Penney Ellis

Documentary photography

I am a photographer and visual artist and the emphasis of my practice is documentary photography.

I was born and grew up in South Africa and came to England as a young adult, where I now live and work. The concerns that inform my work draw on political issues affecting society and the environment in both England and South Africa.

In 2008 I graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a first class honours degree in fine art.

The emphasis of my practice focused on social engagement, delivering projects that encouraged people to make stronger connections with their local community and their natural environment.

Commissioners have included

  • Wiltshire Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • Corsham Town Council
  • Wiltshire Libraries
  • Pound Arts Centre
  • Wiltshire Music Centre

Funders have included

  • Arts Council England
  • National Lottery
  • Persimmon Homes
  • Cotswold Homes

My practice has evolved to focus on visual storytelling.

In 2018 I graduated from the University of South Wales with a masters degree in documentary photography. I was awarded the Reginald Salisbury Bursary which allowed me to travel to South Africa for my degree project Next to nothing. This ongoing project documents my family living on the rural fringe of the Witwatersrand, west of Johannesburg.

Alongside Next to nothing, I am working on a project documenting the impact of ash dieback on an ancient woodland near my home in Wiltshire. Ash dieback is a fungal disease that is expected to kill 80% of ash trees throughout the UK, changing the landscape forever and threatening the many species that rely on ash trees. The project is called Ashes.