Photographer, is represented by Stills Gallery, Paddington, NSW. Her series of photograms of Victorian clothing Longer than Life 1998, was made using clothing at the Historic Houses Trust property, Rouse Hill, e.g. Untitled (Bodice) . Several are owned by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, Sydney, on view in the Mint.

In 1995 Ferran collaborated with Anne Brennan on Secure the Shadow , a project that resulted from an Historic Houses Trust residency that was exhibited at the Greenway Gallery at Hyde Park Barracks in September-November 1995.

The installation dealt with the poor, largely Irish migrant women who stayed at Hyde Park Barracks Asylum and Immigrants Depot in the 19th century and for whom there are virtually no records of existence. These “mad and bad” Australian women have an enormous, if still largely hidden archive, but the most notable remains of these many poor, respectable migrants (who had little contact with the law) are abandoned menstrual rags and belts – apparently the world’s greatest collection – fragments of clothing and lumps of hair, fabric and other rubbish made into nests by rats, most of which was discovered under the floorboards of the women’s dormitories when the barracks were being converted into a museum.

While Brennan made beautiful, tragically sparse books from the official records, Ferran converted the visual negatives of these women’s lives into photographic positives, not by quoting a fictional history painting (as Geoff Parr had done in The National Picture ), but by transforming the unembellished fragments into a secret hieroglyphic language.

Staff Writer
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