(Study Guide) Girl in a Mirror

Girl in a Mirror is a beautifully constructed documentary exploration of the life and times of Australian photographer Carol Jerrems. Filmmaker Cathy Drayton pulls together a fascinating array of people - friends, lovers, colleagues, the many and varied subjects of Jerrems' work - to attest to the force of her creative personality and to offer varied insights into the decade in which Jerrems was at her peak, the 1970s. Jerrems' extensive body of work serves in some sense as an embodiment of the 1970s in Australia, a decade defined by its challenges to convention, morality and social order.

She was always to be found with a camera, documenting the urban counterculture through which she moved, determined and disciplined in her approach to her art-form. Jerrems' life was shaped by her sense of adventure and curiosity. Her need to establish a feeling of intimacy with her subjects often led her to take great personal risks, and, it could be argued, questionable judgments and relationships. But alongside any of her character flaws, there is always the work itself, and Drayton has assembled a marvellous selection of images to add depth and nuance to Girl in a Mirror. Finally, Jerrems emerges from this complex portrait as a challenging, intense woman, whose art deserves greater recognition.

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