“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Friday, 8 November 2013

Only In England.

There is a favourite device or sub-plot in a lot of American fiction. Being what we naively refer to as a "young country",  almost any town west of the Mississippi had a folk memory of it's founding. The early days of some townships were within living memory. There really were people who could trace the development of the leading families and remember when "it was all fields round here". This device anchors us in the narrative and anchored Americans in their history. Imagine remembering someone from your youth who remembered the pioneer days. I felt a little like that today as I wondered around Only In England, an exhibition of photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr that's on at the Science Museum Media Centre. Wonderful images of everyday life in the 50's 60's and 70's. Peering at the photos was one moment like being in a time machine and visiting a lost age and then being jerked back to the present when you realise how much has not changed. This was especially true of the many shots of the English seaside. If you care about the English and our eccentricities you will love this exhibition.
Tony Ray-Jone. Beachy Head boat trip. 1967. 

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