Mar 31

Written by: host
Monday, March 31, 2014 

Blackpool, 1968 by Tony Ray-Jones

Only In England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr

Until 29 June 2014

National Media Museum

Two seminal British photographers are the focus of the exhibition Only In England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr, opening at the National Media Museum on 28 March, 2014. 

It features more than 100 works drawn from the Tony Ray-Jones Archive, part of the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum. These will be shown alongside 55 black and white photographs from The Non-Conformists, taken by Martin Parr in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley in the1970s. 

The Museum has acquired 77 prints from this series, which in addition to other works gives it the largest holding of Parr photographs by any institution in the world.

Only in England arrives at the National Media Museum following its run as the inaugural photography show at Media Space in the Science Museum. Media Space, a collaboration between the National Media Museum and the Science Museum, opened in September 2013 as a new gallery dedicated to exploring the art, science and technology of the still and moving image. 

Between 1966 and 1969 Tony Ray-Jones (1941-1972) created a body of photographic work documenting English customs and identity. Humorous yet melancholy, these photographs were a departure from anything else being produced at the time. They quickly attracted the attention of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London where they were exhibited in 1969. Tragically, in 1972, Ray-Jones died from leukaemia aged just 30. However, his short but prolific career had a lasting influence on the development of British photography from the 1970s through to the present day. Around 50 vintage Tony Ray-Jones prints will be on display in the exhibition, alongside an equal number of his photographs which have been printed especially for the show. Martin Parr was invited to select these new prints from the 2,700 contact sheets and negatives in the Ray-Jones archive. 

In 1970, Parr (b. 1952), a photography student at Manchester Polytechnic, had been introduced to Ray-Jones and was immediately inspired by his work. Parr moved to Hebden Bridge in 1974 and produced The Non-Conformists, shot in black and white in and around the Calder Valley. This project started within two years of Ray-Jones’ death and demonstrates his legacy and influence. Prior to Only in England these images were last exhibited in the region in Hebden Bridge itself, in 1981.

Parr was born in Epsom, Surrey in 1952. He graduated from Manchester Polytechnic in 1974 and moved to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where he established the ‘Albert Street Workshop’, a hub for artistic activity in the town. Fascinated by the variety of non-conformist chapels and the communities he encountered in the town he produced The Non-Conformists. In 1984 Parr began to work in colour and his breakthrough publication The Last Resort was published in 1986. A Magnum photographer, Parr is now an internationally renowned photographer, filmmaker, collector and curator, best-known for his highly saturated colour photographs critiquing modern life. 

Free Entry to Museum and Exhibitions
Information: 0844 8563797


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