Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr
Beachy Head boat trip, 1967, Tony Ray-Jones © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Galleries One and Two
22 March - 29 June 2014
Featuring works drawn from the Tony Ray-Jones archive in the National Photography Collection, and rarely seen early black and white photographs by Martin Parr, this exhibition will explore the relationship between these two important photographers and their fascination with the English.
Between 1966 and 1969 Tony Ray-Jones documented English customs and identity in a remarkable series of photographs. Humorous yet melancholy, these works were unlike anything else being produced at the time. They attracted the attention of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, where they were exhibited in 1969. Tragically, in 1972 Ray-Jones died from Leukaemia aged just 30. However, his short but prolific career has had a lasting influence on the development of British photography from the 1970s through to the present.
As a photography student at Manchester Polytechnic in 1970, Martin Parr was introduced to Tony Ray-Jones. In 1974, Parr moved to Hebden Bridge where he established the 'Albert Street Workshop', a hub for artistic activity. Inspired by Ray-Jones, and fascinated by the variety of non-conformist communities he encountered in the town, Parr produced The Non-Conformists, shot in black and white in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley. This project started within two years of Ray-Jones' death and demonstrates his legacy and influence.
A Magnum photographer, Martin Parr is now an internationally renowned photographer, filmmaker, collector and curator, best-known for his highly saturated colour photographs critiquing modern life.
"Tony Ray-Jones' pictures were about England. They had that contrast, that seedy eccentricity, but they showed it in a very subtle way. They have an ambiguity, a visual anarchy. They showed me what was possible." Martin Parr
The exhibition is curated by Greg Hobson, curator of Photographs, and Martin Parr has been invited to select works from the 2700 contact sheets and negatives in the Tony Ray-Jones archive.
Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr is a Media Space exhibition.
What is Media Space?
Media Space is a brand new gallery space at the Science Museum in London. It is a Science Museum Group collaboration between this Museum and the Science Museum.
Media Space will showcase the National Photography Collection through a series of major exhibitions. Alongside this, photographers, artists and the creative industries will respond to the wider collections of the Science Museum Group to explore visual media, technology and science.
Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr opens at Media Space on 21 September 2013.
Find out more about Media Space at the Science Museum