Tracey Moffatt works in photography, film and video, addressing complex open-ended narratives, often in extensive suites of works. Moffatt frequently appears in her own images, acting out roles with the aid of elaborate costumes, props and theatrical staging.
The ‘First jobs’ series 2008 is a visual catalogue in high-key colours of Moffatt’s earliest paid employment during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The money she earned from these often gruelling or tedious jobs enabled her to travel overseas in 1979 and supported her through her subsequent studies at the Queensland College of Art. The artist has selected images from period sources and substituted a face in each photograph with her own cheerfully smiling one. The series evokes youthful expectations — she has written of that time: ‘I met a lot of interesting people whilst doing this daily grind. A lot were students with great careers ahead – I could see the stars in their eyes.’ Moffatt is now internationally successful, having realised dreams that she held while peeling pineapples, waiting on tables or packing meat.