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#Tamara : The Message (Melbourne )

“ I feel like I am holding onto my youth with every last finger. I don't want to 'grow up' and be an adult. I really hate the idea of partaking in some mind numbing job for the rest of my life. I just want to stay 21 forever and have fun with my friends and live in a fantasy world.”


The simplicity. It is a great quality in art, when the authenticity is so obvious that it is simply speaking: the authenticity of a beautiful and free youth who craves nothing but lightness and joy, who gets drunk with celebration and friendship, with a confident, bold and sexy look.


“Queerness holds no boundaries” Tamara says. And we want to believe in her and the breath of air of her pictures. There is something captivating about her work : it’s maybe the genuineness of her eyes, the spontaneousness of her pictures, but above all things, it is probably the power that the models possess.

Queerness is all about creativity and freedom for Tamara, and she experiences it without apologysing : she does not seek for any validation. Their independence is also their strength.


There is something enjoyable in this exploration of the subjects that make Tamara vibrate: both the people she loves, and in the themes: we feel her joy, love and sincerity that follows, so much that the spontaneity of the clichés is obvious.


“We need to celebrate this fluidity of identity in that people are more than ever allowed to be who they want to be, and feel what they want to feel.”


Tamara for Radio Loubard



Anna : Hi! We are so happy to have you here! Could you present yourself à little bit ?


Tamara: Hi ! So excited to be here! I am a 21 year old photographer living in Naarm (Melbourne) Australia. I shoot my friends on 35mm film whilst being immersed within both the queer and sex worker communities here in Melbourne. I also study Fine Arts at Melbourne University and will be graduating with my bachelor degree this year.


When did you start photography?


I can't remember the specific year but maybe when I was 15 and began partying, my dad gave me his point and shoot film camera from maybe the 80's-90's and I began shooting my friends at parties. The photos weren't very good and I actually would get them developed and then instead of scanned, they were all printed on photo paper so I just have boxes of these old shitty party photos stashed somewhere. It was just for fun.




Why is it important for you to visibilize a queer gaze/love ?


Because it has been repressed for so long. We need to celebrate this fluidity of identity in that people are more than ever allowed to be who they want to be, and feel what they want to feel. Queerness holds no boundaries. Obviously I can only speak from my own experiences, and through my own communities. I know for sure that I am so lucky to be in a safe space, as many queer people around the world still suffer everyday.


Your pictures are very warm, like you love the people that you shoot : do you majoritarily shoot your friends ?


I do love the people I shoot. I would say that I shoot more of a documentary style of photography in that I take photographs of authentic moments. I don't specifically aim to shoot my friends, but my friends love being in front of the camera so it just naturally happens. Someone once told me that when they look at my photographs they feel like they are experiencing my genuine point of view, which is true, but I guess I have a special connection between myself, the camera, and the person in front of the camera.


Is it important for you to relate or love in some ways the subjects who are shooting?


To some extent. Sometimes people just have a stunning outfit on and I want to capture it. Although, if I am shooting a sex worker I feel as though I can relate to them on a professional and personal level where other photographers cannot, so it is important for me to be on that same level as them. I also just love shooting my friends, it's fun getting the developed film photographs back and looking at them with them.


Who would you want to reach or move with your work?


I am trying to move to more 'Fine Arts' (whatever that means) types of photography as I have been getting in to darkroom printing and shooting more abstract, yet still queer focussed, explicit photographs. So ideally I would love to connect with more commercial types of bodies such as galleries, but in a queer sense I guess just anyone around the world who can appreciate what I photograph.




You have a lot of pics that are about pole dance :Why?


I think pole dancing is crazy. You don't understand how hard it is to do until you try it. I was a stripper for a while but I am currently on a break, I'm going to go back to it when I've finished my uni degree. I really love shooting pole dancing as I have so much respect for people who can gracefully execute it. I had a pole in my house for a while but some of my friends were fucking around and ripped it out of the roof, but I want to get back in to it soon.




What is sexyness to you?


It's definitely about being confident in your sense of self. Literally anyone can be sexy if they believe in it. It's all about your mindset. Honestly fake it til you make it, if you believe it everyone else will.


How do you want to portray it?


I just love to shoot photographs of people who love to pose for me. Everyone I photograph literally knows exactly how to make themselves look sexy in every photo. (also because all my friends are just sexy). But I just want to promote sex and sexuality, as it should be normalised. It is also a bit hard on Instagram as heaps of my photographs have been removed for not adhering to the guidelines.




What words would you use to describe your style? (3 words)


I am honestly struggling to think of specific words. I feel like my photographs are so dramatic for some reason. That's the only word I can think of, literally have a mind blank. I'd love to know how other people perceive my style though.


What do you believe in ?


I am a strong believer in backing your own art. So many people create work just to please other people, when art is totally subjective. I feel like if you can be sure of yourself no matter what anyone else says you will be successful. I am also really into being independant and doing my own thing, I don't fuck with peer pressure or just doing anything for validation. It took me years to get to this point where my sense of self is so strong, but it feels so good to have my own back no matter what. You can't rely on other people.


Your pics are not so spontaneous, more posed : why so? Do you prefer a set up or to catch a moment?


That's funny because I feel like they are so spontaneous. They are mostly taken in a club, at a rave in the park or a festival, so it is usually a fast paced environment and I have to quickly capture the moment. I guess as soon as people see me pull the camera out for some reason they just automatically pose, it's not planned. I'm actually quite bad at directing photographs, if I shoot for someone I tend to come with pre-prepared poses or reference photos to help me direct. I prefer more authentic candid photographs.



What is youth to you? And being in Melbourne as a young person?


I feel like I am holding onto my youth with every last finger. I don't want to 'grow up' and be an adult. I really hate the idea of partaking in some mind numbing job for the rest of my life. I just want to stay 21 forever and have fun with my friends and live in a fantasy world. I always hear older people saying they regret not having more fun when they were younger, or those like tik toks where older people say their one piece of advice is to stop caring about everything so much - i've been trying to take on that approach to life more recently.


Where is the queer community in Melbourne, what does it mean to you?


Where is it? It's hard to specifically state a location. You can't tell who is queer and who is not, it is so fluid. It's like I have a boyfriend and identify as a woman, so our relationship is straight passing, yet I'm queer. There's no specific factors that physically stand out when someone is queer, so I wouldn't be able to state where it is. And it just means I have a community of people that I can relate to and connect with who understand what it is like to think outside of the box.




How does your queerness influences your art?


It encourages me to push boundaries and create work that doesn't typically flow with what society wants to see. I'm excited to be working on some explicit work right now which I will potentially be presenting at the Melbourne University Fine Arts graduate show at the end of this year, as I want to produce work that makes people who conform to society's limitations uncomfortable. Queerness helps me execute my work in the way that I personally want to, as it allows me to feel comfortable within it's spectrum.


Do you have any artists to recommend to us?


I could go on forever and ever and ever but here is a list of some local artists that I LOVE!!:


- SJ (Gab Ber) - @publictoyle

  • nim - @nimdw

  • Jonty Knight - @jontyknight

  • Otto Crosby-Loder - @otto.crosby

  • Wackie Ju - @wackie.ju

  • Ja - @ja.kpm

  • Alex Fredriksson - @alexx.com.au

  • Ella Borg - @ella.borg

  • Jules Bramley - @julesbramley


Some music?


I mostly just listen to hyper pop soundcloud mixes on soundcloud. They can be a bit hectic but I literally will wake up and listen to them first thing in the morning. My fave artists/djs/producers are st4cey4101 and hellokatie. I also listen to a lot of podcasts, and even though it sounds cringe I listen to podcasts kind of about your own relationship to yourself and how we interact with other people and within society. They help ground me and remind me of who I am as a person and they also help me deepen my understanding of myself and allow me to see things in a new light. I mostly listen to a postcast guy called Mark Groves, pretty much every episode is good.


Anything else?


Not really! My only wish is to hope everything I'm saying makes sense as it's currently 3am and I have to wake up for uni in a few hours as I am so busy everyday this is the only time to do this interview! I am also so grateful to have been valued enough for you guys to take the time out of your day to interview me, so thank you!



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