald Prize is to be awarded annually to the best portrait (preferably of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by an artist resident in Australasia.

The $50,000 Wynne Prize is the oldest Prize pursuant to a bequest  by Richard Wynne and was first awarded in 1897, marking the official opening of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figurative sculpture. Continue reading 2019 ARCHIBALD, WYNNE AND SULMAN PRIZE WINNERS ANNOUNCED


Since its inception the Moran Contemporary Prize has been celebrating the work of local photographers both adult and student as they capture the experience of living in Australia. With an eye to the future the Moran School Photographic Workshop hosted 1800 school students from Years 3 to 12 with free tuition.

This year’s Prize had senior judges Cheryl Newman, Jon Jones and Stephen Dupont who along with student judges had to sift through over 3,000 entries to narrow them down to 30 adult finalists which were hung in Juniper Hall’s whilst the student photographer finalists were displayed on large panels for the entries comprising years 7 to 8, years 9 to 10, and years 11 to 12. Their photos were also displayed as a slideshow on a tv screen.

Host of the evening’s proceedings senior judge Cheryl Norman, in the presence of Moran Health Group Managing Director Peter Moran, announced that Tamara Dean had won the 2019 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for her underwater photograph Endangered. In her acceptance speech Tamara was especially grateful as she had been a finalist on several occasions but had never won.mpo Continue reading MORAN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2019


In front of an audience of filmmakers both behind and in front of the camera, as well as veteran and aspiring movie folk, Sydney Film Director Nashan Moodley launched the 66th Sydney Film Festival at the Lower Town Hall, a venue hosted by Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, a keen and continuing supporter of the Festival.

The program is one of the most ambitious to date whereby the Festival will screen 307 films from over 55 countries including 33 world premieres, combining hundreds of international and local stories. There are 112 feature films and 79 documentaries several of which have received international awards.

As part of its pledge to have gender parity in the 2020 Festival, this year the program includes 2 retrospectives showcasing influential women directors : Viva Varda, a retrospective of Agnes Varda’s work, and 10 ground breaking Australian directors selected by David Stratton. Continue reading SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM ANNOUNCED


There are not many women who have come out  as soloist singers late in their life. Apart from Evelyne, the only woman that springs to my mind was Sharon Jones  who came to the fore at age forty nine after years of being a prison guard. Her music was in a funky soul style in the manner of James Brown  who was the Godfather of Soul.

After years of performing in various choirs and vocal groups  Evelyne Weltlinger debuted as a soloist in 2012 at an age a  few years older than Sharon Jones.

Although their respective musical styles are a million miles apart they both seek to capture the soul in the music. Continue reading EVELYNE WELTLINGER : SONGS OF MY HEART


There should have been an ochre carpet rather than a Red Carpet for the Sydney premiere of TOP END WEDDING.

The film stars Miranda Tapsell who co-wrote the script by drawing on her experiences growing up in Darwin and Kakadu National Park. The film took the cast and crew to remote and stunning locations in the Tiwi islands, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu National Park and Darwin.

The director is Wayne Blair who directed The Sapphires.  The film has already garnered critical acclaim. Continue reading RED CARPET : TOP END WEDDING


The first 33 artists, creatives and collaborations were announced on Tuesday 9th April at the Cell Block Theatre within the National Art School campus.

At the launch Brook Andrew, the Artistic Director, explained that NIRIN is the title of the exhibition symbolising the 2019 International Year Of Indigenous Languages. NIRIN means edge which aims to advocate for First Nation Languages to be incorporated into the mainstream. NIRIN is a word from Andrew’s country, the Wiradjuri people from Western New South Wales.

Seven themes bind together. They are DHAAGUN (Earth: Working Together), BAGARAY – BANG (Healing), YIRAWY-DHURAY (Yam-Connection: Food), GURRAY (Transformation), MURIGUWAL GIILAND (Different Stories),NGAWAAL-GUYUNGAN (Powerful Ideas :The Power Of Objects) and BILAN( River: Environment). Continue reading BIENNALE OF SYDNEY ANNOUNCES 2020 EXHIBITION : NIRIN


This play by David Ives opened off Broadway in  2010 and this production is very ‘off Broadway’, that is the show is being performed at the Performance Space, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern.

Given the vigour and passion that has been put into this production it is a shame that the show has only such a small season. I fervently hope that this production has a return and longer season and that it is transferred to another of Sydney’s intimate and more established venues such as the Old Fitz.

American playwright David Ives has based his play around the 1870 novella Venus In Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Ives has his main character Thomas Novachek play a  writer/director who is doing a stage adaptation of the novella.The play starts with him lamenting to his fiance about the inadequacies of the actresses he has so far auditioned. Thomas is at his wits end when suddenly a young woman arrives too late for an audition. Nonetheless with a mixture of cheek, gauche and feigned naivety, she persuades Thomas to let her audition. Continue reading VENUS IN FUR @ 107 PROJECTS REDFERN


If you were in Sydney around the time when the premiere of Saturday Night Fever was taking place, you would find there was a dearth of white suits, black shirts, glitter and let’s not forget sequin.

The invitation to the opening night stated that the dress should be disco chic and a large majority of the audience and Red Carpet attendees complied.

A highlight of the Red Carpet was the attendance of Maria Venuti accompanied and assisted by her daughter Bianca as well as the always welcome presence of Kerri-Anne Kennerley after their respective tragic and traumatic setbacks.

The razzle dazzle of this disco classic  raised the spirits of the audience who by the finale were dancing in the aisles and swatting away giant balloons.

Featured pic Caroline O’Connor and Cameron Mitchell. All pics by Ben Apfelbaum.