Tony Ray-Jones, the photographer who inspired Martin Parr

Because he tracked down in his photos the sweet madness that rules the daily life of the English, Tony Ray-Jones has directly influenced the work of Martin Parr. Both are exhibited at the Galerie Clémentine de La Féronnière in Paris.

On the black and white images, we see an English couple here, she in a long dress, he in a white shirt, picnicking among the cows. There, around a tiny table, retirees are having tea, with the word « TEA » written above their heads in large letters. Elsewhere, on an embankment, two couples in raincoats and rubber boots, white napkins on their knees, scan the sky with binoculars. Or, in another shot, a guy in a hat and tie, one foot on the stepladder and the other in a vacuum, balances the top of a door. For the visitor of the exhibition « In black & white » , bringing together Martin Parr and Tony Ray-Jones, it’s difficult to say who of one or the other is the author of each photo. There is in these two, in their attentive observation of English society, a taste for humor, always mixed with tenderness.

So british

Martin Parr, born in 1952, and Tony Ray-Jones, eleven years his senior, have never met. When the first started out in the business, the second died prematurely, in 1972. Martin Parr remembers the day he discovered his work, while studying at Manchester Polytechnic: « His ability to construct complex scenes, where everyone found their rightful place both in the setting and in the typical British atmosphere, vibrated in me a string of identification – and jealousy » (quotes from books Martin Parr. Early Works and Tony Ray-Jones, ed. CF House).

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