Photographer Rennie Ellis captures many faces of Australia
BEFORE selfies and snapchat, Rennie Ellis captured the images of a nation, who we were and what we looked like.
This is the period of Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Paul Keating, Bob Hawke, AC/DC, punk rock, cheap petrol and coconut oil, Hari Krishnas, and Hookers and Deviant balls.
This Australian photographer, who lived from 1940 to 2003, is a key figure in our nation's visual culture.
And now his work is scheduled to be exhibited at the Lismore Regional Gallery from Saturday, July 18, to September 5.
Reynolds Mark "Rennie" Ellis was a social and social-documentary photographer who also worked as an advertising copywriter, seaman, lecturer and television presenter over the course of his life.
However he is best remembered for his observations of Australian life.
Indeed some of his photos have become icons of what we now call "Australiana".
Ellis saw his photographic excursions as a series of encounters with people's lives.
His photos can be as straightforward and blatant as a head-butt or infused with enigmatic subtleties that draw on the nuance of gesture and the significance of ritual.
The Rennie Ellis Show highlights some of the defining images of Australian life from the 1970s and 1980s.
The 100 photos provide a personal account of what Ellis called "a great period of change".
Although invariably infused with his own personality and wit, the thousands of social documentary photographs taken by Ellis now form an important historical record.
The photographs explore the cultures and subcultures of the period, and provide a strong sense of a place that now seems a world away. A world free of risk, of affordable inner city housing, of social protest, of disco and pub rock.
This travelling exhibition is presented by the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive and Monash Gallery of Art with support from the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.