Art at Home | Photography and the Environment

  • In the first feature of our Art at Home series, we explore environmental art photography through the lens of eight pre-eminent photographers.

    Eco-photography — a genre that brings together photography and the environment – through self-expression, rather than a superficial depiction, invites the meditative state of nature indoors. In this feature, we profile eight artists who manipulate the landscape to construct an image, from positioning models, playing with colour to emphasising scale and perspective.

    Tamara Dean

    The landscape is integral to Tamara Dean’s photography, based on Sydney’s South Coast. Passionate about protecting the environment, her works reframe humans as ‘Endangered’ species, immersed in rich, green foliage scenes or the depths of the ocean.

    Tamara Dean’s photography highlights the fragility of life and renders the landscape into poetic and reflective pieces of art. Dark, moody shots are juxtaposed with light — a mirage of optical allusion as the viewer is asked to question what they see.

    Daniel Reiter

    Munich-based photographer Daniel Reiter invites his viewers to the beauty of cloudy mountain peaks and rolling ocean waves in ‘Herkules’ and ‘Bergwellen’. The atmospheric photography neutralises nature’s extremes into a ‘sensual approach’ that invites feelings of freedom.

    Using a palette of vivid blues, Daniel Reiter photography captures, either for the former, huge waves off the Moroccan coast combining the tranquillity and thunderous energy of the Atlantic. Or for the latter (meaning mountain waves in English), the intersection of soft clouds meeting the harsh Harz Mountains in Germany – captured from a single-engine Cessna.

    Daniel Reiter, ‘Bergwellen IV’ from the ‘Bergwellen’ series, 2019-20

    Trevor Mein

    Melbourne-based architectural photographer Trevor Mein turns to the environment for his ‘Stratosphere’ series. Capturing the luminosity of clouds in dreamy, ethereal scenes, Trevor Mein depicts the ephemeral nature of the sky. The photographer grew up on a sheep farm in central Victoria, attuned to the shifts in weather — watching the infinite horizon.

    Reflecting on the collection, Trevor Mein says, “Colour planes and tonal shifts have become the subject, and I’m hopeful that the viewer will experience something that exceeds the boundaries of the purely aesthetic.”

    Kate Ballis

    Playing with colour and perception, Melbourne-based photographer Kate Ballis explores otherworldly places in nature. In her ‘Glace Noir’ series, the photographer is drawn to composition, using the Hollywood ‘day for night’ technique — capturing the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina in dramatic aesthetics with dark, inky tones.

    In ‘Narcissus’, a pool of water glistens in the light, reflecting the night’s glimmering sky, each star a dazzling drop to draw us in further. The series reveals the mystery of nature and artistic expression as Kate Ballis sets out to capture these magical moments.

    Andrew Vukosav

    Award-winning commercial fashion photographer Andrew Vukosav takes a novel journey into art photography with his collection, ‘Longitude Latitude Solitude’, comprising of aerial views of Australia. Flying above, on lone flights in his Cessna 182 plane affectionately known as Valerie, Andrew Vukosav abstracts the landscape in his work.

    In the ‘Rivers’ series, aqua blue cuts through the image as meandering outshoots explore the scene. Cropping and curating the image, selecting colour and form, Vukosav connects art and the environment for photography with personal expression.

    Brooke Holm

    Known for her dreamy depiction of interiors and architecture, Brooke Holm turns to the landscape for her collection ‘Salt & Sky’. Based in New York, this Australian-American photographer examines the relationship between humans and the natural environment as she invites the viewer to unseen perspectives.

    Shot from above, ‘Salt & Sky’ captures the salt fields of UNESCO Heritage site, Shark Bay, Western Australia. These graphic compositions hint towards painterly textures in pinks, oranges and blues, blurring between the real and imagined.

    Mark Tipple

    Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Mark Tipple – a notable marine documentary photographer working in social change around the globe – also draws on artistic sensibilities for his art photography.

    Often shot on the journey to ‘nowhere’, Tipple explores freedom in his van on the Australian roads or the ocean’s siren call. Verging on fantasy in deep, reflective colour palettes, the works offer abstracted views of nature, playing with composition and perspective, asking the audience what they see.

    Derek Swalwell

    Known for his architectural photography oeuvre, Melbourne-based photographer Derek Swalwell takes this pursuit to higher grounds as he captures the intersection of nature and the built environment.

    In his series, ‘Outdistance’ — shot on location in Tomba Brion, Treviso Italy 2018— vivid green tendrils drape over architect Carlo Scarpa’s ageing concrete. Derek Swalwell reveals the natural world’s ability to re-immerse itself; the results are artworks that balance light, colour, and texture.

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