Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr

“Only in England” is now showing at the Science Museum in London and is a must see. It is perhaps one of the most lovingly curated photo exhibits I have ever seen. The show consists of many unseen works by Tony Ray-Jones which were selected by Martin Parr – who cites the former as a major influence.

Parr also displays in the show his own early photos from the 1970s. Although the two have never met there is a very intimate dialogue between the bodies of work. Each room in the exhibit alternatively displays photographs from Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. Their styles are different but there is a continuity between the rooms. This could be the result of the shared subject matter and sensibilities alluded to in the title of the exhibit.

Having admired the prints I also spent a significant amount of time combing through the contact sheets from Ray-Jones. They were displayed strikingly on a large wall at the very back of the exhibit. Looking at the sheets closely you can see the creative process of both photographers. Parr definitely brings his own aesthetics to the table when making photo selections for the show from these contact sheets. They are also testament to the talents of Tony Ray-Jones as a photographer.

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