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Dafydd Jones writes of his work: “I’ve been inspired to photograph people, eccentricity, the art world, fashion and parties. in 1981 I was a prize-winner in a photography competition run by the Sunday Times magazine with a set of pictures of the ‘Bright Young Things’. I was then hired by Tina Brown to photograph Balls, debutante dances and weddings for the Tatler magazine. Under Mark Boxer the style of social pictures in the magazine developed into an irreverent but affectionate portrait of English social life and the social season…
… For twenty years I did all my own darkroom printing in black and white. Typically at the time I would do one or two small prints of each picture. If the image was particulalry memorable I would do a 16 x 12 portfolio print or a 20 x 16 exhibition print.”

After I began this project I decided that I wasn’t sure if the ‘ Bright Young Things’ actually existed but that there was definitely a change going on at Oxford. It was the first time I’d photographed parties. – I tried to take photographs that recorded the memorable moments and described what was happening. I tried doing a few colour pictures but black and white spoke much more strongly. Also my budget was low. I bought a bulk roll of black and white film. Developed and printed them in my darkroom. – I didn’t win the competition I was a runner-up. The judges described my pictures as being more ‘pointed than the winners.’ The magazine issue caused a small sensation at the time. – My work attracted the attention of Tina Brown who at the time was an up and coming editor on the Tatler.
I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to photograph these parties. I had access to what felt like a secret world. It was a subject that had been written about and dramatised but I don’t think any photographers had ever tackled before. There was a change going on. Someone described it as a ‘last hurrah’ of the upper classes.
I have been very lucky to work with editors, art directors and picture editors that have encouraged me and used the pictures well. Tina Brown, Mark Boxer, Graydon Carter, Jane Procter, etc.

Steve & David

The Programme Team

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