Image Tony Ray-Jones, Durham Miner’s Gala 1969
Over the last century, few may say that England has produced some of the most striking examples of documentary photography in the world. Naturally, the North East is somewhat responsible for this: as well as being home to the internationally-renowned photography collective Amber, Barnard Castle will this month be host to a stunning collection of photographs with the Only in England Exhibition.
Consisting of work from the late Tony-Ray Jones and his revered contemporary Martin Parr, the event grapples with both photographers’ profound fascination with English social customs. It aims to explore the unique idiosyncrasies of English life from the early 1960s onwards, documenting the way in which the country has developed over the last century with distinct tinges of both humour and melancholy.
For those of you who really know your stuff, the final section of this exhibition will also feature images from The Non-Conformists – a rare showcase of Parr’s early work that focuses on the West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge throughout the 1970s.
The collection is available to view now, and will be until the Sunday 7th May. Whether you have a penchant for nostalgia, an eye for detail or the ability to recognise poignant beauty in seemingly mundane social rituals, a trip to the Bowes Museum will most certainly be worth your while.