When her daughter was born 13-years-ago, Tamara Dean knew her career path had to change.
The Shoalhaven resident had been working for many years as a full-time photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald.
With the arrival of her daughter, soon followed by her son, and a change in direction for the Herald, she stepped out of the role and threw herself into the art practice she had started.
Ms Dean said the change of pace meant she could juggle motherhood and 'bring her artwork to life in a more tangible way.'
In the ensuing decade she's built up a name for herself in the photography world and has been invited to share her professional and personal journey at Aperture Australia this month, the Southern Hemisphere's largest photography conference.
She will join five other industry professionals, including TV journalist and avid photographer Ray Martin, in talking about their work and the realities of the profession.
Ms Dean will share her photographic series, Endangered, which stems from her deep concerns for the environment.
She shot the images last year after being invited to visit the Heron Island Research Station off the Queensland coast to learn about the effects of climate change.
Ms Dean used volunteers from Heron Island and scientists for the series.
"Most of them are underwater and the idea of using nude human figures to have a similar aesthetic to a school of fish is to make the connection in people's mind that we're creatures in a living ecosystem," she said.
"If we see ourselves as separate, it's at our own peril."
The notion of humans as being as vulnerable to the same forces of climate change as every other living creature - the difference being that the power and responsibility lies with us - underpins the series.
Ms Dean is represented by Martin Browne Contemporary, where the exhibition will open on July 25.
After honing her craft for more than a decade, Ms Dean said she's fortunate that opportunities are continuing to open up for her.
"I'm lucky to be in a position now that my work is relatively known so things like the chance to go to Heron Island came up without me even pursuing it," she said.
"It's (photography) still a male dominated field but all the phone calls and opportunities that have come my way have been from women which is really encouraging to see."
Like many parents, Ms Dean has walked the delicate path between career aspirations and raising a young family.
"Having to balance caring as a mother and what needs to go into that with my professional aspirations and demands is certainly a more difficult aspect," she said.
"But my kids are now 12 and 13 and time is starting to open up a little more now so it's quite an exciting stage."
Aperture Australia will return to Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC) in Darling Harbour on the weekend of 22-23 June.