01 Photograph, The Art Of The Nude, Carol Jerrems’ Vale Street, with footnotes # 153

Gelatin silver photograph
20.1 x 30.4 cm
Private collection

A quintessential image of the 1970s, ‘Vale Street’ has lost none of its capacity to enchant and disturb in the intervening years. In one sense it can be read as a sociological document; in another as a wholly subjective work of art. Like the mediumistic spirit-photographs of the nineteenth century, Jerrems’s photo seems to disclose the very souls of its subjects. As they respond, each in their individual fashion, to the regarding presence of the camera lens, the figures compose themselves, without theatrics, into telling attitudes. The prominence and bodily confidence of the open-faced young woman is set against the reticence of her boyish companions. As a portrait of relationships as well as individuals, ‘Vale Street’ speaks of gender relations, adolescent sexuality, suburban mores and the photographer’s own subtly partisan demeanour in regard to these themes. More on this photograph

Carol Jerrems (14 March 1949–21 February 1980) was an Australian photographer/filmmaker whose work emerged just as her medium was beginning to regain the acceptance as an art form that it had in the Pictorial era, and in which she newly synthesizes complicity performed, documentary and autobiographical image-making of the human subject, as exemplified in her Vale Street.

Known for documenting the revolutionary spirit of sub-cultures including that of indigenous Australians, disaffected youth, and the emergent feminist movement of Melbourne in the 1970s.

Jerrems died at age 30. Her short yet productive seven-year career parallels that of contemporary Francesca Woodman. More on Carol Jerrems

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