Coming to England in 1935, John Gay was one of the generation of German emigres who made such a contribution to British culture and academia. After a period of war service, he established himself as a leading photographer in the late 1940s and 1950s, illustrating magazines such as The Strand and Country Fair, publishing several photographic books and working with authors such as John Betjeman. His preferred themes included light and shade, animals and children, informal shots of ordinary people at work and leisure, landscapes and rural subjects, modern architecture, and London. He moved to Highgate, an area for which he developed a particular attachment, and became a committed supporter of Highgate Cemetery.
John Gay's photographic archive was bequeathed to the National Monuments Record. The whole collection is being scanned and made available via the Viewfinder website. A major book, England Observed: John Gay (1909-1999), was published in January 2009 with accompanying exhibitions at Kenwood House and the Guildhall Art Gallery, London.
Author: English Heritage NMR