Roger Mayne

'Children, the Gorbals, Glasgow' (14 February 1958 (printed 1989))

About this artwork

Children are the trickiest of human subjects to photograph, because of their energy and restlessness. Yet Roger Mayne established his reputation during the 1950s and 1960s as one of the most sophisticated street photographers of children. This vivacious photograph was taken in the Gorbals in Glasgow, a predominantly working class neighbourhood on the south bank of the Clyde with a reputation for roughness and high crime rates. Traditionally, the area housed a large number of Irish immigrants, and the name comes from ‘Gort a' Bhaile’, or ‘famine of the farm’. Slum clearances in the nineteenth century did little to improve the area, but more recent efforts, including the demolition of the infamous Queen Elizabeth Square flats, have lowered crime rates and increased property value.

Roger Mayne

Roger Mayne

Roger Mayne was born in Cambridge in 1929. He studied Chemistry at Oxford from 1947-51. A self-taught photographer, he built his reputation between 1956-61 while working in Southam Street in London, taking children in the streets as his main subject. He has worked for The Times Literary Supplement, The Observer and Vogue. His photographs have featured on the front covers of many books. During the 1950s he photographed the artists working in St Ives, Cornwall. He has exhibited and published internationally and believes that 'austerity and tension' bring art to life and draw the viewer's attention.