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1023 Havelock Street,
Beautiful Ballarat is dedicated to the historical significance and natural beauty of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. All merchandise has been photographed by Ballarat resident, Steve Barnes; is printed in or close to Ballarat and supports the prosperity of our local businesses.
When we came back down from Brisbane five years ago, Ballarat was growing and in many ways prospering. Local shops were by and large successful businesses, with many local owners, and the traffic in the city centre was symptomatic of a healthy city. Times have changed. The CBD is now gutted. Sadly, it is many of the locally owned businesses that have closed. It seems multi-nationals and chain stores have survived best.
I’ve run my own business for most of the past thirty years. I know what it is like when things get tough. When the dotCom crash came, I had to let go staff and find work with a large corporate. When the GFC hit, I had a business called ‘Business Geeks’ situated on a major arterial road just a few kms from the Brisbane CBD. People would look at my shop window and call me. When the GFC hit it was like turning a tap off. I had to let go of staff, close the business and work from home.
When COVID hit, I was just starting to release prints under Steve Barnes Photography Services . I couldn’t pursue that. COVID also cut short my work in Bridge Mall Ballarat with the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. Bridge Mall Ballarat had approached Fiona Sweet at the Foto Biennale, asking for an activity to bring a bit of life to the mall. Fiona called me as I run Four Foot Fotos Ballarat , and we put together ‘Furry Fotos’ , doing dog photography on Fridays and Saturdays for a season. It was fun and I met some lovely people and gorgeous dogs. It was going well until… COVID. It was again like turning a tap off, but much worse this time.
Our city has been devastated by the impact of COVID and lockdowns, but summer is coming and there seems to be some hope in the world.
I’ve branded Beautiful Ballarat because I want to remind people how beautiful our city is and we still live in a land with some opportunity! I’m hoping Beautiful Ballarat will inspire local people to have a go. I’ve put a lot of effort into it, and the benefit stays in Ballarat. It’s photographed by a local, designed by Ballarat Business Media, printed in Ballarat and all the marketing and distribution will employ local people. How big it grows is up to the people of Ballarat, but I can tell you, having worked as an Economic Recovery Coordinator, that the trickle down effect of something like this is the sort of thing that provides local jobs AND not just now, but hopefully for our children. That why ‘Beautiful Ballarat’. This is bigger than me: it’s about our community.
My passion is to create beautiful artwork that will hang in people’s homes; both because I see something I want to capture and print; or because someone has a definite need like a personal portrait or wedding.
My approach to any kind of portraiture, be it personal or corporate portraits; public events or weddings; is to look for the personality and character and draw it out. I want people to say “Wow, that’s really you! What an awesome photo!” when they see a portrait.
Landscape and floral photography is a real love affair for me. I’m always looking deeply at scenery, looking for a story to tell, wanting the scene to speak to me as if to say “Wait another hour” or “Look at me from over here”. I really soak when I’m doing this kind of photography, and I’m privileged to have my work hanging in people’s homes.
1023 Havelock Street,