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Raymond Moore – Between the Real and the Fantasy

Raymond Moore (1920-1987) has been gone a long time.

Portrait of Raymond Moore by Peter Marshall

Yet this important and influential British photographer, considered a key player in the development of photographic practice in the UK, is not just gone but also almost forgotten. Photo-historians and academics do their best to bring his work to the attention of students; curators and gallery owners would love to be able to get their hands on his prints to exhibit or sell; publishers often wish to include his work in books on the history of photography. But, due to a still unresolved legal issue following his death, his archive of images languishes in some vault, hopefully well-protected, while his achievements and the importance of his contribution fade from memory.

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Raymond Moore – Chronology

This is an attempt to give a tentative time-line of Raymond Moore’s life. It undoubtedly contains some errors as information about him is relatively hard to track down. If you can add to or correct it in any way, please contact me.

Everything beckons us to perceive it,
murmurs at every turn,
“Remember me”
 Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

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Moore – Published Photographs

Although Raymond Moore’s work is regularly referenced in publications about photography, during his lifetime only two major collections of photographs were published in book form: Murmurs at Every Turn in 1981, and Every So Often in 1984. In addition, two brief catalogues were produced to accompany exhibitions: Photographs by Raymond Moore, produced in 1968 by The Welsh Arts Council to accompany a touring show, and 49 Prints, published by The British Council in 1986 to accompany an international touring exhibition of his work. I have also included the work published in the 1967 Camera Owner article and the 1977 Creative Camera International Yearbook retrospective.

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Raymond Moore – In His Own Words

CC November 1968

This article is reproduced from Creative Camera Magazine, November 1968. In it, Raymond Moore explains something of his approach to and feelings about photography at the time. It was published at the time that Moore had the first exhibition by a living photographer to be organised and sponsored by the Arts Council (Wales).

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Ray Moore Talking

Creative Camera March/April 1981

This article was first published in the March/April 1981 edition of Creative Camera magazine, a special double issue entitled ‘British Photography Now’. Moore was talking to art historian Ian Jeffrey, and the interview took place just prior to the opening of Moore’s major retrospective, held at London’s Hayward Gallery. This show was only the second exhibition by a living British photographer to be held there. The first had been Bill Brandt in 1970.

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Every So Often – Raymond Moore on YouTube

Back in 1983, the BBC made a short film about the photographer Raymond Moore as part of a series called ‘Coast to Coast’.

Called ‘Every So Often’, it was unusual firstly for being a film about a photographer, still a rarity at that time, and secondly because Moore was not then considered to be a ‘famous’ figure in the medium, although he certainly had an ardent following amongst the up-coming generation of ‘art’ photographers in Britain.

I made a copy of the programme on VHS tape at the time of broadcast, unfortunately with the first minute or two missing. I never got around to adding it to YouTube, but now Raymond Moore’s son, David, has uploaded it in its entirety.
It is provided in three parts and the quality is not great, but it’s still perfectly watchable and is a valuable record of this unique photographer and his work.

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Moore Land

In 1984, in the September 15 edition of Amateur Photographer, David Brittain (later to become editor of Creative Camera) wrote an article entitled ‘Moore Land’.

Whilst inevitably geared in part to the kind of readership that Amateur Photographer attracts, the article was a thorough and enlightening look into Moore’s approach to making what he himself called ‘shots’.

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In Search Of Ray Moore

Allonby 1982. Photograph by Raymond Moore.

When I visited the Solway Coast region in 2011 it was really to explore the area that the late Raymond Moore made his own through a remarkable series of photographs made in the 1970s and 1980s.

An iconic image from this series, about which much has been written, is shown on the left. The photograph was included in one of the only two books of Moore’s work published, entitled ‘Every So Often’. The complete set from this book may be found elsewhere on this site, together with images from his few other published sources.

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