Cover image for Photographs
Mayne, Roger.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Jonathan Cape, [2001]

Physical Description:
158 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR654 .M3684 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



In the space of three days in 1956, Roger Mayne photographed children at play in a street in North Kensington. The photographs of Southam Street became evidence of a community and way of life that vanished under the eyes of developers and politicians. These pictures capture the essence of the age.

Author Notes

Roger Mayne was born in Cambridge in 1929. In 1954 he came to London as a freelance photographer, where he concentrated on photographing the city's slums and street markets. His work in Southam Street, North Kensington in the late fifties is regarded as a milestone in British photography, and was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1986. A book of his work, Roger Mayne Photographs , was published by Cape in 2001. He is married to the playwright Ann Jellicoe, and lives in Lyme Regis.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

At first, the strong suit these three magnificent photography books share seems to be portraying the urban environment. Closer inspection, however, convinces one that period and place are just as important, although each book documents a different period and different places, and the last 30 pages of Mayne's are given over to landscapes and family pictures. Campanella showcases the work of Fairchild Aerial Surveys, the cornerstone of the industrial empire of Sherman Fairchild, who became interested in photography and flying as a youth. Splendidly mounted on 14.5-by-12.5-inch pages, the photos show a sampling of U.S. cities, circa 1921-50, and are disposed in three parts according to whether the city in view is in the East, the interior, or the West of the U.S. Virtually all taken on crystal-clear days at angles ranging from, say, 30 degrees to the perpendicular, they are wonderfully well detailed, so that the new 1936 cars on the Ford lot in Dearborn are unmistakably of the old square passenger-box and trapezoidal engine-compartment style. If New York comes off most impressively, the pictures remind us of such less-renowned urban glories as Philadelphia's fine skyscraper collection, Annapolis' baroque late-seventeenth-century city plan, and Cedar Rapids' Municipal Island. Present-day western metropolises, such as Albuquerque and Phoenix, surprise with how relatively small they were and how much room they had to grow. A book to pore over again and again. The Hungarian Paul Almasy has traveled the world, but Paris has been his home for more than 60 years. These pictures span 1940-68, though most come from 1945-60, when the French capitol reasserted itself as Europe's cultural center. The work of a self-described journalist-photographer, they aren't, however, just illustrations for news stories. They have more spiritual force than that. "Rock 'n' roll on the banks of the Seine, 1950s" leaps off the page with joie de vivre, but elegantly, thanks to the arch of a bridge near-perfectly framing two dancers and their onlookers and the sunlight on the river beyond the bridge silhouetting the male dancer's arabesque. "Charles de Gaulle at a press conference, 1958" almost levitates from his chair as he pounds the microphone-laden table--his fists are a blur--in the vehemence of his argument. As the worker in "Poster billing, 1952" reaches to brush down a corner, his counterbalancing leg perfectly parallels those of a leaping female skater in the posting he is covering up. C'est magnifique. About half of Mayne's photos depict workers' kids playing in the London streets in the late '50s and teenagers there and elsewhere. These are kinetic and poetic pictures, like Helen Leavitt's slightly earlier images of New York street children, full of the energy that would power the first stirrings of the English blues and rock scene. The clothes the working-class teens wear are precisely what their middle-class counterparts would appropriate when Swingin' London flowered a few years later. After them and a handful of shots of "The British at Leisure" (including an iconic one of screaming fans, ages 6 through 60, at a soccer match), Mayne offers continental urban landscapes and Mediterranean town scenes before returning to Britain for some high-contrast country landscapes and photos of his family that are as energetic as the street-kids' pictures. A vital and enlivening retrospective of one of Britain's best photographers. --Ray Olson