Tony Ray Jones…documentary photographer

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.


Tony Ray Jones handwritten tips

Tony Ray-Jones /National Media Museum Portobello Road, London, 1966

Tony Ray Jones


photos courtesy



About filmcamera999

ME & MY PASSION! ok, you probably looked at the length of this "about me" page and thought, god, what's wrong with this guy!....does he have to start telling us his life story or something!!? well, youve come here now anyways, so why not hear what im like as a person, eh? ive been using film cameras for well over 30 first one being the family yashicamat twin lens! over the years, ive both bought sold and collected film cameras...too many to tell the truth! in fact, ive been buying and selling cameras well before the internet came on the scene, so anything you purchase from me is backed by my self-styled moneyback promise.....if you dont like what youve bought, send it back within 14 days and you get all your money arguments!! WHERE I STAND ON THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION! yes, i do use digital as well, but only as a ready-reckoner...i try and take most shots with my simple 2megapixel digicam....if the shot looks good, i pull out my film camera and shoot! i most defintely do not believe in digital manipulation of photographs....that in my eyes is not photography...its cheating! WHERE I USED TO LIVE, WHERE I AM NOW & WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO! i used to live in Ontario, Canada, but moved back to the UK a little while ago (its a long story..!)...but now i'm living in the one place i always wanted to be...Vancouver, BC..the next best thing to paradise on earth! as i work as a freelance writer as well as other things, i often find hat my work takes me to europe for short spells, so i get to travel a lot...not a blessing, as i just hate long flights! im a qualified Quality Assurance guy (you know...ISO 9000, auditing, documentation etc) ....99% of my skill-set is transferable so i can handle any admin or documentation-related roles....see you in BC! otherwise, i specialise in ISO 9000 auditing and documentation. my dream? to have my own thriving camera shop in Vancouver BC, whilst living in the mountains somewhere.....the best of both worlds!
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8 Responses to Tony Ray Jones…documentary photographer

  1. reocochran says:

    This was a really fascinating story about a short life well lived. He only lived 30 years, but left his ‘mark’ on photography. I think his photos are interesting and show reality and I liked his handwritten list of how to produce a great shot! Smiles, Robin

  2. Doris says:

    my favorite photo is the one with the chair

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