Life through the lens of Rennie Ellis

If there was ever a photographer to take Melbourne’s portrait, it was Rennie Ellis.

Rennie had an uncanny ability to slip into all kinds of social circles and his photographs are the ultimate story of life on the town.

He roamed our places: St Kilda Beach, the MCG, Swanston Street, Sidney Myer Music Bowl. He met superstars: Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones. He stood with crowds on the biggest days of the year: Melbourne Cup, the AFL Grand Final, the Boxing Day Test. He befriended people from all walks of life: athletes and celebrities, punks and protesters, beach goers and party lovers. And he captured it all on camera.

Melbourne Out Loud is a collection of iconic, unseen and everyday photographs from one of our greatest chroniclers. A celebration of going out, being seen and being yourself.

01 Mar 2024 - 28 Jan 2025
Open Daily

Victoria Gallery
State Library Victoria
328 Swanston Street

About Rennie Ellis

Rennie Ellis, born in 1940 in Brighton, Melbourne, was an award-winning photographer who charmed and connected with the people he photographed. Educated at Brighton Grammar School, he won a scholarship to the University of Melbourne in 1959 but dropped out to embark on a two-year journey around the world. Returning to Australia, he focused on photography and capturing the essence of Melbourne. He established Brummels Gallery of Photography in South Yarra in 1972, the country's first photography gallery. In 1975, he moved his studio to Greville Street, Prahran, where he operated until his death in 2003. 

The State Library Victoria houses the largest public collection of Ellis's photographs, documenting his diverse practice from the late 1960s to the early 2000s, showcasing his role as a committed social chronicler of his time.


About Rennie Ellis

Photography themes


Want to explore more Rennie Ellis?

Our Rennie Ellis gallery pays tribute to images of ordinary people taking part in familiar and much-loved Melbourne pastimes.

From footy fans to sharpies, Toorak salesgirls to Fitzroy senior citizens, these photos give a taste of the diverse social history Ellis documented during the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Want to explore more Rennie Ellis?

State Library Victoria picture collection

Delve into Melbourne's vibrant history through the State Library Victoria Picture Collection. Explore a curated selection of captivating images chronicling the city's past and connect with Melbourne's rich heritage in a visual journey through time.

State Library Victoria picture collection

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Educational Resources

This education resource kit invites students from across the state to access and respond creatively to the Library’s photography collection.

Educational Resources


The State Library of Victoria welcomes everyone.

We're committed to sharing the rich histories and stories of the State Library Victoria Collection and exhibitions, ensuring a memorable journey for all visitors with various needs. 

Accessible resources for exhibitions

Explore the Library's exhibitions through accessible resources, including exhibition labels, sensory maps, social scripts and audio recordings.