“From 2004 to 2012, I rented a dilapidated fibro house in Bangalow – a rapidly gentrifying town.
The house stood alone on the edge of town, bordered by sporting fields and a paddock. The yard was dark, heavily shielded by large old trees and shrubs. One community Easter Egg hunt map listed it as the Witch House.
We were of the town but separate from it. I was a single mother raising a neurodiverse family in poverty. Looking back, these images represent the margins we have lived in: on the edge of town, under the poverty line, and on the fringes of society.
The backyard that shielded our personal space and the empty spaces that separated us from the community were physical representations of our intangible differences.
But these are also poignant images of erasure. After we were pushed out by rising rent in 2012, this house was demolished, and the trees were felled. Two modern upmarket residences were built in its stead, as this too became gentrified.”
Margaret Dean is a neurodiverse photographer and vintage camera enthusiast, documenting her family life and personal experience of otherness.
She uses film photography to explore aspects of self-identity and belonging. These two themes have predominated her journey for self-knowledge as a late-diagnosed autistic woman.
Growing up as an outsider, Dean always had a different way of seeing the world. Having finally been diagnosed at age 54, she has spent the last few years intensely examining the experience of living half a century on the social periphery.
Now, she uses photography to describe a different way of being in the world.
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