Tamara Dean is a critically acclaimed photo media artist working in photography, installation and moving image. Dean’s practice explores the relationship between humans and the environment.
Solo shows include High Jinks in the Hydrangeas 2021, Endangered 2018 & 2019, In Our Nature 2018, Instinctual 2017, Force of Nature Ballarat 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 was a selected artist for the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art with her photographic series In Our Nature and Stream of Consciousness (SOC) installation and was the recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts grant to assist in the creation of her SOC installation.
Dean’s experiential installations and use of moving image have been exciting conceptual developments in her practice and reflect contemporary photography’s emergent and expanding fields.
In 2013 Dean was selected for the ArtOmi International Artists Residency in Upstate New York. Works produced during this residency won first prize in the 2013 New York Photo Awards – Fine Art series category.
Dean has received numerous awards and notable achievements including – winner of the 2020 Goulburn Art Award, winner of the 2019 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, winner of the 2018 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award and winner of the 2018 Meroogal Women’s Art prize.
Finalist (two works) – 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London; High commendation – 2013 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize; Winner – 2011 Olive Cotton Award and Winner – 2009 Sydney Life: Art & About.
Dean’s works have featured in the Sydney Contemporary 2021, 2019, 2017, 2015; Pingyao Photography Festival, China 2019, 2018, 2012; Denfair Melbourne 2017, FotoLeggendo Rome 2017, 2013; Auckland Art Fair 2019, 2018, 2016; ‘602’ Art Fair Melbourne 2016; Melbourne Art Fair 2018 & 2014; Hampton Art Fair NY 2014; Delhi Photo Festival India 2013 ; Fotofever Brussels Art Fair 2012.
Her work is held in notable collections including the National Gallery of Australia Collection, Canberra ACT; Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra ACT, Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, The Mordant Family Collection, Neil Balnaves Collection, Francis J. Greenburger Collection NYC, Tweed River Gallery, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Macquarie University Art Gallery, Newcastle Art Gallery
Dean was a member of the Australian photographic collective ‘Oculi’ from 2001-2011; Sydney Morning Herald staff photographer 2001 – 2014; and was represented in Europe by Agence Vu, Paris for over a decade.
The Impression on GFX100S
As a photographic artist often working with models outdoors in the landscape in low light situations, I have been on the hunt for a large-format digital camera which can go above and beyond in these kinds of conditions.
The Fujifilm large-format GFX100 range of cameras, in particular the GFX100S has been a revelation of a camera for me.
The very first test shoot I did with a large-format Fujifilm GFX100 camera involved me following three jubilant, energetic young brothers running around their property through fields of corn. I was trying to catch them engaged in the moment, immersed in their environment.
For the past decade I have worked with another camera system, a heavy medium-format camera which would have had to be anchored on a tripod and I would have clumsily, slowly followed them from location to location, asking them to stop, let me catch up, frame up on the tripod and pose for me. The moment I was wanting to capture often having long gone.
With the GFX100 I was able to confidently set the camera at an ISO of 1600 + without losing image quality, allowing me to shoot hand-held in the fading light of day, and so have a much more fluid and responsive approach to my shoot.
I can confidently say that if I wasn’t using this camera, and most specifically the ability to hand hold it in low light, this photograph wouldn’t exist. I would just not have had the ability to keep up with the boys and respond intuitively to the shoot by have the camera off tripod. And if there is a camera that can enable me to capture photographs that I would otherwise have missed, that’s the camera for me.
One of these photographs from this first test shoot has ended up on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra as a finalist in the 2020 National Photographic Portrait Prize. A testament to how intuitive the camera is to work with and how quickly I was able to adapt to the system, using it for the first time.
Over the past two decades of working as a professional photographer I’ve had experience shooting with many of the major camera brands. There has always been a limitation or drawback for me with each of the systems. I am very happy to say that the Fujifilm GFX100S is exactly what I have been looking for in a camera.
I’ll mention a few of the qualities which I particularly value for the work I do…
After almost two decades of shooting medium format cameras, both film and digital, and having had to manage the significant weight of the cameras and lenses, the GFX100S is a welcome change for me. The lightness and compact nature of the body frees me up and means I can take the camera along with me to places I would not have considered before.
Much of my work is shot out in the landscape and every bit of extra weight has a significant impact on my ability to move quickly and to traverse areas of difficult terrain. For years I have had to pack my medium format camera and lenses into a large bag before heading out, so to be able to throw a camera over my shoulder and set off with camera at the ready is incredibly liberating.
As an exhibiting artist, the end point for my photographs is ultimately as large-scale prints on the gallery wall. The more than full frame, 102 megapixel sensor means I can confidently shoot with the knowledge that I can print at a large scale, retaining beautiful, fine image quality when viewed as a large scale print.
As I am often working in changing light at the end of the day, into dusk and then into the darkness of nightfall, the dynamic range in the camera files is hugely beneficial for me. It means I am able to pull out information in the shadows if I haven’t noticed the fading light and have accidentally under-exposed and pull back detail into highlight areas I may have over exposed along the way.
Knowing that there is some latitude takes the stress away from having to be certain my exposure is spot on in changing light conditions, and knowing that I am able to even out different levels of light happening within the scene in post-production because the file retains so much detail in the shadows and highlights.
Other features that are stand out for me include the auto focus which is fast, sharp and reliable, even when following a moving subject. In my work I need to rely on auto focus more than ever, and the ability to have confidence in the cameras ability to lock on focus in a moving scene has a huge benefit for my work. There is nothing more frustrating than having a scene perfectly composed and then finding the focus has locked on in the wrong part of the image.
I also love the feature of being able to transfer direct from my camera to my iphone and utilise this when I want to move images quickly.
In finishing up, the GFX100S is an intuitive, high quality digital camera. I am thrilled with the way it has been able to open up more opportunities for photographs in my shoots that I otherwise would have missed with a less flexible camera system. I am really enjoying shooting with this camera and recommend it to anyone who wants optimum image quality for fine art printing. It is a very adaptable and reliable camera for both in the studio and out in the landscape.