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Alfred Ellis, Photographer

Alfred Ellis was born in 1854 in St. Pancras, a district of London. No details of his early life exist or how his involvement in photography began. He married Mary C. Kimbolton, and together they had a son and a daughter. In 1883, the fledgling photographer became a member of what would later be known as the Royal Photographic Society. He is also one of the founding members of the Professional Photographers' Association, having served as Secretary (1901-1903), President (1903 and 1919), and General Secretary (1919 until his death). He opened a studio on 20 Upper Baker Street in the London district of St. Marylebone in 1884.

A lover of the arts, Mr. Ellis established himself as the preeminent theatrical photographer. He would frequently photograph live stage performances or have the actors restage climactic scenes at his studio. Mr. Ellis handled his portraits with appropriate theatricality. For example, in his portrait of young stage actress Lilian Carlyle, the backdrop was hardly realistic, which was precisely the photographer's intention. He did not want it to compete with the actress, who he wanted to command the viewer's complete attention as she would during an on-stage performance. Around 1890, Mr. Ellis entered into a partnership with Stanislaw Julian Ignacy (Count Ostrorog). The son of a famed photographer, Count Ostrorog adopted his father's successful professional name, Stanislaw Walery, as his own. Hence, the the Alfred Ellis & Walery gallery was born.

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