The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
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WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Mayne, Roger
Roger Mayne (b. 1929 in Cambridge, England)
is a British photographer, most famous for his documentation of the children of Southam Street, London.
Mayne studied Chemistry at Balliol College, Oxford University. Here he became
interested in photographic processing, and met Hugo van Wadenoyen; a key
figure in British photography's break with pictorialism.
On graduating in 1951 Mayne contributed pictures to the declining Picture Post, and was
an occasional film stills photographer. In the early 1950s he made photographic portraits
of many residents in the artist's-colony town of St. Ives, Cornwall. He operated very
much in an aesthetic vacuum, struggling to find any coherent tradition of British
photography to follow. In 1956 he had a one-man show of his portraits at the ICA
(UK), and George Eastman House (USA). By 1957 he was established as a freelance
photographer for London magazines and book-jacket designers.
With some financial and limited curatorial security established, he began to look
for a significant personal project. He found it in the children's street culture
of Southam Street in Notting Dale, which he photographed between 1956 and 1961.
Novelist Colin MacInnes asked Mayne to contribute the cover shot for
Absolute Beginners (1959), which is set in the area around Southam Street (then
called Notting Dale, now Notting Hill). The Southam Street collection is of
national importance, and is now held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The Southam Street project inspired Mayne's wife, the writer Ann Jellicoe,
to write a play. This became the flawed Rita Tushingham movie vehicle The Knack
(and how to get it) (1965). This movie was filmed in the area, and
Southam Street appears as 'Northam Street'. Mayne's work is also seen
in the feature-film version of Absolute Beginners.
Southam Street was demolished in 1969. Mayne's Southam Street work was brought to
a new audience in the 1990s, through being extensively used for concert backdrops,
record sleeves and press-adverts by the singer Morrissey, and through a major
1996 retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Roger Mayne. Street Photographs of Roger Mayne (1996)