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Review: Roger Mayne at Gitterman Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 31, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Through July 21, 2012

British photographer Roger Mayne's most formative, most iconic work of working class neighborhoods of post-war London now on display at the Gitterman Gallery. The images transport speaking to a time and place, and illuminate the lives and character of the people who inhabited the poor neighborhoods.

Mayne's interest in photography began as a student of Chemistry Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1953 Mayne made acquaintance of period painters and took curiosity in the abstract avant-garde movement of the St. Ives School. These alliances helped cultivate and define his style, and the following year Mayne took greater steps to become a professional photographer. The high contrast of his work now characteristic of his vision was in-line with the qualities of and dialogue in painting movements of the time. Formal qualities enhanced through printing techniques also infused his work with a certain value and grit which enhanced the sense of life of his famous subject- working class neighborhoods of West London.

The coolness of environment is matched by the warmth of character. Buildings seem spindly and distressed as skeletons waiting to crumble, and they were- plans to demolish the structures and replace them with high-rise apartments were in the works in the time Mayne was working. This certain destruction and ominous future for the place itself is balanced by the vigor of the youths of the neighborhood. Teens and children seem to literally have popped up. They pose, play, perform, even jockey for attention asking for their picture to be in the paper. Many of the imageswereused in period publications, and the prints later exhibited and collected widely. The work always had weight but has gained greater resonance in time; some of the vintage prints are well known, other images now on view have never before been seen.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Gitterman Gallery

New Yorker Review

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