We sell vintage and later prints of Roger Mayne’s photographs on behalf of the Roger Mayne Archive.
Mayne’s passion for photography took hold while he was studying for his degree in Chemistry at Oxford. A few months after he graduated in 1951, six of his photographs appeared in the most important British illustrated magazine of the time, Picture Post. He moved to London and helped Hugo van Vadenoyen organise the small but ambitious international ‘CS’ touring photographic exhibitions from 1952. Through these he met many internationally renowned photographers, including Guy Bourdin, Otto Steinert and Nigel Henderson. In 1955 he travelled to Paris where he met Paul Strand, who taught him the importance of printing to maximise the potential of each negative. Mayne was very particular about the scale at which each image worked best and embraced both small and extra-large prints, depending on his subjects.
In 1956 Mayne began to photograph children in Southam Street, London, where he worked over a period of five years and took some of his best-known images. Towards the end of this period he also photographed St. Stephen’s Gardens near Notting Hill. In the same year he held his first exhibition at the ICA, London (where Cartier-Bresson’s photographs had been exhibited in 1953), gaining a more prominent national and international reputation and in 1959 he exhibited at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
In 1986 a major exhibition of Mayne’s work was held at the V&A. The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath had a retrospective in April 2013 and the Photographers’ Gallery, London, a major show in 2017. In 2018 a ground-breaking exhibition at the Southampton City Art Gallery showed Mayne’s work from the 1960s alongside paintings by the St. Ives group of artists from the 1950s. This explored how Mayne’s photography changed as a result of his encounter with these artists and the lifelong friendships he made, and allowed a dialogue between the two, showing Mayne questioning early on the distinction between painting and photography.
Images © Roger Mayne Archive