Prof. Pauline Rose’s professional output

Ray Moore: The Uncommonness of the Commonplace

Conference – Published 16th Apr 05

The declared aim of British photographer Ray Moore [1920 – 1987] was to draw our attention to the unnoticed, to the commonplace. Moore’s black and white photographs can be characterized as reflecting a suburban world, one on the margins, occupying the spaces between established areas of aesthetic value – the town or the country. More particularly, his images record the banal landscapes resulting from neglect, empty tracts of ground which subtly reveal both man’s random activities and his lack of concern for such spaces. It is arguable that if we are drawn to Moore’s work it is precisely because it appears untouched by the cultural codes of either the sublime or the picturesque landscape. However, the ability of the camera to confer value on the everyday, coupled with the quiet aesthetic of Moore’s work, can engage our attention and encourage close scrutiny. Indeed the effect may approach the sublimity of romantic abstraction through the photographer’s extreme attention to composition and the subtleties of line, tone and mass.