Head On Photo Festival, Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive, and Mossgreen Gallery are pleased to showcase Kings Cross 1970-1971: Rennie Ellis, an exhibition of Rennie Ellis’ photographic observation of life in the infamous Kings Cross during the summer of 1970-71.
Rennie Ellis (1940 – 2003) was a key figure in Australian visual culture, best remembered for his effervescent, defining images of Australian life during the 1970 -90’s. His photographs explore the cultures and subcultures of the period, and provide a strong sense of a place that now seems worlds away, a world free of risk, of affordable inner city housing, of social protest, of disco and pub rock, of youth and exuberance.
Kings Cross remains a place of intrigue… as Ellis wrote in the book, Kings Cross Sydney, by Rennie Ellis and Wesley Stacey - “It has a pulse rate and a lifestyle unlike anywhere else in Australia”. This was particularly noticeable in the 70’s, where the full diversity of the underbelly of the period was explored and presented in all its beauty and pathos. In this exhibition Ellis captures the changing society - the strip clubs, street scenes, R & R Servicemen and the Yellow House - freezing moments in time that will forever remain symbols of the unusual character of Kings Cross. Ellis was a master of immersing himself in a scene, and photographing it in rich and frank detail, making his work an important historical record. The stark contrast of life ‘up the Cross’ today underpins the freedom of the 70s and captures a fascinating portrait of life at a unique moment in time.
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