PDN Photo of the Day

There’ll Always Be An England

Some of the most delightful images from the short but fascinating career of Tony Ray-Jones are on display at the Media Space in London’s Science Museum, alongside images by Martin Parr, one of the many artists Ray-Jones inspired. Born in Somerset, England, in 1941, Ray-Jones graduated from the London School of Printing. After getting his master’s degree in graphic arts at Yale University, he moved to New York City, where he worked for art director Alexey Brodovitch and became friends with street photographers Joel Meyerowitz and Garry Winogrand. After five years in the States, he returned to England and, until his death at the age of 31 from leukemia, turned his attention to a subject that has captivated artists for centuries: the eccentricity of the English. Ray-Jones’s affectionate and sardonic view of ordinary people set him apart from most documentary photographers working in black-and-white at the time. Published posthumously in the 1974 book A Day Off: An English Journal, Ray-Jones’s images had a profound influence on Parr’s early work, as the exhibition “Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr” makes clear. Ray-Jones’s images of sunbathers at Blackpool and beauty contestants in Merseyside are paired with black-and-white images of village life that Parr took in the 1970s. Both bodies of work are sure to make viewers smile. The exhibition runs through March 16, 2014 at the Science Museum in London.

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