By Philippe Broad
PARIS, 4 April 1999 - Australian photographer, Rennie Ellis, surfed into
Paris the other day on AOM's Sydney to Paris flight for the inauguration
of his exhibition Life's
a Beach !. The French airline has been quite busy in recent
weeks sponsoring Australian cultural events in France. They gave active
support to female Australian participants in the cinema festival, Films
de Femmes, organized just outside Paris last month devoted to films
produced and directed by women, and will also back the Australian
participation in next month's Cannes Film Festival.
exhibition is on view in the vast lobby of the Australian Embassy in
Paris until 27 April, and brings together some 80 photographs drawn from
his latest book Life's
Still a Beach !. To show the extent of Ellis's fascination
with Australia's beach culture, this is his third book on the
subject out of a total of 17 publications.
Steeped in beach
lore since his days as a lifesaver and surfer, Ellis provides a
quintessential image of Australian beachlife with great affection and
insight. His photographs shimmer with summer light and a graceful,
infectious sensuality, taking one on an eye-opening journey around some
of the best-known beaches down-under.
From the plump lady
sunning behind her canvass wind-break, the chubby guy cooling off in the
water with a beer while his dog looks on, the surfers pitting their
skills against the waves, the pretty girls chatting as they size up the
guys, the grandmas coping, their grandchildren making "rude"
castles in the sand or the snoozing guys having their wildest dreams,
all Australia is there !
Australian Ambassador to France,
John Spender, threw a party to launch the exhibition attended by the
press and Parisian "Aus-o-philes". One of the first guests to
show all the way from Biarritz was, of course, Harry Hodge, President of
Quiksilver (Europe), co-sponsors of the exhibition and sponsors
still a Beach !
who is a journalist and longtime surfing friend of Ellis, has just
opened Quiksilver's second store on Paris's busy shopping street, Rue de
Rivoli, after a successful initial store-launch last November on the
Champs Elysées. This "life-style" oriented company is
breaking new ground employing mainly "apprentices" on Paris's
world-famous street where others would have hired hard-nosed sales
persons with years of experience. This "laid back" approach is
apparently going down well with Paris's younger set.
guests included Elaine Lewis - secretly known as Australia's
Cultural Attachée in France - who runs the Australian
Bookshop on Paris's Rue Monge, Eric Colmet Daâge, director of
Photo magazine, representatives of Woolloomoolloo, the Australian
restaurant in Paris and Nina Beskow, Gisèle Freund's
international agent, who immediately snapped up a couple of Ellis's
photos. Foster's, Australia's ubiquitous beer, made sure everyone was
still a Beach ! is on sale at both the Australian Bookshop
and Quiksilver's stores in Paris for Frs 99.
Entrance to the
exhibition is free.
Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 6 pm
Embassy, 4 Rue Jean Rey, 75015 Paris.
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