Skip to main content

We’re thrilled to welcome you back to the Gallery from Saturday 6 June. Please see what we need you to do first.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Helen Reddy, 1978

Rennie Ellis

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 63.3 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 43.9 cm x 29.3 cm)

Helen Reddy (b. 1941), singer songwriter, was born in Melbourne, where she began performing on stage with her parents at the age of four. After wining a talent contest on the television music show Bandstand she moved to the USA in 1966. Twenty-seven music labels rejected her before she signed with Capitol Records in 1970, but over the course of the decade she was to achieve fourteen US Top 40 singles including three number ones. Her best known song is the anthem for women's liberation, I am Woman, inspired by Australian feminist and rock journalist Lillian Roxon. With more gold records at the time than any other female artist except Barbra Streisand, at the height of her fame in the late 1970s Reddy headlined with a full chorus of backup singers and dancers to standing-room-only crowds on the Las Vegas Strip. Photographer Rennie Ellis visited her at home in California to gather material for his documentary Australian Music to the World. He found her 'friendly and unpretentious and proudly Australian' as well as more attractive than she looked in her pictures. She told Ellis 'When I was in my early 20s I thought I could change the world - now I realise what a mammoth job it is just to change me.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2006
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
www.RennieEllis.com.au

Accession number: 2006.57

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Rennie Ellis (age 38 in 1978)

Helen Reddy (age 37 in 1978)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis
Bon Scott & Angus Young, Atlanta, Georgia, 1978 (printed 2010) Rennie Ellis

No shirt, no service

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2010

Bon Scott and Angus Young photographed by Rennie Ellis are part of a display celebrating summer and images of the shirtless male.

Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis
Rosaleen Norton, Witch of Kings Cross, 1970-71 Rennie Ellis

Aussies All

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2006

Rennie Ellis photographs the self-proclaimed 'Witch of Kings Cross'.

Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987
Kinky Night. Impressions Club, 1987

Aussies all

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2006

The exhibition Aussies all features the ecclectic portrait photography of Rennie Ellis which captures Australian life during the 70s and 80s.

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.