Olive Cotton (1929)

Olive Cotton (1929) was a pioneering Australian modernist female photographer of the 1930s and 40s working in Sydney.

As Senior School Prefect in 1929, Olive was the recipient of the Old Girls' Union Prize and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Sydney.

Cotton became a household name when in 1985-1986 her retrospective exhibition 'Olive Cotton Photographs 1924-1984' opened at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney and toured through numerous Australian Galleries.

A book of her life and work came out in 1995. Her work is held in numerous public collections around Australia, including the Art Gallery of NSW. The annual Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture, held at the Tweed Regional Gallery is one of Australia’s most prestigious awards. For more about the life and work of Olive Cotton, please go here.