South London

South London, 1954

Roger Mayne
1929 - 2014

Silver Gelatin Print. 17.8 x 25 cm.

© Roger Mayne

Om fotografen

Roger Mayne was a British photographer known for his series documenting the children of Southam Street, West London. Roger Mayne began taking photographs when studying Chemistry at Balliol College, Oxford University, first drawn to the chemical procedures involved in photographic processing. By 1951 he had begun to contribute pictures to Picture Post and, in 1954, he moved to London, determined to forge a career as a freelance photographer. He met with modest success, taking on various projects that included photographing the street market and slums of inner London and the artists that lived and worked in St Ives, Cornwall. 1956 was a breakthrough year for Mayne as his portraits were exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and at George Eastman House, New York. That, same year, he began his seminal study of Southam Street, Notting Dale in West London, which continued intermittently for five years. It remains his most important work, and established his reputation as an influential photojournalist. Mayne consciously printed with high contrast to emphasise the formal qualities in his work and increased the scale of his prints to have a further dialogue with the paintings of the time. Mayne was a lecturer at the Bath Academy of Art (1966-69) and, when writing as an art critic, referred repeatedly to a “false state of photography”, which refuses to admit it remains properly an art form. He was a significant contributor (in colour) to The Sunday Times Magazine in the 1960s. He photographed Greece and Spain, artists and their studios and then went on to work on photographing landscapes.
Roger Mayne