It’s not often that we get to hear of photographers who have made such a huge mark on the genre, in such a short lifetime, than Tony Ray Jones.
He was born in 1941 in Wells, Somerset, UK. Completing a course of study at The London School of Printing, he worked for a while with graphics design, until he decided to apply to Yale University in the USA, on the off-chance that they may just accept him, which they duly did, on the strength of some shots he’d taken in Africa.
After that, his rise in the world of photography was quite marked, as everyone realised his talents.
He became well-known in street photography circles too, and started to concentrate in this subject more and more. Initially he was commissioned to produce work in the USA, but on w whim, he travelled back across to the UK and began shooting street and public scenes, before they all became “Americanised” in his own words.
Soon after, Tony flew back to the USA and began work as a teacher, something that he hated doing, but was the only legal way he could remain there. However, tragedy struck so soon in his life, and he began complaining of severe tiredness. In 1971, the following year, leukaemia was diagnosed, and due to medical being so ridiculously expensive in the US, he took himself back to the UK, where he was hospitalised the very next day, but sadly passed away on 13th March 1972.
He left his irreplaceable work as a legacy to his abilities.
photos courtesy flickr.com