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Sue Ford 1980-2006
, (printed 2013)

by Ruth Maddison

inkjet print (frame: 50.0 cm x 125.3 cm, sheet: 47.0 cm x 122.3 cm, image: 40.8 cm x 117.3 cm)

Sue Ford (née Winslow, 1943–2009), photographer, filmmaker and photo-media artist, studied photography at RMIT, managed a small commercial studio in Melbourne and had two children before her break-out solo exhibition in 1971. In 1974 she became the first Australian woman photographer to have a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Ford’s work of the 1960s and 70s explored women’s everyday lives and the politics of female representation. Her book of exhibited portraits, One sixtieth of a second – portraits of women 1961-1981, was published in 1987. During the late 1980s, her travels in Central Australia gave rise to series to do with race, representation and colonisation including From Van Diemen’s Land to Videoland (1990-92) and Shadow Portraits (1994). Ford was one of the founders of the Reel Women filmmaker’s co-operative; her film Faces 1976-1996 was nominated for an AFI award in 1997. By the time of her death she had held more than 20 solo exhibitions. In addition, her work had featured in many important group shows, among them the 1982 Biennale of Sydney, Living in the 70s: Australian Photographs (1987), Shades of light: photography and Australia (1988) and Mirror with a Memory: Photographic Portraiture in Australia (2000) at the National Portrait Gallery. She was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the NGV in mid-2014.

Ruth Maddison began taking photographs in the mid-1970s and found a strong support in Ford; they often photographed each other, and each other’s children. She recalls that the 1980 image was taken at her home in Clifton Hill, and the 2006 image at a café in Carlisle Street, St. Kilda, near Ford’s home.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2013
Accession number: 2013.54