One of the first female portrait photographers to establish a name in Sydney, Fletcher had her own studio on George Street in the city where she photographed Sydney socialites and fellow artists including Arthur Streeton. Fletcher was a close associate of photographer Frank Bell.
professional photographer, was born at Katoomba (New South Wales) on 30 June 1886, one of the five children of the headmaster of Katoomba College (where Blamire Young taught mathematics). Judith’s mother, Ann Marion Fletcher, was a gifted embroiderer, exhibiting an impressive needle-painting designed by Blamire Young in the 1907 Women’s Work Exhibition at Melbourne which won first prize in its class. Judith also made embroideries in her youth.
Later, the family moved to Greenwich, Sydney and Judith lived in the family home until she married late in life. Having exhibited through the photographic salons as an amateur for some years and adopted some of the principles of art photography, she may already have set up her own studio there by 1908, doing at-home portraits, especially of women and children.
One of the first women studio portrait photographers to establish a name in Sydney (along with May and Mina Moore ), Fletcher established a studio in the city in 1909. In 1916-18 she was advertising her 'art photography’ at George Street in Art in Australia with full-page portraits of celebrities, Sydney socialites and stylish young women. She also did fashion photography, and she took many photographs of Sydney artists, particularly women artists, several of which are included in the biographical section of this book. She owned a sketch by Grace Cossington Smith , a friend of both Judith and her sister Dorothy (McLaurin). Her portrait photographs of male artists include a fine informal portrait of Arthur Streeton (Art Gallery of New South Wales). A theosophist, Fletcher is said by the family to have been one of the participants involved in the Krishnamurti Star Movement amphitheatre at Balmoral Beach in the 1920s.
After 1920 Fletcher evidently worked solely from her Greenwich home. She continued to exhibit in photographic salons until the early 1930s. A close associate of the Manly photographer Frank Bell for many years, she is said to have helped him with the supply of equipment and in developing his technique. Later she married a Polish violin-maker, Gerard Paszek, probably just before World War II. They lived at Mount Kuringai, then at Glenorie. He was an extremely possessive man – Fletcher’s niece recalls that he 'wouldn’t let Judith out of his sight’ – and she had little to do with former colleagues after her marriage. She died in 1971.