Australian photographer Tamara Dean talks about how she explores the relationship between humans and the natural world.
For as long as I can remember I have yearned to be in nature. When I enter a forest I feel as though I have come home. This deep love of nature informs my life and my art practice.
Fundamental to our existence is the truth that as living beings we exist within a fragile ecosystem. Yet this ecosystem – our Earth – is increasingly unbalanced as the intricate but often inimical relationship we have with nature has led to a world in which human beings have become the most destructive life forms on the planet.
My recent bodies of work – ‘In Our Nature’ and ‘Endangered’ are a symbolic reminder that we are neither separate nor superior to nature.
Biologists predict that if we continue carrying on the way we are then by the end of this century 50% of species living today will face extinction. And humans are not immune. To see ourselves as different and separate to the ecology and ecosystem of our planet is leaving humanity unprepared for the world we are currently destroying.
My new series ‘Endangered’ is a reframing of the notion of ourselves as human beings – mammals in a sensitive ecosystem, as vulnerable to the same forces of climate change as every other living creature. The difference being that the power and responsibility lies with us.
Tamara Dean has received numerous awards including 2018 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award, and 2018 Meroogal Art Prize. She has also been a finalist in 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London.
In 2013 Dean was selected for the ArtOmi International Artists Residency, New York. Works produced during this residency won first prize in the 2013 New York Photo Awards – Fine Art series category.
Her works have featured in the 2018 & 2014 Melbourne Art Fair, 2018, 2017 & 2015 Sydney Contemporary, 2017 Denfair Design Fair Melbourne, 2016 Auckland Art Fair, 2016 ‘602’ Art Fair, Melbourne, 2017 & 2013 Aspettando FotoLeggendo Festival, Italy; 2012 Fotofever Brussels Art Fair and 2012 Pingyao Photography Festival, China.
Solo shows include – In Our Nature 2018, Instinctual 2017, About Face 2016, Here-and-Now 2015, The Edge 2014, Only Human 2012, This too Shall Pass, 2010 , Ritualism and Divine Rites, 2009.
Dean’s work is held in a number of public and private collections including Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York; Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT, The Art Gallery of South Australia, The Mordant Family Collection, Australia; Artbank, Australia, the Balnaves Collection, Australia, and the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD.
Dean was a member of the Oculi photographic collective from 2001-2011 and has continued to have editorial representation with Agence Vu, Paris for over a decade.
Dean is represented by Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney and Jayne H Baum Gallery, NYC.