Sydney-based photographer Tamara Dean explores “the contemporary quest for purpose” through her photos of youths in nature. She captures images of young men and women, boys and girls, uniting in natural Australian landscapes and taking part in activities that were once ritualistic. It is their attempt to find a spiritual and physical connection to the world and ultimately discover a sense of themselves.
The photographer says, “Ritualism delves into the shared desire to understand our existence and our mortality, the purpose ritual holds in explaining moments of life, to mark them and imbue them with meaning.” She adds, “Ritual is a protocol, a guide, for that most fundamental of human needs: meaning. But when protocol loses meaning, snubbed out by the distractions of life, it is merely repetition. Baptism becomes bath, marriage a party with rings. And so on the Western world ambles, away from what was once the light, out into the secular unknown. One wonders, in this state, if bath can become baptism – if, on meditation, the mundane can take up meaning and repetition become ritual.”