Roger Mayne

Roger Mayne

Roger Mayne (born 1929 in Cambridge) is an English photographer, most famous for his documentation of the children of Southam Street, London.

Mayne studied Chemistry at Balliol College, Oxford University. Here he became interested in photographic processing, and met Hugo van Wadenoyen; a key figure in British photography's break with pictorialism. On graduating in 1951 Mayne contributed pictures to the declining "Picture Post", and was an occasional film stills photographer. In the early 1950s he made photographic portraits of many residents in the artist's-colony town of St. Ives, Cornwall. He operated very much in an aesthetic vacuum, struggling to find any coherent tradition of British photography to follow. In 1956 he had a one-man show of his portraits at the ICA (UK), and George Eastman House (U.S.). By 1957 he was established as a freelance photographer for London magazines and book-jacket designers.

With some financial and limited curatorial security established, he began to look for a significant personal project. He found it in the children's street culture of Southam Street in Notting Dale, which he photographed between 1956 and 1961. Novelist Colin MacInnes asked Mayne to contribute the cover shot for "Absolute Beginners" (1959), which is set in the area around Southam Street (then called Notting Dale, now Notting Hill). The Southam Street collection is of national importance, and is now held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Southam Street was demolished in 1969. Mayne's Southam Street work was brought to a new audience in the 1990s, through being extensively used for concert backdrops, record sleeves and press-adverts by the singer Morrissey, and through a major 1986 retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

In the early 1960s Mayne moved into colour photography, photographing Greece and Spain, artists & their studios, and then landscapes, and publishing work in the mid and late 1960s in the new "Sunday Times" and "Observer" colour magazines.

In 1962, Mayne married playwright Ann Jellicoe. He and his wife moved to Lyme Regis in Dorset in 1975. A major exhibition of his portraits was held at the National Portrait Gallery in 2004. He was represented in an important exhibition at Tate, Liverpool in 2006. His work continues to be represented in various venues. Mayne's work is also seen in the feature-film version of Absolute Beginners.

Further reading

* Roger Mayne. "Street Photographs of Roger Mayne". (1993; reprinted by Victoria & Albert Museum, 1996)

* Roger Mayne. "Photographs". (Random House, 2001)

* Martin Harrison. "Young Meteors: British photojournalism, 1957-1965". (Cape, 1998).

External links

* [ Roger's Official Site]
* [ Mayne & Southam Street]
* [ Victoria & Albert Museum - Mayne mini site]
* [ Roger Mayne at the Singer Gallery]
* [ The other Roger Mayne]

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