Emerging from the depths of nature Tamara Dean’s practice examines the human condition. Leave only footprints is the first survey of the critically acclaimed photo media artist and spans more than 20 years of her photographic practice. This immersive exhibition incorporates scent, photography, installation and the moving image to create an environment that engages the senses.
Dean’s career began as a photojournalist for The Sydney Morning Herald (2001–14). She was renowned for finding the quieter, more introspective moments between subject and photographer. Her exploration of our shifting emotional states continues to evolve and these themes now occupy her large-scale performative photographic practice.
‘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.’ — Tamara Dean
Dean’s practice transitioned from documentary to conceptual photography after the arrival of her first child. It transformed her practice into one that explores the primacy of nature and our connectedness to it and to each other. Leave only footprints spans over 11 key bodies of work that explore transitional moments in our lives; rites of passage, rituals and motherhood, and is underpinned by the artist’s longing and desire to be within and to protect nature.
Curator: Anouska Phizacklea, MGA Director
Night garden 2020
from the series High jinks in the hydrangeas
pigment ink-jet print
75.0 x 100.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated by Tamara Dean 2022
courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid Gallery (Sydney + Berlin)
The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.