Olive Cotton (1911–2003)
Vapour trail 1991, printed 2002
gelatine silver photograph
25.3 x 20.8 cm
Courtesy of the McInerney family and Joseph Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

31 August – 14 October 2007

A National Portrait Gallery travelling exhibition

This is a groundbreaking exhibition of photographs looking at the role played by photography in the final stages of people’s lives. Reveries is concerned with death of self, death of other, and reflections on mortality prompted by one’s own direct experiences, such as serious illness or the death of a loved one. Featured are work by 25 Australian and New Zealand photographers from the late 1970s to the present day, including Olive Cotton, Max Dupain, Anne Ferran, Carol Jerrems, Ruth Maddison, David Moore, Rod McNicol, Anne Noble, Jack Picone, Axel Poignant, Michael Riley and William Yang.

Curator Helen Ennis has extensive experience as an independent photography curator and writer specialising in the area of Australian photographic practice, and was formerly Curator of International and Australian Photography at the National Gallery of Australia, 1985-92. Her curatorial projects include Mirror with a memory: Photographic portraiture in Australia (National Portrait Gallery, 2000); a retrospective exhibition of Olive Cotton’s photographs (Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000); and the two-part exhibition In a New Light: Australian Photography 1850s-2000 (National Library of Australia 2003 and 2004). Her exhibition of the work of European émigré photographer Margaret Michaelis was shown at the National Gallery of Australia in 2005.

Curator: Helen Ennis