Lee Grant, is an award-winning documentary and portrait photographer based in Canberra, Australia.
She is best-known for her exploration of migrant identity against the backdrop of Australian suburbia and is interested in the ways cultural and social representations of identity are expressed in every day community life.
Since 2005, Lee has exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney), the Monash Gallery of Art (Melbourne), the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra) and the Queensland Centre for Photography (Brisbane) amongst others. She has twice been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, the Head On Alternative Portrait Prize, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Prize, Critical Mass 09 as well as Sony/ACMP’s Projections (which she won).
In 2010, Lee was awarded the prestigious Bowness Photography Prize. A selection of her work was recently published in the Big City Press monograph Hijacked Volume 2: Australia and Germany and has featured in numerous online magazines and blogs. Lee’s work is held in the National Library of Australia, the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery as well as numerous private collections.
Lee is currently working on projects in Australia and Korea. She joined Oculi in 2012.
Decades ago, the ubiquitous Asian restaurant in suburban Australia developed a reputation for being an exotic ‘family night out’. Since then, menus and cooking styles have been adapted to suit local tastes and local produce giving rise to the vernacular ‘chop suey’ cuisine.
The photographs in this ongoing series, record just some of the unique décor, interiors, patrons and restaurateurs of these suburban diners, many of which are disappearing through re-development ventures. Integral to the story of suburban and regional Australia, they remain beacons of cultural and culinary comfort.
“Belco’s a hole…. but it’s our hole”
I’ve been told that you never truly leave behind the place you grew up. That it remains deep within your experience of the world. Feeling conflicted about one’s place of origin is certainly not unique, but for me, the process of returning ‘home’ and reconciling my perception of place with its banal and vernacular reality was a surprising yet cathartic experience.
The photographs in this series express the idea that belonging, connection and identity is deeply rooted in the specifics of one’s inhabited landscape. The landscape depicted here being the 25 northernmost suburbs of Canberra known as Belconnen, or to us locals, as ‘Belco’.
Australian, Sudanese Portraits from Suburbia (2010)
I started working on this project about the Sudanese diaspora in Australia after photographing a family for another project set in the suburbs. According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Sudanese community is currently one of the fastest growing groups in Australia.
In the last few years many Sudanese migrants have moved into the area where I live and I’ve watched their integration into our (largely Anglo) community with interest.
After making my first portrait of a family who’d been in Australia for 4 years, I suddenly had many other families asking me to make portraits of them too. Throughout the process of photographing, I heard many stories as to how and...
These photographs were made on a road trip with my Dad back to his hometown of Barraba in North-Western NSW.
"Kuvera" is the name of the property my grandfather owned back in the 1930s-40s and I was keen to revisit the house with him. One of eight kids Dad left home at 16 to join the military and only returned with us kids in tow for summer holidays with Gran.
Barraba, a once prosperous asbestos mining town, boasted numerous pubs, the four major banks and a post-office, even a movie theatre. In the early 80s, the Canadian mining company went bankrupt and abandoned the place, leaving behind the mess of an open-cut mine and a wounded landscape. The locals worry about the fallout of...