“I was born in a beachside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. On leaving school I went to an art college with the vision of becoming a painter… Somehow I ended up with a camera, instead of a paintbrush, in my hand.
“After graduating with a degree in Visual Arts in 1990, I began working for the Adelaide Advertiser. I left Australia in 1995 and travelled extensively, working in England for numerous UK national newspapers as well as being the principal photographer for Australia’s News Limited London bureau.
“I returned home in 1998, and currently work as a staff photographer at the Sydney Morning Herald. Last year the book ‘The Seventh Wave’, on which I collaborated with Trent Parke, was published. This book of surreal black and white photographs documents Australian beach culture from under the waves.
“Arriving back in Australia proved to be an awakening for me. It is true what they say: you don’t miss what you have until you lose it. I realized there was so much here to photograph. Things I had grown up with, that I knew about and loved: all things that I had taken for granted. The only inspiration I needed was this country and the ability to see it with new eyes.”
Now based in Sydney, Narelle is a founding member of Oculi, an independent, collective photographic agency.
In 2001, Narelle and Trent Parke’s book “The Seventh Wave” came second in the American Pictures of the Year competition for best photography books. There was also a sell-out exhibition of the work at the Stills Gallery in Sydney.
In 2002, Narelle won a 1st Prize World Press Photo Award in arts, for The School of Dance, and in 2000 a 1st Prize World Press Photo Award in nature and environment for a series on Australian Road Kill. In 2001, Narelle was a runner-up in the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for The Seventh Wave series. She won The Walkley Award for excellence in journalism in 2000.
Narelle was selected to exhibit her work in the Leica/ccp documentary touring exhibition in 1999 with The Seventh Wave, and in 2001 with a View From The Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 2001 she was one of three photographers selected in the Australian Art Collectors Magazine as one of the 50 most collectable Australian artists.