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A visitor to the exhibition spotted herself in a Tony Ray-Jones photo. What will happen when Martin Parr’s Calder Valley work comes back to Yorkshire?

Between 1966 and 1969, Tony Ray-Jones photographed at many hundreds of locations and events, and thousands of people appear in his photographs.

Because Ray-Jones was photographing in a way that was dependent on his invisibility in his surroundings, he met very few of his subjects and certainly didn’t take records of their names.

It is always a joy, therefore, when someone comes forward that recognises either a family member or themselves in one of his photographs.

Penge May Queen, 1969, Tony Ray-Jones © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Penge May Queen, 1969, Tony Ray-Jones © Science Museum Group collection. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Jacqueline Beard (nee McBride), is one such person. She was overjoyed to see herself captured by Ray-Jones as the May Queen in Penge May Queen, 1969, in the exhibition while it was on display at Media Space in London. We were able to give Jacqueline a copy of the photograph as a memento.

She recalls the event well, despite the fact that it was 45 years ago. She doesn’t recall a photographer being there however, which is a real testament to Ray-Jones’s skill at being ‘invisible’.

Now that Only in England is travelling to Bradford, we are hoping that new audiences might recognise either themselves or family members in some of the photographs.

In particular, we are interested to hear from people that might know any subjects from Martin Parr’s Non-Conformists series. All his photographs were taken in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding Calder Valley area, just a few miles from this Museum.


Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr opens on Friday 28 March 2014. The exhibition examines the close relationship between the work of these two important photographers and their fascination with the English. Entry is free.

Buy the limited edition Only in England exhibition catalogue from the Science Museum online shop.

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