Only in England: Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr exhibition at the London Science Museum’s new Media Space

Update March 4th 2015: This exhibition is now at the National Museums Liverpool’s Walker gallery until the 7th June 2015, find out more on their website here.

The London Science Museum has opened its new Media Space Gallery with its first exhibition “Only in England”, showcasing work from Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. The Media Space Gallery was set up in partnership with the National Media Museum in Bradford to show the National Photography Collection which the National Media Museum houses. The space is now one of the largest photographic galleries in London and each exhibition at the Media Space Gallery will also be shown in National Media Museum in Bradford.

Martin Parr

On show is Martin Parr’s first major body of work “The Non-Conformists” which was shot in black and white in and around Hebden Bridge in the 1970s. I know this work quite well from books but it was really nice seeing images as 30″ x 20″ and 24″ x 20″ prints. There was quite a lot I had not previously seen, like a queue of people waiting to see Jaws. The body of work is amazing snapshot of history of English people.

Jaws Queue - © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Jaws queue – Halifax, West Yorkshire – 1977 – © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

I must admit that before this show I did not even know that the Hebden Bridge era of work had the name “The Non-Conformists”. In doing a little research I discovered there is a new Parr book coming soon called the “The Non-Conformists” which is co authored by Susie Parr. I highly recommend you pre order it on Amazon now as it’s always good to have first edition Parr books.

Tony Ray-Jones

Tony Ray-Jones passed away in 1972 and was an inspiration to Martin Parr, so anyone who’s a Parr fan is going to find his work really interesting. Parr selected images from the National Media Museum’s Ray-Jones archive to be shown at the Exhibition, which includes 50 previously unseen pictures.

Serpentine Swimmers  © Tony Ray-Jones / National Media Museum

Serpentine Swimmers © Tony Ray-Jones / National Media Museum

All the Ray-Jones prints were expertly scanned and printed by Tom Groves, who is responsible for printing at Parr’s studio. If you recognise that name it’s because he is the author of “In the Box” which I previously highlighted on my blog.

Martin Parr and Tony Ray-Jones exhibition at the London Science Museum’s new Media Space

Alongside the Tony Ray-Jones prints are excerpts from his notebooks which gives a real insight into his thought process as well as some killer photo tips like:

  • “Don’t take boring pictures”
  • “Watch for camera shake shoot 250th or above”
  • “Take simple pictures”
  • “Don’t shoot too much”
  • “Stay with the subject matter (be patient)”
Tony Ray Jones Contact Sheets

Along with notebooks there is also a large display of Tony Ray-Jones’s contact sheets which gives you real insight to how he worked.

The space runs the entire length of the science museum’s main exhibition hall. The architecture of the space is really interesting. It’s been designed to maximise wall space while still allowing you to get a sense of how big it is by offering a view through the middle.

Only in England Tony Ray Jones and Martin Parr exhibition at the Media Space at the Science Museum

Only in England is on till the 16 March 2014. Entry costs £8.00 and Concessions are £5.00

As a side note if you’re ever in Bradford or near (Leeds or Manchester) The National Media Museum and the Impressions photographic gallery are well worth checking out, I’ve been to both and they’re awesome.

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5 Responses to Only in England: Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr exhibition at the London Science Museum’s new Media Space

  1. Mr Ricoh says:

    They had signed copies of “The Non-Conformists” for sale there on Saturday.

  2. Stanley says:

    Martin Parr work is amazing and so funny… I found in Art Days website his selected works:

  3. Paul Dean says:

    A really interesting piece. Thank you. We designed this exhibition!
    Paul Dean / Drinkall Dean

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