A new exhibition and book will mark the important contribution that Tony Ray-Jones (1941–1972) and his legacy, have made to British documentary photography.
The book focuses on photographs taken between 1966 and 1969 as Ray-Jones, driven by curiosity, travelled across the country to document English social customs and what he saw as a disappearing way of life. This small but distinctive body of work was part of an evolutionary shift in British photography, placing artistic vision above commercial success. In this short period of time, Ray-Jones managed to establish an individual personal style. He constructed complex images against a uniquely English backdrop, where the spaces between the components of the image were as important as the main subject matter itself.
Ray-Jones’ skills were gleaned from a generation of street photographers he encountered whilst living in New York in the mid-1960s. These photographers included Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and others associated with the circle of legendary Harpers Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch. Their pictures defined the era as they used the street as a framework. Ray-Jones applied this new way of seeing to his native England and photographed his observations as they had never been seen before.