English photographer Tony Ray-Jones documented English customs and identity during the 1960s. Despite dying tragically young, his revolutionary photographs caught the attention of many, including the ICA who exhibited his work in 1969.
Ray-Jones’ contemporary, Martin Parr, was also captivated by his images, and sought to continue his legacy. Parr’s collection, The Non-Conformists, was shot in Yorkshire in the 1970s. Both series of photographs have a uniquely British sensibility, giving a snapshot of the lives of ordinary people enjoying typical British pastimes. Many scenes have a Carry-On humour to them, while others are touching and poignant.
This exhibition features more than 100 photos from the Tony Ray-Jones Collection, held by the National Media Archive, chosen with help from Martin Parr. Fifty of these have never been printed before. These are displayed alongside 50 photos by Parr himself, many of which haven’t been exhibited in public for 30 years. This lovely exhibition gives an insight into what it means to be British and is well worth a visit.
The National Media Archive in Bradford holds over a million images in the National Photography Collection. In an effort to present these images to a wider audience, the Science Museum recently opened the 525 square metre Media Space. The bright and airy gallery will present a series of exhibitions and events, of which Only In England is one.
For more art in plain English, visit http://www.curatedlondon.co.uk