British photographer Roger Mayne passed away on June 7th after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. Mayne is most celebrated for his images of West London's working class neighborhoods in the 1950's. For Mayne photography was a way of connecting with the world and exploring the people around him. His images have a high-contrast grit that add dynamism and drama to the everyday moments he captured. The street became like a stage for activity where teddy boys, jiving girls, and even younger kids dashed and played. These frames revealed and recorded the lifestyle of an era and its disappearance. The West London neighborhoods he documented existed in a moment of "decaying splendor" as Mayne described it, for the buildings were being slowly raised to make room for high-rise apartments. The images exist in a dual plane; they became so iconic as to be picked up by Vogue Magazine
to illustrate teenage styles, but the neighborhoods were also caught in their final hours.
Mayne was as well known as a freelance photographer as a fine art photographer; his work appeared routinely in the most prestigious newspapers and magazines of his day, and also exhibited at noteworthy museums. The Victoria and Albert Museum show held in 1986 revitalized interest in his work, and helped drive acquisitions by institutional and private collections world wide. Recent museum exhibitions of note include The Art of the '60's
at the Tate Britian in 2004; Making History
at the Tate Liverpool in 2006, How We Are: Photographing Britain
at the Tate Britain in 2007;
and Roger Mayne: Aspects of a Great Photographer
at the Victoria Gallery, Bath in 2013.
Roger Mayne is survived by his wife Ann Jellicoe, daughter Katkin, son Tom, and their families.
Information for this article courtesy of Gitterman Gallery; to learn more or view images by the artist, please visit Gitterman Gallery
Roger Mayne, Self Portrait, 1956
Courtesy of Gitterman Gallery