Australian photographer, Tracey Moffatt makes varied work, where technique and style vary to fit and expound her themes. The first photo work of her series Something More embodies the ideas and narrative of the series which uses the style and approach of a B movie to tell the story of despair of an outback girl leaving her rural home in Northern Australia to search for a better life and ending in racist violence. The backgrounds and styling may be fabricated and somewhat cliche but the desperation and loneliness creep through the powerfully composed works.
Moffat’s up in sky series from 1997 is set in the archetypical Australian Outback and depicts unsettling scenes with a strong hint of actual or impending violence which actualise the racial tensions and divisions that lie within her vision of this landscape.
Moffatt’s work is only part autobiographical, as an aboriginal woman brought up by adoptive white parents, identity is obviously key. In her series scarred for life (1994), Moffat re-enacted events and stories from childhood told to her by her friends. The scenes depicted are domestic, at first trivial, suburban, but the large images and bold titles (controlled by Moffat at the bottom of the image) soon draw out the humiliation of childhood and the racism implied.
The following 3 from the Laudanum series by Tracey Moffatt, which is an elaborate recreation of a faux erotic thriller through a series of images that appear to depict the humiliation and gothic erotic torture of an apparently Asian maid by a Victorian lady. This is heavily styled, using all the qualities of original photographic processes, lighting and early horror film make up in the style of Nosferatu the 1921 film, to create on one level, a critique of colonial enslavement, on another an erotic lesbian fantasy.
Blair, F (2009) Twelve Australian Photo Artists, Sydney: Piper Press.