Carol Jerrems (1949–1980) was born and grew up in suburban Melbourne and studied art and design under Paul Cox at the Prahran Technical School between 1967 and 1970. Having won a number of awards for her photographs, including an Institute of Australian Photographers Award in 1970, Jerrems trained as a teacher and worked at technical colleges in Melbourne and, later, Hobart.

Initially working in a photo-documentary style, by the middle of the decade she was known for her intimate portraits of friends, lovers and others occupying the progressive social and creative circles in which she moved. Works such as Vale Street (1975) and others are considered emblematic of seventies counter culture in Australia.

In 1979, Jerrems became ill with Budd Chiari Syndrome, a rare liver disease. She died in Melbourne in February 1980, a few weeks short of her 31st birthday. (⇒

Video: Carol Jerrems ‘(Vale Street)’ 1975 by National Gallery of Australia (Youtube)

A book about Australian women was published on the eve of International Women’s Year and following the establishment of the Office for Women’s Affairs by the Whitlam government in 1973. The book, described as a ‘collective portrait’, featured interviews by writer and artist Virginia Fraser, along with 131 photographs by Carol Jerrems of women from various walks of life. Some, such as Wendy Saddington, were already well known; others, such as Anne Summers, subsequently became prominent in their fields.

National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia

Publisher: Outback Press

Here you can find an online version of the book.


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