Only in England: photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr

Beachy Head Boat Trip, 1967 by Tony Ray-Jones Credits: © National Media Museum
Beachy Head Boat Trip, 1967 by Tony Ray-Jones
Credits: © National Media Museum

I had a particularly busy day on Wednesday. After the Serpentine gallery, I headed to the Science Museum to see Only in England. I’m not sure if it was a good idea or not to cram two events into one day, especially since the weather was terrible and my umbrella decided to turn inside out twice, but I have such an appreciation for documentary style art that it was worth getting a bit wet to see it.

Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr are British photographers. Tony is specifically known for combining documentary style with fine-art sensibility, while Martin is one of the most well-known published photographers who acknowledges Tony as one of his influences.

What makes this exhibition worth seeing is how Tony and Martin are able to capture every-day British life. From rained out Jubilee parties to the ‘Great British’ summers by the sea, you’ll also see how families celebrated Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night in the 1960s (which hasn’t changed much over time), to give you a real sense of how people naturally interact and connect with each other.

I talked to one of the exhibition-organisers and apparently visitors have recognized themselves and family members in the photographs. I’d asked if they recorded what they said, but unfortunately they haven’t. Such a shame as it would be so interesting to hear someone’s take on their younger-self.

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