Escaping Tony Ray Jones ?

Following my recent re-post and popularity of my “Subliminal Influence” piece , I thought I would write a follow up. This whole project was intended as a personal investigation of TRJ’s influence on me and my personal work., I wanted to understand how deeply my TRJ “subliminal” seeing ran ?.

The Another Day Off project was shot between the years 2012 -2016, following “that” capture in Majorca which admittedly is a strange place to start a English series.!


To be honest I’m not sure that too many of the shots in Another Day Off display the obvious Ray Jones influence that I was trying to understand & explore when I started this project (thankfully), however , I think the locations I visited that TRJ had photographed previously , ( Durham Miners Gala and The Broadstairs Dickens Festival ) really echoed the great mans approach, especially when I removed the colour from my humble efforts and printed them a little dark ..


Strangely my visit to Durham Miners Gala was part of my Unite the trade union activities and not a pre-planned Another Day Off photographic jolly, although it was a great day and it was great to re-visit the North East .

As the series progressed I concentrated more on the subject of English leisure time , I almost lost sight of the TRJ influence, I did not read A day Off during the lifespan of the project for fear of visually corrupting my approach. I actually thought i had subconsciously left it behind at one point, which would be no bad thing, as we should never consciously aspire to become a photographic tribute act of our photo-heroes, although conversely I don’t think we should deny or hide our photo influences , as we are all products of the photographs & photographers we consume & admire.

In 2016 I planned to finish the series by shooting the Dickens Festival , I believed I had grown photographically during the project and had the TRJ thing under control , how wrong was I ? The truth was that I was shocked and shaken by the feeling of de-ja-vue as I framed up the shots in my viewfinder in Broadstairs , this was spooky ! , The Dickensian characters that populated my pictures felt and looked so familiar, although these folk were strangers, I believed I had met them before on the pages of my favorite 1974 photo book , It was at this point that I felt a deeper connection to this very special photographer who had photographed this very same event almost fifty years earlier, I knew then that my work here was done, it was time for me to move on, creatively & photographically !.

The Dickens Festival, 2016

The Dickens Festival, 2016

This project had given me so much and has completed the circle, my relationship with the work of the late great Tony Ray Jones has been explored and I have discovered a lot about myself as a person and a photographer , the first image of this series had intrigued me enough to take my personal work more seriously, Some of the images from this shoot surprised me as they taught me to rely less on the learned visual tricks of my photographic hero !

It is now time to trust my own aesthetic instincts more !

Keep it real !

The work Of Tony Ray Jones will be exhibited at The Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol later in 2019