18th october 2006

absolute beginner

Roger Mayne started out as a landscape photographer, but moved on to the streets of Notting Dale, Colin MacInnes' Napoli, in their classic pre-Westway era of decay and racial regeneration in the fifties.

I was going out on a foray in North Kensington, and as always I had my camera around my neck, and I saw this group of teddy boys and even to me as a young person they were a bit sinister, so I walked down the street on the other side. I got past them, thank God I got past them, and then I heard this voice, 'take our photo Mister!'. So, of course, immediately I turned around and photographed the group, because I mean I wasn't going to miss a chance like that and I realised that they weren't sinister. They were actually being quite friendly. So I went in quite close amongst the group and got quite a lot more photographs quite close to them.

His best-known shots are almost all taken in one location, Southam Street off Golborne Road. Morrissey's a fan. There are other galleries here, here, here and here.

| comment