From Sharne Wolff…
While the significant 1975 image Vale Street, is undeniably the work for which photographer Carol Jerrems is best known, the depth of the late artist’s practice is on show in Photographic Artist. In 1980 Jerrems, barely aged thirty, died from a rare illness and her archive of photographs was donated to the National Gallery of Australia. This show, on tour from the NGA, represents a broad ranging survey of Jerrems’ work although focuses on those that were signed and/or exhibited during Jerrems’ lifetime.
In the 1970s Jerrems was one of a new wave of photographers that included many women. Interested in the counter culture of the time, and honing in on an awareness of new freedoms enjoyed by young women in particular, Jerrems was eager to capture honest and candid moments. She began taking documentary photographs of her friends and then turned her lens on disadvantaged young people and marginalised Indigenous groups. Although the staging of Vale Street was a little more contrived, the chosen image was Jerrems’ pick of many others she took the same day. In a suburban setting, the intimate photograph shows Jerrems’ bare-breasted friend Catriona bathed in strong foreground light, as a pair of rebellious tattoed boys form a triangle composition and lend the picture its ambiguous and menacing edge.
Later in her career Jerrems shot images of Australian identities including Skyhooks band members, Red Symons and Shirley Strachan, actress Judy Morris and writer and commentator Anne Summers.
Until May 18
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula
Pic: CarolCarol Jerrems, Outback Press Melbourne 1974 left to right: Colin Talbot (writer), Alfred Milgrom (publisher), Morry Schwartz (entrepreneur, publisher, now publisher of The Monthly), Mark Gillespie (singer/songwriter)
gelatin silver photograph. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.