Olive Cotton

In 1929, at the age of 18, Olive Cotton became a member of the Sydney Camera Club and the Photographic Society of New South Wales.

After graduating from Sydney University with a BA in 1934, she joined Max Dupain’s studio and after a brief marriage from 1939 to 1941, they separated. Cotton ran Dupain’s studio while he was in service during WWII from 1942 to 1945.

In 1946 she married Ross McInerney and moved to Cowra, where she continued to photograph the landscape. From the mid 1960s she ran her own photographic studio.

In the early 1980s she began to print from the many negatives amassed over the years (continuing until the studio closed mid 1990s).

Cotton is now recognised as a major contributor to Australian photography.

The portrait of Olive Cotton (left) was taken by Jean McInerney (later Jean Lorraine) in 1943. A close friend of Olive Cotton, Jean was one of the Dupain studio models. For several years they were also sisters-in-law. "Olive was always my friend...I was working for the American Red Cross at this time, not modelling professionally, and she and I had some fun in the studio: she did a portrait of me by candle-light, and I took this portrait of her"


Jean Bailey (Jean Lorraine), Richmond, Virginia, 1998
(Ref: Sally McInerney, Olive Cotton’s daughter)


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