John Gay (photographer)

John Gay (photographer)

John Gay (born Hans Gohler 1909 in Karlsruhe, Germany, died 1999 in Highgate) was a photographer.cite web | title =John Gay - Blackpool 1949 | work = | publisher =English Heritage | url = | accessdate =2008-07-12 ] cite web | last =Moss | first =Richard | title =John Gay's photgraphs of Blackpool at the Grundy Gallery | publisher =24 Hour Museum | date =2006-07-03 | url = | accessdate =2008-07-12 ]

Early life

Gay attended art college in his home town. In 1933 he left Germany, following Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, moving to England with his friend Walter Stern and Stern's family, including his mother, the photographer Martha Stern.


He settled in London, where he changed his name, and launched a photographic career, finding work as a self-employed commercial photographer, before serving with the Pioneer Corps from 1939 until the end of the Second World War.

Following his marriage to Marie Arnheim in 1942, the couple settled in Highgate, London. Here he based his professional photographic practice which covered a varied range of subjects from animals for pet food companies, architecture and country scenes for Country Fair Magazine, to the portraits of literary personalities including Terence Rattigan, Dylan Thomas and Vita Sackville-West for the Strand Magazine.

In the summer of 1949 Gay captured a series of photographs of Blackpool holiday makers for Country Fair Magazine, many of which now typify the popular image of seaside holidays of the past.

John Gay’s love of architecture, nature and the countryside are reflected in his work. His photographs are published in six books. It was his second book "Prospect of Highgate & Hampstead" (1967) that put Gay on the map as an architectural photographer. In 1972 he published "London’s Historic Railway Stations with Sir John Betjeman" but his most well known book is "Highgate Cemetery", published in 1984, with Felix Barker. A subject close to his heart, John Gay was actively involved in the rejuvenation of the cemetery following its years of neglect after World War II.

Further reading

*"Prospect of Highgate & Hampstead" (1967) by Clark, Leonard and John Gay
*"London’s Historic Railway Stations" (1972) by Sir John Betjeman (author) and John Gay (photographer) ISBN 978-1854142542
*"Highgate Cemetery: Victorian Valhalla" (1984) by John Gay and Francis Barker ISBN 978-0719541377

External links

* [ Over 12,000 John Gay photographs can be viewed online. Search on John Gay to explore.]


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