Belconnen, Canberra, ACT 2014

Jill Crossley

Jill Crossley was born in 1929 on a pastoral and farming property in Western Australia.  She and her brother would watch their father processing photographic prints of his stud sheep in pyrex dishes and a wash basin.  It was her dream to become a portrait photographer like Susan Watkins, the popular glamour photographer in Perth and she followed that path.

After the onset of disenchantment with this area of photography she decided on a career change to occupational therapy and completed the  three year course. However after graduating she once more decided on photography and in 1958/59 worked for Max Dupain as an assistant with his studio work in advertising, still life, fashion, portraiture etc. and on location photographing architecture. She also worked in the dark room processing and printing.

On leaving Dupain’s studio she worked as a freelance photographer. It was a difficult climate in which to freelance and she had trouble paying the land-lady. The alternative was to take a job as occupational therapist in Gladesville mental hospital. Twelve months later she got a position in a teaching hospital as medical photographer and was there for nine years.  She found the culture in the hospital more satisfying than it is today, however the photography was basic and unchallenging. Her mother became sick and she was given compassionate leave to care for her. After her mother’s death she returned to her old job for a short time before freelancing again and continued for fifteen years photographing art works such as painting, sculpture and installations, also craft objects and antiques. Crossley was in her forties at this point. She worked as a photographer for fifteen more years until she was ready to retire. Since retiring she has made the shift to digital photography and has had several exhibitions including the two listed here.

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Unreliable Witness 2015

Stanley Street Gallery

Beyond Looking 2013

ArtHere Exhibition Space