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An image of By my window by Olive Cotton

Olive Cotton

(Australia 11 Jul 1911 – 27 Sep 2003)

By my window
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph, vintage

20.3 x 15.1 cm image; 20.9 x 15.6 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.c. verso, ink "Olive Cotton 1930".
Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2006
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Olive Cotton grew up on the outskirts of Sydney where she was exposed to the range of contemporary thinking whether scientific, political or artistic. Her childhood friendship with Max Dupain and joint love of photography led to their eventual though brief marriage and her work in the Max Dupain studio during the war years. Cotton knew Harold Cazneaux and studied photographic styles from pictorialism onwards. Her own work was characterized, as Helen Ennis has written, by 'an abiding love of nature, astute powers of observation, a democratic approach to subject matter, and a sheer delight in and mastery of the photographic medium.'

Cotton worked as a photographer until her second marriage to Ross McInerney and move to country NSW in 1946. Until 1964, when she set up a studio in Cowra she concentrated on childrearing and farm life. Rediscovered in 1981 her work was much sought after through the 1980s and 1990s and she continued taking photographs and printing her own work until 1996.

Bibliography (2)

Vigen Galstyan, Look, 'Infinite flatness: exploring the intangible', pg. 28-29, Newtown, Oct 2012, 29.

Denise Mimmocchi, Sydney moderns: art for a new world, 'Still-life as laboratory table', pg.198-213, Sydney, 2013, 203, 212 (illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

International & Australian Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Kensington, 13 May 2006–24 Jun 2006

Flatlands: photography and everyday space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Sep 2012–03 Feb 2013

Flatlands: photography & everyday space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Sep 2012–03 Feb 2013

Sydney Moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Jul 2013–07 Oct 2013