The Squire and his factotum, the ever-obliging Third Man, made their way to Bath this weekend. The Squire was keen to lend his name and good lordship, to a campaign against Bath and North East Somerset Council’s intention to charge admission to the Victoria Art Gallery.
“We must do what we can, TM.”
Their signatures added to the petition, the travellers took advantage of free entrance into the first museum show for 22 years of one of the UK’s major photographers, Roger Mayne.
The image above, was taken in Addison Place, North Kensington, London, W11, 1956.
“Do you think Mayne appreciated the serendipity of capturing a sweep shot against the background of the sweep shop?” mused the Squire.
The photographer introduces his web site with a quote he gave to Peace News in 1960, ‘Photography involves two main distortions – the simplification into black and white and the seizing of an instant in time. It is this particular mixture of reality and unreality, and the photographer’s power to select, that makes it possible for photography to be an art. Whether it is good art depends on the power and truth of the artist’s statement.’
A post card of a very particular young man; neat of sock, precise of grip, full of concentration, brought to mind ‘Hope of His Side’.
The reverse of the card identifies it as ‘Boy with a Bat, Wapping. 1959’, but the website suggests it was taken in Addison Place, again, in 1957.
And here is a very modern shot in both senses. It is taken in Clarendon Crescent W2, just before its demolition in a slum clearance scheme. A year or two earlier it had featured as a setting for a car chase in The Blue Lamp.
And finally, an image that begins to do justice to the mastery of the exposure of the prints on show; fielders awaiting a sky-er.
“Bet they had to retrieve that one from a roof top, TM”
Look down you Jilted Generation on these baby-boomers.
* H.T. Cartier-Bresson who in his book Images à la sauvette quoted the agitator Cardinal Retz, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”.
A catalogue with an essay by Ann Jellicoe is available with the exhibition (£6.50 plus p&p) and there are ‘vintage’ prints for sale.