“ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHERS OF HIS GENERATION”: FIRST EDITION OF TONY RAY-JONES’ ONLY BOOK, A DAY OFF
RAY-JONES, Tony. A Day Off. London: Thames and Hudson, (1974). Square quarto, original mustard cloth, original photographic dust jacket. $1250.
First edition of Ray-Jones’ posthumous photobook—“his best body of work”—with 120 finely screened halftones that capture the English at play— the only substantial evidence of his genius in book form, an especially fine copy in the original photographic dust jacket.
“Tony Ray-Jones was one of the most important English photographers of his generation through the visual quality of his work and the influence it had on young photographers…. A seminal influence on Ray-Jones’ development was Alexei Brodovitch,” who also mentored Avedon and many others. A Day-Off, Ray-Jones’ first and only photobook, is dedicated to Brodovitch. It is “his best body of work… at once an essay in folklore, eccentricity and the quality of life. The pictures showed admiration for the photographers Ray-Jones thought worthwhile. The images were direct if sometimes enigmatic, ironic, lyrical and often surreal… Ray-Jones used The Americans, Robert Frank’s 1959 book, as a model.” His early death in 1972 at the age of 30 “was mourned publicly by Paul Strand, who wrote: ‘The tragic death of Tony Ray-Jones who was working in the great tradition… is a real loss to the art of photography in Great Britain and to people everywhere” (Warren, Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Photography I:1324).” “I want my pictures to have poignancy and sharpness,” Ray-Jones once said, “but with humor on top.” Issued the same year as edition in wrappers, no priority established. Introduction by Ainslie Ellis. Open Book, 302. See Parr & Badger I:57.
A fine copy.