Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Classless Australia

I first became aware of photography of the late Rennie Ellis via Ann O'Dyne and I was very impressed with his photos. Many have been digitised are now available to view online at Victorian State Library. I never realised Ellis didn't only take street photos but was a photographer of the rich and famous and so much more. I waded through the first dozen pages of photos and being of a sporting nature, they held little interest for me. Then I started to get to the interesting stuff. You can see them here at this direct link and to promote our state library, here a few of Rennie's photos. The site indicates that the library has digitised over 10,000 Ellis photos. If you don't want to see sporting photos, the good stuff begins at about page 12.

Ellis died in 2003 at the age of 63.



Does anyone remember Auntie Mame in Sydney's then notorious Kings Cross? Details please. I've worn my own Google out with this post.


I like his natural on the street type photos. Oops, lucky I double checked. This is by Roger Scott and not Rennie, and I like what I see of his photos. It's such a great photo of the lads in a Ghost Train, somewhere.


This little gem really grabbed my attention. It is a colour rich photo, so do click on it to see it full size. (Mary) Lady Fairfax on your left, heir to the Fairfax Press empire (publisher of The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, various country newspapers and owner of the online real estate company Domain),  died only last month at the age of 95 and Gosia may be interested to know Lady Fairfax was once Australia's richest woman and Polish born. The other person is (Kathleen) Lady Clarke who died in 1999. We were once at a furniture auction house in High Street, Armadale and our friend nudged me. Over there, he nodded, Sir Rupert and Lady Clarke, and sure enough, there they were. The photo is called Lillian Lunch, no doubt a charity fundraiser lunch put on by Lillian Frank, once the hairdresser of our late friend, Dame M*.


I wonder if Rennie ever photographed Lillian Frank? Of course he did. So Annie, thanks for putting me onto Ellis. I have much to be grateful for to Anne O'Dyne over the years, from meeting her, interesting things sent in the post, musical education, absolutely shocking gossip and family history research. She is a bonzer chick.


*From the Cast List: Dame M. She is a rich widow who lives in faded grandeur in a substantial property on St Kilda hill. She smokes, drinks and gambles and at 82 is still hale and hearty. I could almost recommend her vices. Edit: Dead, 2008.

12 comments:

  1. You have met the lovely Anne O'Dyne? Colour me a teensy bit jealous.
    Love the photos. So much quirky, irrepressible life in them.

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    1. EC, three times actually. I think I managed to get a word in at some point.

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  2. Love the photos :)

    I met Lillian Frank a few times through my late mother. The women you discussed might have been rich and noisy, but they led meaningful, fulfilled lives.

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    1. Indeed Hels, and raised a lot of money for charities. I suppose we would call her 'old Lil' now. I've always quite liked her. She lives not too far from us.

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  3. These are great photographs. Thanks for doing the Googling for me!

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    1. Pleased you liked them, James. Wow, India. How brave.

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  4. Thanks for the link Andrew, I love looking at other photographer's work.. blimey Robert De Niro was rather gorgeous when he was younger 😀

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    1. Grace, I must have missed that photo. I haven't finished looking yet.

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  5. Yellow dress, white couch, nice contrasts in that one.

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    1. Strayer, she lived or still lives just a block down from us in a high rise apartment.

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  6. I'm afraid to take street photos in case I get sued by somebody for putting their face on the internet, or what if someone sees someone else who isn't where they said they would be...oh the strife!

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    1. River, you have a perfect right to take a photo of anything or anyone in a public space, unless there is a government notice otherwise. The chances of someone being caught out by someone who reads your blog is very slim. I think the secret to not upsetting people is don't take people's photos 'in their face'.

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