Ellis (Eli) Reed (born 1946) is an American photographer and photojournalist. Reed was the first full-time black photographer employed by Magnum Agency  and the author of several books, including Black In America. Several of the photographs from that project have been recognized in juried shows and exhibitions.
Reed is a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University (1982–83) and is currently the clinical professor of photojournalism at The University of Texas at Austin. He was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1982. Reed is a Sony Global Imaging Ambassador as well as a recipient of the World Press Award and Overseas Press Club Award. Reed was honored with a Lucie Foundation Award in Documentary Photography in 2011. In 2015, Reed's work was exhibited at the prestigious Visa pour l'image Festival Du Photoreportage in Perpignan, France. In October, 2015, Reed was invited to speak at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as part of their "Visually Speaking" series. In January, 2016, Reed was a keynote speaker at National Geographic Magazine′s Photography Seminar in Washington, D.C.
Reed was raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He took his first photograph at the age of 10, documenting his mother by the Christmas tree. Primarily self-taught in photography, he attributes his direction to mentor Donald Greenhaus rather than any formal studies. He studied illustration at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, graduating in 1969.
Reed became a freelance photographer in 1970. Magnum Photos became affiliated with him after the success of his work in such conflicts as the wars in Central America, the war in Lebanon (which he covered between 1983 and 1987), the 1986 Haiti coup against "Baby Doc" Duvalier, and the 1989 U.S. military action in Panama. Reed became a full member of the agency in 1988. He has documented the Million Man March, Lebanon during civil war, lives of African Americans, upheaval in Zaire, U.S. military action in Panama among other things. Reed started making photographs of films and actors in 1992 and is also a member of Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers (SMPSP). Reed mainly uses the Olympus E-3, E-30, and EP-1 for his work.
Reed has taught in numerous places including at the Maine Photographic Workshop; Wilson Hicks Symposium, Miami University, Florida; Southeastern Museum of Photography, Daytona, Florida; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.; San Francisco State University; Harvard University; Boston Institute of Art; Academy of fine Art, San Francisco; University of Texas at Austin; Columbia University; Empire State College, New York; New York University, and the International Center of Photography, New York.
- 1992 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Documentary Photography
- 1992 Kodak World Image Award for Fine Art Photography
- 1988 World Press Photo award
- 1988 Leica Medal of Excellence
- 1983 Overseas Press Club Award
- 1982 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard
- 1981 Mark Twain Associated Press Award
- 1981 Pulitzer Prize, runner-up
- 2011 Lucie Foundation Award for Documentary Photography
- 1973, The Black Photographer, Syracuse University
- 1973, New Jersey Photographs
- 1975, New Jersey Prisons, Newark Museum of Art
- 1975, The Whole Sick Crew, Newark-Rutgers University
- 1993, Visa pour l'image, Perpignan, France
- 1996, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, USA
- 1997, Leica Gallery, New York, USA
- 1997, Magnum World exhibition and catalogue
- 1999, Black New York Photographers of the 20th Century Exhibition, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- 2000, Indivisible
- 2000, Reflections in Black, and A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D. C.
- 2014, Eli Reed Retrospective, A Long Walk Home, Leica Gallery, NYC
- 2014, Visa pour L'image Festival Du Photoreportage, Perpignan, France
- A Long Walk Home, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0292748576
- Beirut: City of Regrets, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1988. ISBN 978-0-393-30507-4
- Black in America New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. ISBN 978-0-393-03995-5
- Homeless in America, 1987.
- Tom Rankin, Local Heroes Changing America, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. ISBN 978-0-393-05028-8
- John Singleton, Poetic Justice: Film Making South Central Style. United States: Delta, 1993. ISBN 978-0-385-30914-1
- 1992 Getting Out, director, produced for Tokyo TV, shown at the New York Film Festival
- 1988 America's Children: Poorest in the Land of Plenty, photo essay for NBC.
- 2005 Stay, still photographer, directed by Marc Forster
- 2003 2 Fast 2 Furious, still photographer, directed by John Singelton
- 2002 Two Weeks Notice, still photographer, directed by Marc Lawrence
- 2002 8 Mile, still photographer, directed by Curtis Hanson
- 2001 A Beautiful Mind, still photographer, directed by Ron Howard
- 2001 Baby Boy, still photographer, directed by John Singleton
- 2000 Shaft, still photographer, directed by John Singleton
- 1998 One True Thing, still photographer, directed by Carl Franklin
- 1996 Day of the Jackal, stills and specials, directed by Michael Caton-Jones
- 1996 Ghost of Mississippi, specials, directed by Rob Reiner
- 1996 Rosewood, stills, directed by John Singleton
- 1995 Kansas City, stills and specials, directed by Robert Altman
- 1994 Higher Learning, stills, directed by John Singleton
- 1992 Poetic Justice, stills, directed by John Singleton
- 1991 The Five Heartbeats, stills, directed by John Singleton
- Halstead, Dirck (2000). "Living in the Now - Photographs by Eli Reed". The Digital Journalist. "Eli Reed - The Gentle Giant". Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- Rail, Dutch; inContext.tv (February 11, 2010). "Photographer Eli Reed discusses being black in America". KNOW. University of Texas, Austin. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- staff. "Review: "Eli Reed, Black in America"". '"Black in America"', a succession of photographs documenting the broader picture of black life in America. Foto TV. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- Reed, Eli (March 17, 1997). Black In America. W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition. p. 160. ISBN 0-393-03995-1.
- O'NEILL, CLAIRE. "Photographer Eli Reed On Being Black In America". The Picture Show. NPR: National Public Radio. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- University of Texas, Austin, School of Journalism (2005). "Ellis Reed, Clinical Professor". College of Communication. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- Pulitzer Prize Committee. "Feature Photography". 1982 Ellis C. Reed of San Francisco Examiner For photos of life in a public housing project. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- Bourne, Scott (October 4, 2009). "Interview With Eli Reed". PhotoFocus Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
I am self taught but I had a wonderful mentor, Donald Greenhaus, who pointed me in the right direction I should go in. I believe that the more formal education you can receive, the better it will be for you if you have good teachers.
- Magnum Photos, Eli Reed. "biography". Retrieved 4 January 2011.