Tracey Moffatt is the most famous Australian photographer and film-maker. Born in Brisbane, she graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 1982. She directed documentaries and music videos till she became famous with her series of photographs Something more in 1989. Her works are shown in a lot of museums, including the Tate, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles or the National Gallery of Australia.
Something more is a series of six direct positive colour and three gelatin silver photographs. It tells the story of an Aboriginal girl -played by the artist- who wants ‘something more’ out of her life in the back-blocks. Looking for a new identity and a world of luxuary, the girl visits a place inhabited by rough people. She is eventually disappointed and she turns into a thief. After a sadistic lesbian relationship, she tries to escape the place, but she dies on the road. Using the style of a set of stills and the technique of staged photography, the series deals with sexual slavery, domination and exploitation of the natives.
Since 1989, Tracey Moffatt has also published a lot of other series, including Up in the Sky (1997), Fourth (2001), the Adventure Series (2004) or more recently, the First Jobs series (2008), where she describes her ‘dreadful’ student jobs. In 2007, she received the Infinity Award for Art by the Center of Photography in New-York, which honours artists with a distinguished career.
Tracey Moffatt has also shot short films and experimental videos. Her short movie Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy was selected for the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of a middle-aged Aboriginal woman, isolated in rural Australia and nursing her old white mother. Frustrated by her sense of duty, the woman will eventually feel lost when her mother dies.
Her first feature film, beDevil, was also selected for Cannes in 1993. The plot consists of three ghost stories in which the Aboriginal and Anglo-Celtic characters are haunted by the past and bewitched by memories. Dealing with racial stereotypes in Australian rural society, Tracey Moffatt also shows us how native and non-indigenous people understand and live with each other.
Next to Night Cries and beDevil, which were internationally acclaimed, the artist also made Heaven, a movie dealing with surf, sex roles and voyeurism, as well as a few politically committed films, including LIP and Other.