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A Book About Australian Women

A BOOK ABOUT AUSTRALIAN WOMEN AND AN EMAIL ABOUT AN AUSTRALIAN WOMAN. THE PHOTOGRAPHER CAROL JERREMS WAS BORN IN MELBOURNE IN 1949. SHE DIED IN MELBOURNE IN 1980. SHE WAS THIRTY YEARS OLD. SHE HAD ONLY A FEW EXHIBITIONS IN HER LIFETIME AND PUBLISHED JUST ONE BOOK. THAT IS THE BOOK FEATURED HERE. A PREVIOUSLY UNDISCOVERED SUPERBOOK. IT'S HER LIFE'S WORK. IT IS ALSO THE GREAT BOOK OF AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY.


A Book About Australian Women. Published in 1974 by the Outback Press. It was to be the only book the photographer Carol Jerrems would publish. It is so scarce - and that's before we wrote this superbook email!

Jerrems was not a commercial photographer. She taught photography so that she would not need to make money from her art. In Paris or New York, she may have had an agent, worked for magazines or even shot fashion. In the Melbourne streets she pretty much worked alone - shooting what was there and making something happen when there was nothing.

Mark and Flappers. 15 year old students of Carol Jerrems and members of a Melbourne youth cult called Sharpies (see this YouTube film clip). A kind of backwater skinhead boot boys. they took their styling and attitude from A Clockwork Orange . They shaved their hair and left a length at the back - like the reverse of a skinhead girl look. They were aggressive and dangerous towards anyone but especially women. They also took rape as a theme from Kubrick's film. They were trouble.

Oh wow. A Melbourne girl called Caroline Slade in a hazy patterned dress standing in front of a hazy patterned wallpaper. This is the first full page picture in the book and it is already one of the best photographs we have ever seen.

This picture is just so incredibly good. It is so deceptively simple - a snapshot you could look at forever. Titled Juliet In The Bathroom, it is from the catalogue Living In The 70s (as featured below). It was taken in 1976, two years after A Book About Australian Women . It shows that Jerrems was getting better as a photographer, even if not more successful.

Carol. She was trouble too but to no one other than herself. She put herself in danger to take her photographs. She slept with people to know them better and to be able to take their pictures better. She befriended Sharpie gangs and became their driver. She stayed up all night to drink with them while they drew lots as to who would have sex with her. She was the best there was at that time and in that part of the world. Then she got ill. A rare cancer of the blood and she died aged thirty. Far too soon.
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