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Carol Jerrems

1949 – 1980

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. She began exhibiting in the early seventies and at venues such as Brummels Gallery, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Victoria; the Arts Council Gallery, Sydney; and, later, the Australian Centre for Photography. 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, not only for their documentation of people involved in spheres such as activism and creativity but specifically for their evocation of the spirit and aspirations that informed the lives and pursuits of her sitters. During the 1970s, Jerrems also completed commissions for clients such as Macquarie University; was awarded grants by the Australia Council and the Australian Film Commission; and worked for a period as a yoga instructor at an ashram north of Sydney. In 1979, Jerrems became ill with Budd Chiari Syndrome, a rare liver disease, and spent several months in hospital in Hobart undergoing treatment. She died in Melbourne in February 1980, a few weeks short of her 31st birthday.

Updated 2018