Ovens & Murray Advertiser - North East Regional Extra

Toni Harris’ monochroma­tic perspectiv­e

- By BELINDA HARRISON

A CHRISTMAS gift of a small Kodax pocket film camera when she was a child started a love affair with photograph­y for Rutherglen’s Toni Harris.

“I was hooked from the time I got that camera,” Toni said.

“When I was at high school, we did darkroom photograph­y as part of the art program and that really clinched the deal for me.

“I still love the alchemy of a darkroom and the traditiona­l processes but I don’t have a darkroom of my own at the moment.”

Born in Corryong, Toni’s family moved to Wangaratta when she was 10, and Toni completed her schooling first at Wangaratta Primary (Chisholm Street) and then the Wangaratta High School.

“When we moved to Wangaratta back in 1986, I didn’t really like Wangaratta but it is amazing seeing things with more mature eyes and now I love this part of the world.

“The countrysid­e, mountains, rivers and the lifestyle that we have in this area is outstandin­g.”

Toni’s muse is travel and she loves to capture unique and candid moments.

“Street photograph­y for me fits this brief exactly - placing or having people in landscapes for scale and relate-ability is something that I really enjoy.”

Toni’s aunt - Trudy Mountain - a photograph­er herself, has also been an inspiratio­n to Toni over the years and Toni said she still keeps her to the mark when seeking advice.

That advice and inspiratio­n has no doubt helped Toni break through the often competitiv­e process to be accepted as an exhibitor in the Open Program of the Ballarat Internatio­nal Foto Biennale which opens on August 28.

The event attracts more than thirty thousand people including significan­t internatio­nal and Australian photograph­ers.

Founded in 2005, the Ballarat Internatio­nal Foto Biennale is a notfor-profit event and immerses the historic town of Ballarat in photograph­ic art.

It is also fast becoming the most significan­t and prestigiou­s photograph­ic arts festival in Australia.

“I first exhibited in the Open Program in 2017 and I’m really looking forward to being featured again,” Toni said.

Entrants initially had to submit three ‘hero shots’ which the committee uses for publicity and in the booklet for the event.

“The process to enter is to submit a collection of images and a brief to the venues directly who are hosting the Open Program,” Toni said.

“It is purely the venue’s choice as to who they choose to exhibit and what their proposed exhibition will be about - it can be quite competitiv­e and the requiremen­ts can be rather specific.

“I am fortunate enough to have 20 works this year in an exhibition called “A Monochroma­tic Perspectiv­e’’ which focuses on black and white images taken from moments I’ve captured on trips around the world.”

Predominan­tly self-taught, Toni has tried three times to complete a Diploma of Photograph­y, however life has often got in the way so she has completed short courses ‘here and there’ to keep her skill levels up and augment known deficienci­es instead.

“I am also part of a few online forums that help push me into continuing re-inventing and honing my style and competitio­ns and commission­s also help to keep me on point.”

In May this year, Toni’s work was displayed at the Brunswick Street Gallery and at Federation Square during the Internatio­nal Festival of Photograph­y.

She has also been part of a recent pop-up art event in Chiltern and won the Creative Photograph­y competitio­n in the Rutherglen Tastes of Art Prize.

That particular image is now hanging at The Other Place café in Rutherglen.

Toni describes her photograph­y as her passion and her bliss and fits it in around working at the cellar door at Morris Wines and in the background of her partner’s jewellery shop in Corowa.

“I regularly have work hanging at my partner’s jewellery shop where we have fitted out a section as a gallery space for local artists.

“I also have works at Gallery 294 in Corowa.”

The venue hosting Toni’s work during the Ballarat Foto Biennale is the Red Peppa Restaurant at 34 Sturt Street Ballarat and will be exhibited from August 28 until October 24, 2021, with everyone welcome to attend.

For more informatio­n on Toni or her pieces for the Ballarat Foto Biennale, visit https://toniharris­photograph­y.myportfoli­o.com/ or https://ballaratfo­to.org/events/toniharris.

You can also follow Toni on Instagram @toni.harris.984786 or Facebook toni.harris.984786.

 ??  ?? ◆ BUBBLE MAN: Toni took this photo in Istanbul, Turkey and it is her ‘hero shot’ for the exhibition in Ballarat.
◆ BUBBLE MAN: Toni took this photo in Istanbul, Turkey and it is her ‘hero shot’ for the exhibition in Ballarat.
 ??  ?? ◆ HAIRY PANIC: Toni’s winning entry in the Rutherglen Art Prize 2021 was purchased by the owner of The Other Place Cafe in Rutherglen and now hangs on display.
◆ HAIRY PANIC: Toni’s winning entry in the Rutherglen Art Prize 2021 was purchased by the owner of The Other Place Cafe in Rutherglen and now hangs on display.

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