Sunday, 28 November 2010
Keeping up with the Ray-Joneses
That's Not My Age is fond of a spot of gritty realism - give me Ken Loach over Richard Curtis, Shaun Ryder over Nigel Havers any day. So this weekend, the Blog Widower and I were very excited to be invited to a private view of the late, sixties photographer, Tony Ray-Jones' work. I'd seen some of Ray-Jones' pictures before at Grayson Perry's Unpopular Culture exhibition but didn't really know his stuff. According to my lovely friend Paul Deller, who organised the exhibition, this is because, 'Tony Ray-Jones is a photographer's photographer.' My favourite images are those of unsuspecting holiday-makers in English seaside towns - the ballroom dancing photograph in Morecambe, the man on the sunlounger in Bournemouth, the couple on the promenade in Blackpool. All taken by TR-J as he travelled around England in a VW Camper van, for a couple of years at the end of the sixties with his wife, Anna.
Doubly exciting was the fact that Magnum photographer, Martin Parr was there too (at the private view, not in the camper van). Some of his TR-J photos are on loan and he was in discussion with Anna Ray-Jones - which was a real treat. I won't go on about it but Parr says the reason TR-J is still so inspirational is because, 'He treated the English seaside as a theatre, brought an American sensibility to British photography and his pictures are very simple,' adding knowingly, ' They look effortless but I know how complicated they are.' Definitely a photographer's photographer, then. And in the spirit of the Great British photojournalism, That's Not My Age picked up a camera and took a picture of Martin Parr:
Tony Ray-Jones went to school at Christ's Hospital in West Sussex, which is where the exhibition is on until 9 December 2010 - it's by appointment only but don't let that put you off, everyone's welcome. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org