Born 1976 Sydney, Australia.
Dean began studying at the College of Fine Arts before graduating from the University of Western Sydney with a BA in Design.
From 2002-2012 Dean was a member of 'Oculi' photographic collective and since 2001 has worked as a photographer for the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
Dean's work is represented by 'Tim Olsen Gallery' Sydney and 'James Makin Gallery' Melbourne.
Dean’s works delve into themes of ritual, intimacy and decay set within the contemporary Australian landscape. Her beginnings were in the ephemeral yet intimate portrayal of her immediate youth documenting her relationships living on the cultural fringe and her transient lifestyle. Later her documentary work would delve deeper into subcultures, social rituals and portraiture which continue to inform on-going themes in her evolving photographic practice.
Dean solo shows include ‘Ritualism’ 2009, 'Divine Rites' 2009, ‘This too Shall Pass’ 2010 and ‘Only Human’ 2011 & 2012.
Dean’s 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' 2009 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 Photojournalism’, Museum 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.
Dean’s work is held in a number of public and private collections including work acquired by ‘Artbank’ from her series ‘Only Human’.
Set within the Australian landscape, Tamara Dean explores what it is to be human – our fragility and vulnerability, and our intrinsic connection to the natural world.
Dean’s powerful photographs explore a mysterious realm where ritual, intimacy and femininity are portrayed and with an almost pagan sensibility, that draws on the elemental forces of nature for inspiration.
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...
These are personal images: friends, sisters, myself. People I have watched become women. They are what I have seen in that change. They are new expressions, the confidence of gestures, the hesitation in revealing, feet arranged by nervousness. The nudity is inconsequential, the sensuality portrayed in such sentiments as the wisps of finger, hung in the air like cigarette smoke.
Womanhood is a certainty of time, and yet it is racked by the unsure, by the desperation of impatience. These women turn in the shadows of adolescence, this period invested with untold meaning, a soap opera of darkness and tribulation.
There is sexuality but not sex. The discovery is pent up in a zone of...
Ritual is a protocol, a guide, for that most fundamental of human needs: meaning. But when protocol loses meaning, snubbed out by the distractions of life, it is merely repetition. Baptism becomes bath, marriage a party with rings. And so on the Western world ambles, away from what was once the light, out into the secular unknown.
One wonders, in this state, if bath can become baptism - if, on meditation, the mundane can take up meaning and repetition become ritual. This is the margin I seek to explore: the contemporary quest for purpose, rite in the Australian landscape.
My own Jewish upbringing was imbued with religious traditions. All steeped in ritual, stacked with...
These photographs were taken in a purpose built photographic booth as part of an artistic installation within 'Mekarnivale', Mekanarky's annual masquerade ball in 2005. Mekanarky (2002-2008) were Sydney's pre-eminant anarchist art collective. Numbering between 20 and 30 artists, they inhabited a large disused ice-cream factory in the suburb of Turrella, Sydney. This series of portraits are an extract from a collaborative seven hour portrait session by Dean Sewell and Tamara Dean during the course of the ball.
The photographs in my ‘motherhood’ series depict the fairly mundane, sometimes wonderful and often unglamorous day-to-day events in the routine of mothers with their children.
In portraying these moments I hope to demystify the ideal of the ‘perfect mother’ and to offer a window into the very real moments in people’s lives, to show that motherhood, whilst very rewarding is also very tiring and personally challenging.