Mayne Attraction: gritty portraits of life on the streets of 50's and 60's Britain

As a young photographer, Roger Mayne visited the slums of north Kensington 27 times, taking 1,400 photographs. It was in 1956 that he first came across Southam Street in north Kensington, some two years after he had moved to London. It was a slum, mostly demolished in 1969, but Mayne was enthralled by the unrestrained way that its residents lived and behaved. He took 64 photographs on his first day alone. 

“He was forward-thinking in terms of the lack of a national collection for photography,” says Karen McQuaid, the curator of the Roger Mayne exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. “He  was very persistent in his campaigning for a wider appreciation of photography and an acknowledgement that this was the medium, bar the printed word, that was about to be the most influential.”  

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David Clark

David Clark is a photography journalist and author, and was features writer on Amateur Photographer for nine years. He has met and interviewed many of the world's most iconic photographers and is the author of Photography in 100 Words: Exploring the Art of Photography with Fifty of its Greatest Masters.