Reynolds (Rennie) Mark Ellis

Rennie Ellis was  an Australian social  and  social documentary photographer who also  worked  as an advertising copywriter,  seaman, lecturer and  television presenter, during his life. For years Rennie taunted, titillated and  tickled our collective  fancies with his images and  words. At the Rennie Ellis  Photographic Archive (established in 2004)  Rennie has  left behind a treasure trove of over half a million images spanning over three  decades. Rennie founded Brummels Gallery of Photography, Australia’s first dedicated photography gallery. He established both a photographic studio  and  an agency dedicated to his work, published 17 photographic books and  held numerous exhibitions in Australia  and  overseas. He died after suffering  a cerebral haemorrhage at 62. After completing his schooling at BGS,  Rennie won a scholarship to the University of Melbourne in 1959.  He left during his first year  to work as an office boy at Orr Skate & Associates, a Melbourne advertising agency. He subsequently studied advertising at RMIT but before obtaining his diploma  he spent two years travelling the world with his first camera to record his travels, and worked  as a seaman en route. By 1967  Rennie was  creative director  at Monahan Dayman Advertising  in Melbourne but left in 1969  to become a freelance photographer. In 1971  Rennie had  his first exhibition and  published his first book, formed  from work in Kings Cross, Sydney. A year  later he established Brummels Gallery of Photography above a restaurant of that name in Toorak Road, South Yarra. In 1974  Rennie went on to form Scoopix Photo Library in Prahran, which later became the exclusive Australian agent for New York’s Black Star  photos. In 1975  he opened his studio  at the same premises, Rennie Ellis & Associates, where he operated from for the rest  of his life. Once established as a photographer, Rennie worked, exhibited and  published continuously. Magazines that he contributed to were  as varied  as Playboy and  The Bulletin; his books and  exhibitions were  on subjects including  the beach, beer, graffiti, Australian railway stations and  the Rio carnival. In 1993  Rennie became a co-presenter on the Nine Network’s lifestyle program Looking Good,  continuing in that role for three  years and  working with Deborah Hutton and  Jo Bailey. In the same year  his work was also  included in Picture Freedom, an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. Rennie’s work is held in the permanent collections of the National  Gallery of Australia, the National  Portrait  Gallery and the National Library of Australia (all in Canberra), the National  Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), and  the Art Gallery of South Australia  (Adelaide).

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