We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.





Jill Crossley


1929 –

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver photograph
    22.8 x 15.7 cm image; 26.3 x 19.2 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Jill Crossley

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Jill Crossley

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Jill Crossley has used the camera to frame and dissect the world for over 8 decades. Brought up on a sheep station in Katanning, Western Australia, Crossley watched on with fascination as her father processed photographs of stud sheep in Pyrex dishes and a washbasin at home. At the age of nine, she was taken to Perth to buy her own camera, spending all her savings on the device that would later come to shape how she navigated the world. After spending time working in commercial portraiture studios, Crossley relocated to Sydney and worked as a studio assistant for Max Dupain before beginning her freelance career. As a freelancer, Crossley produced photo-essays for many magazines, exhibited her work and undertook varied documentary expeditions including projects with the Australian archaeological team in Pompeii and a stint serving as the public relations photographer in Papua New Guinea for Australian Volunteers Abroad.

    Across both her freelance assignments and personal work, Crossley developed and refined her eye. Her work is cunningly observational, elevating overlooked details of daily life into studies of form that are alternately picturesque and playfully inflected with wit. She catches moments of beauty and absurdity in equal measure and deftly oscillates between the landscape – which has been an abiding subject – and the mania of the urban metropolis. When shooting the landscape, Crossley favours close ups that confuse our sense of depth and sometimes uses alternative camera techniques like double exposure to transform an ordinary scene into a dreamlike one. It is in her studies of the city and its inhabitants, however, that Crossley’s dextrous ability to distil the fast-paced intensity of modern life can be appreciated as a poetic sensibility. The photographs that make up the 1975 series Follow the crowd are both mischievous character studies and poignant instances of cultural commentary that retain their relevance and emotive force years after they were taken. A portrait of an undressed mannequin posing atop a pile of discarded limbs, Crossley’s David Jones depicts a farcical image of an ‘Australian Woman’, as the banner behind the figure comically declares. As with all of Crossley’s photographs, this image conjures new narratives out of everyday observations.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Jill Crossley

See all 6 works