Roger Mayne

I called in on the Roger Mayne exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery because I was interested in seeing his very influential street photography of the 1950s, including the photographs he took on Southam Street (now under the Trellick Tower) which were exhibited at the ICA in June 1956.   They look like the visual equivalents of Willmott and Young’s Family and Kinship in East London, published in 1957, which demonstrates the same sense of discovery that there is an abundance of life in the slums.   This is hardly surprising as Mayne worked with Peter and Iona Opie when they were undertaking research for their Language and Lore of Schoolchildren (1959) and provided the cover photograph for Peter Willmott’s Pelican Special on Adolescent Boys of East London (1966).   I was also interested in the exchange of letters with Kenneth Clark (whose name is mis-spelt in the caption), acknowledging the fact that Clark had lectured at the Royal Photographic Society  on the artistic merits of nineteenth-century photography and lamenting the fact that the Arts Council wouldn’t do photographic exhibitions.

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3 thoughts on “Roger Mayne

  1. Absolutely right. The Arts Council was very slow to recognise Photography. But, be it whispered, the RA has not been very much better, either in exhibitions,or in electing photographers as RAs. Or Honorary RAs. I know that you and Christopher are supportive : what hope is there that you could persuade the Academicians ?

  2. I suspect that mine is a (large) majority view. If so, could I impose on your Blog, Charles, and ask others to express their view, either on this Blog, or direct to the RA?
    Sorry to exploit you in this way but it IS, in my view, important and I can think of no other way of encouraging RAs to elect Photographers – the same applies to Ceramicists, where such wonderful artists as Edmund De Waal are not (yet) electable as RAs.

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