England Observed: John Gay (1909-1999) by Andrew Sargent
John Gay was one of the most respected photographers of the mid-20th century but, unlike that of some of his contemporaries, his work is now largely overlooked. This important book, which includes 300 evocative photographs from the large collection of his work held by the National Monuments Record, marks the centenary of his birth in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1909 and coincides with two major exhibitions of his work being held in London. Gay's work is wide ranging yet returns to a number of key themes - animals and children, informal shots of ordinary people, rural life, modern architecture and London, especially his beloved Highgate and Hampstead, and characteristically uses light and shade to great effect. The insignificant object held a strong fascination for him and his gift for being unobtrusive imbues many of his images with a unique poignancy.