Photomedia artist Tamara Dean has been awarded the 2019 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (MCPP) for her mesmerising underwater photograph, Endangered (2018), which is one of a series of photographs inspired by The Great Barrier Reef. Dean’s practice explores the relationship between humans and the natural world.
The MCPP promotes Australian photography and excellence in all forms of still, photo-based works including analogue and digital photography or staged and directorial photomedia creations. Photographers are invited to tell a story of how they experience living in Australia; the people, places and lifestyles that make it Australian.
Dean’s winning entry was selected from over 3,000 submissions this year, judged by international photographer and curator Cheryl Newman, international photojournalist and photo editor Jon Jones with Australian photographer, artist and filmmaker Stephen Dupont.
Newman says Dean’s work ‘is a personal response to the politics of climate change using a contemporary photographic language. This symbolic image addresses the fragility of our planet and the vulnerability of its inhabitants. Endangered is an important picture; its message is challenging, its presentation poetic.’
With issues around climate change at centre stage Dean says ‘The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living marine structure, is finding little reprieve from more intense and frequent marine heatwaves brought on by climate change that causes devastating bleaching. Biologists predict that if we continue carrying on the way we are then by the end of this century 50% of species living today will face extinction. And humans are not immune. To see ourselves as different and separate to the ecology and ecosystem of our planet is leaving humanity unprepared. We are mammals in a sensitive ecosystem, vulnerable to the same forces of climate change as every other living creature.’
The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000: Sam Harris, Gary Ramage, Emma Phillips, Tagette O’Halloran, Max Howe, Brian Cassey, Adam Ferguson, Jason Thomas, Isabella Kerstens, Michele Aboud, Mark Raffety, Sarah Rhodes, Nathan Stolz, Liz Ham, Sean Izzard, James Brickwood, Nicholas Moir, Anna Marie Antoinette D’Addario, Matthew Abbott, Aletheia Casey, Sam Ferris and Cassie Sullivan.
The awards include a selection of Student Winners who have also been announced. They are Jetson Buhlmann for Waiting for Sunrise (Year 7-8), Mathias Decker for Fish People (Year 9-10), and Anousha Cavalier for Alice Springs Dance Floor (Year 11-12).
The Moran Contemporary Photographic Exhibition is on at Juniper Hall in Paddington, Sydney from Thursday to Sunday between 10am and 4pm until Sunday 2 June 2019.