Tamara Dean

WORKS 2009-2012

Urban decay in the last of my city’s wastelands, the places I explore, the last wild vestiges where there is space to roam. These pictures come from the hem of life. From a city broken down. Subjects un-grown-up. I feel as though I am conjuring something in these photographs. Finding in them the air and light. Waiting for energetic points to come to a head. Weighing the evening. Holding for breath. Pausing for space. The subjects are not swamped by the landscape, they are emboldened by it, drawing their energy from the elements… the wind, the animals, the moon, the sensation of bare feet on earth. From the places where nature is clawing back.

In this work I pay homage to the places I play, to find those last moments of the Orient.


TAMARA DEAN was born in 1976 Sydney, Australia. From 2002-2012 Dean was a member of the ‘Oculi’ photographic collective and since 2001 has worked as a photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). Dean’s work is represented by the Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney, James Makin Gallery in Melbourne and Charlet Photographies in Europe.

Dean has had three solo shows, Ritualism (2009), This too Shall Pass (2010) and Only Human (2011 and 2012). Her portrait Damien won the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture in 2011. ‘The Bride’, from Ritualism, won first prize in Sydney Life: Art and About and was highly commended in the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize the same year. Dean’s works have been exhibited at leading Australian galleries including Inheritance (2009) and Hijacked 2 – New Australian & German Photography (2010), both at the Australian Centre for Photography; Sydney Now – New Australian PhotojournalismMuseum of Sydney (2007); Stills South and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Dean’s art practice has seen her awarded artist residencies with Taronga Zoo, Sydney in 2010, Montsalvat artists colony in Victoria in 2010 and in the remote gold-mining town of Hill End, NSW in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Her work is held in a number of public and private collections including work recently acquired by Artbank from her series Only Human.