Author(s): Rennie Ellis
A fascinating snapshot of the wild, opulent, sometimes tacky and always decadent 1980s in Australia by a true original. Decadent: 1980-2000 is a photography book showcasing Rennie Ellis' (1940-2003) contribution to photography and social history. With an introduction by photographer and Rennie contemporary William Yang and an essay by photographer and art critic Robert McFarlane, Decadent highlights Ellis as one of Australia's most important chroniclers of the 1980s. The photographs, both colour and black and white, are drawn from the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive and the State Library of Victoria Rennie Ellis collection. Decadent explores the rise of the hedonism that we now associate with the 1980s. Ellis' boundary-pushing, racy and sometimes voyeuristic works capture a society that seems to be revelling in its abandonment of the politically charged 1970s documented in Decade.
No other photographer has documented Australian society in such depth and with such insight into the human condition as Rennie Ellis. Active from the 1970s until his death in 2003, Rennie Ellis' non-judgmental approach was his 'access-to-all-areas' pass. Ellis used his camera as a key to open the doors to the social arenas of the rich and famous and to enter the underbelly of the nightclubs, bearing witness to the indulgences and excesses. In today's post-Henson era, these captured moments offer an intimate access to an Australia tantalisingly, but sadly, now almost out of reach.