June 9th, 2014

Obituary: Roger Mayne, Documentarian of London’s Post-War Working Class

"Southam Street, 1956" © Roger Mayne/Courtesy Quaritch

“Southam Street, 1956″ © Roger Mayne/Courtesy Quaritch

Roger Mayne, whose images of working class neighborhoods in London in the late 1950s established his reputation as an important post-war British photographer, died June 7th at the age of 85, according to a statement from Gitterman Gallery. The cause of death was a heart attack, the gallery says.

Mayne began photographing working class youth and neighborhoods of West London in 1956, two years after moving to the city to become a photographer. “For Mayne, even the empty streets and dilapidated buildings had ‘a kind of decaying splendor,’” says Gitterman. Mayne spent five years on the project, and his work captured the spirit of an era before London’s run-down neighborhoods were razed and modernized, destroying many of the working class communities in the process.

He was particularly interested in the lively youth culture–”teddy boys, jiving girl, and kids playing in the streets,” according to his Gitterman. “By 1959 Mayne’s images were so indicative of this period that Vogue used them to illustrate teenage styles.”

His work was recognized early by various photographic societies and institutions. In 1956, he had solo exhibitions at the George Eastman House in Rochester, and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. During the late 1950s, his work appeared in a number of group shows. The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago also acquired prints of his work.

Mayne went on to a successful career as a freelance photographer, working for various magazines and newspapers. A solo exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum in 1986 renewed interest in his work, according to Gitterman. His work has since appeared in several exhibitions, including shows at the Tate Britain in 2004 and 2007. He had a solo last year in Bath, England at Victoria Gallery.

Mayne is survived by his wife, Ann Jellicoe, as well as by a daughter, a son, and their families.

August 9th, 2011

Photographers Attacked by London Looters

Photographers covering the rioting in London have been assaulted, robbed and had their cameras smashed, according to a report in the London newspaper the Guardian.

The civil unrest began Sunday in the north London district of Tottenham after police shot a black youth and has since spread to other neighborhoods and cities around the UK. Photographers trying to cover the violence have been attacked in several locations. The Web site journalism.co.uk also reported that tv crews and camera trucks have been attacked in several neighborhoods in south and east London.

On Sunday, two photographers represented by the agency Matrix had £8,000 worth of equipment smashed by looters in Tottenham. One was knocked to the ground and kicked, according to an eyewitness quoted in the Guardian. On Tuesday, another photographer was attacked and beaten by four youths in a housing project in Hackney, in East London.

Paul Lewis, a reporter for the Guardian who had tried to cover violence in Hackney, told the paper,  “A number of people who have been taking photographs have been attacked,” including citizens using cellphone cameras. “I’ve seen journalists attacked quite badly actually.” The paper also reported that photographers and videographers were trying to make themselves inconspicuous by using amateur cameras.