Olive Cotton: New book by Helen Ennis

Congratulations to the 2012 Peter Blazey Fellowship recipient Helen Ennis on the publication of this new biography.

Olive Cotton was one of Australia's pioneering modernist photographers, whose significant talent was recognised as equal to her first husband, the famous photographer Max Dupain. Together, Olive and Max were an Australian version of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera or Ray and Charles Eames, and the photographic work they produced in the 1930s and early 1940s was bold, distinctive and quintessentially Australian.

A moving story about talent and creativity, Emeritus Professor Ennis explores the life of Olive Cotton and what it means for an artist to manage the competing demands of art, work, marriage, children and family.


Helen Ennis won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction for her biography Margaret Michaelis: Love, loss and photography, which was also judged Best Book by the Art Association of Australia and New ZealandHer research on Olive Cotton has been supported by the Australia Council Literature Board, a Peter Blazey Fellowship, and the ABR/George Hicks Foundation Fellowship. Formerly Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Australia, Helen went on to become Director of the Centre for Art History and Art Theory and Sir William Dobell Chair of Art History at ANU School of Art & Design. Since 2000 she has curated eight major exhibitions for the National Library of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia and other cultural exhibitions. Now Emeritus Professor, Helen is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities.

Read more about Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis at HarperCollins

Image: Max Dupain, Olive Cotton, Holding Camera, 1937 (detail), Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, SAFE/PXA 1951