Tony Ray-Jones

Tony Ray-Jones

Tony Ray-Jones was an influential British post-war photographer who is best remembered for his light-hearted, quirky images of the English social landscape. The documentation of his fellow countrymen engaged in various leisure activities embodied a uniquely distinctive vision; quite a departure from the objective style of the 1960s war photographer. Ray-Jones’ subjective and artistic approach to photography subsequently influenced a new generation of independent photographers emerging in 1970s Britain including Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Chris Steele-Perkins, and Simon Roberts


In the October 1968 issue of Creative Camera magazine, he described what he was trying to achieve:

My aim is to communicate something of the spirit and the mentality of the English, their habits and their way of life, the ironies that exist in the way they do things, partly through their traditions and partly through the nature of their environment and their mentality. For me there is something very special about the English ‘way of life’ and I wish to record it from my particular point of view before it becomes Americanised and disappears.



I can appreciate a good black and white photograph. Something about the silver grain that gives off a wonderful sharp texture. Tony Ray-Jones photography has a great quality of contrast and brightness within his photos, giving some photos a very strong composition. His photography definitely appeals to the habits of English living, everyone looks a bit dazed and confused, in a rush to get somewhere, or falling asleep in odd places. To capture pictures like this I think is about being in the right place at the right time, none the less, a good eye is needed to get the correct composition and exposure. I get a feeling of something very modern and stylish about Jones’s photography, maybe ahead of its time. It seems to me, that colour would possible spoil these photos for the worse, as I am concentrating more on light and facial expression, and not distracted by colour.


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