Homeward: Ballarat

Ballarat is a moderately sized regional centre in country Victoria, about 100kms from Melbourne. Since moving to Melbourne I try to make it back as often as I can to explore the town I grew up in.

This photo series covers the sights, nooks, crannies and hot spots that make up this oddball heritage listing obsessed town. There’s some street, some urban, some documentary and landscape shots in an effort to give you a glimpse of Ballarat from my point of view. I’ll be covering not necessarily the must see sights, but try to give you a view of Ballarat from the perspective of someone who grew up there.

And now, some history!

Ballarat was once a gold obsessed town and as such grew in both wealth and size in the early 1850s. It celebrates this history and heritage almost religiously, most of the houses are old and the main street has barely changed since it was a dirt road. However, the gold dried up in the late 1890s which saw the town slowly converted to a small manufacturing hub with a few key players. But, as Australian labour costs increase into it the 2000s key players exited the market and off shored their workforce. Forcing Ballarat to kind of dry up with it, which is interesting to see a town in transition but unable to so due to its strong community focus on heritage and history.

This series has been shot on a combination of digital and film and is not yet complete, it will be an ongoing piece for some time. So far, I have shot film using the brilliant Contax G2 with the often bashed online G Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm zoom lens loaded with Fujifilm Superia XTRA 400. Can’t hate this setup!

In the digital space, I have so far only used my forever trusty and silent Ricoh GR, the first APS-C version because Ricoh haven’t given me a good reason to upgrade it. The GR digital is just such a strong performer; simply think, point, shoot and get decent results. The files were shot raw as the little Ricoh shoots native DNGs. To process them, I downloaded a dodgy Superia 400 preset off some random website. Some of the files were similarly edited with a black and white preset I developed while shooting digital with my M9 about a year ago.

I’ve gone ahead and mixed up the results, can you pick the difference?

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