David Tatnall

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David Tatnall
Melbourne, Australia

David Tatnall (born 1955)[1] is a Melbourne photographer, known for his representation of the natural landscape.[2] Tatnall began his career as an artistic photographer in 1975. He works with both large format and pinhole camera techniques.[2] His work is in the same tradition as Peter Dombrovskis and Olegas Truchanas - in the past, Tatnall has worked with Dombrovskis.[3]

"I tend to go with no preconceived idea of what I'm going to photograph, other than I'm going to this particular location and I'll see what's there. I go mainly to experience the location, to experience the wilderness area, to actually go there on a walking trip and I take my camera. If I see things to make photographs, I'll stop and make photographs."[3]

Selected works[edit]

His works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria,[1] State Library of Victoria[4] and the Australian Embassy, Washington USA.[5]

The Monash Gallery of Art holds a famous 1986 work, 'Forest, Crows Foot Track, Rodger River, East Gippsland, Victoria'.[6] In 2014, Tatnall explained how the work was made and its subsequent impact.[7]

"On this ten-day trip I returned with twelve negatives; Forest at Crows Foot Track was the finest."[7]


Tatnall has been awarded a Life Time Contribution Award by Parks Victoria, and an Honorary Life Membership of the Victorian National Parks Association for his lasting influence on nature conservation in Victoria through photography.[8]

His photographs have become emblems of successful Australian nature conservation battles.[3][5]

Projects and activities[edit]

  • ‘Land Bridge’: a series of photographs of the Victoria coast, Bass Strait Islands and Tasmania. [9]
  • ‘Woodlands’: a series of photographs of ‘ordinary’ bush (hard to photograph non-iconic or monotonous landscape). [9]
  • A close association with the Merri Creek. Tatnall has had three solo exhibitions based on Merri Creek photographs over the past 30 years. [9]
  • Artist in Residence at the Alpine School Campus [10] and the Snowy River Campus,[11] School for Student Leadership. The School for Student Leadership is a Victorian government Department of Education and Training (DET) initiative. Over a twenty-year period, Tatnall estimates that he taught around 6000 students film photography. [9]
  • Workshops in large format photography, pinhole photography and landscape photography at the Gold Street Studios.[5]
  • The Last Summer: A series of large format photographs made of Royal Park, Melbourne in the summer of 2013 - 2014. At that time the park was threatened by the planned construction of a major new freeway, the East West Link.[12]
  • Melbourne: Pinhole: A series of photographs of Melbourne, Australia made on an 8 x 10 pinhole camera. Funded by the Melbourne City Council.

Selected exhibitions[edit]


  • Wild places of greater Melbourne , Robin Taylor (text); Richard Weatherly (illustrations); David Tatnall (photographs) and others, 1999, CSIRO Publishing, ISBN 9780957747104.
  • Tracks through time: the Narracan walks book, John Wells (text); David Tatnall (photographs), 1988, Narracan Bicentennial Walks Book Committee.