September 20, 2013 7:54 pm

Snapshot: The Non-Conformists, Martin Parr, 1976

The Science Museum’s exhibition ‘Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr’ explores the relationship between the two artists

Tom Greenwood balances precariously on a stepladder while cleaning his front-door window, opening on to the cobbled streets of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

The photograph on the right was taken by Martin Parr in 1976 as part of his series “The Non-Conformists”. Moving to the town after graduating from Manchester Polytechnic in 1974, Parr created the series over five years, documenting the aspects of traditional life that were in decline, the non-conformist protestant chapels and the communities he encountered.

Parr was profoundly influenced by the work of Tony Ray-Jones, a British photographer who died of leukaemia, aged 30, in 1972. Ray-Jones’s humorous yet melancholic photographs from the mid-to-late 1960s were “about England,” says Parr.

“They had that contrast, that seedy eccentricity, but they showed it in a very subtle way. They have an ambiguity, a visual anarchy. They showed me what was possible.”

The photograph of Tom Greenwood is taken from the exhibition “Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr”, which explores the relationship between the two artists, and marks the opening of the Science Museum’s Media Space, a new photography and art gallery in London.

The exhibition runs until March 16 2014, before touring to the National Media Museum in Bradford, where it will continue until June 29

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