Dafydd Jones

Dafydd Jones: The Last Hurrah

A new publication and exhibition are exploring Dafydd Jones’ work during ‘The Tatler Years’.

The Last Hurrah, published by STANLEY/BARKER, was released on August 3 to coincide with an exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery Print Room in London.

Both explore Jones’ behind-the-scenes images taken while he was working for Tatler from 1981 to 1989.

Clive Cooke at a party organised by Oliver Baxter, Grosvenor Street, London, 1981. © Dafydd Jones, from the book The Last Hurrah published by STANLEY/BARKER

‘Bible of the upper crust’

Jones won a prize in a photography competition run by The Sunday Times magazine in 1981 with his Bright Young Things series.

He was hired by Tatler magazine, the so-called ‘bible of the upper crust’ to photograph the Hunt Balls, society weddings and debutante dances of the British upper class season.

He would continue to do so until 1989.

“I had access to what felt like a secret world,” said Jones.

“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.”

Dafydd Jones
Benita Douglas-Robertson above Matt Gomez at the Blizzard Ball, London Hilton, 1983. © Dafydd Jones, from the book The Last Hurrah published by STANLEY/BARKER

Dafydd Jones

Jones says he became a photographer after taking one particular image.

He was studying fine art in England and went to Florence on a school trip.

The group was touring around the Uffizi gallery and the museum attendants were concerned about the painting stretcher on Titian.

Jones’ image of the men crouched beneath the painting is ambiguous and, to him, looks like an act of worship.

In 1981 he was hired by Tina Brown at Tatler. He moved to New York in 1989, working for the New York ObserverVanity Fair and Paper magazine.

In 1996 Jones moved back to London. For 20 years, he did all his own darkroom printing in black and white.

However, once he started using colour he began experimenting using a computer instead of a darkroom.

Over the next 10 years Jones experimented with panoramic pictures of the social season and time lapse technology.

Recently he has returned to the darkroom having missed the quality of black-and-white prints.

He has also started to produce limited-edition boxed sets of his work, including Exhibition in a Box and Teenage Box.

Dafydd Jones
Halloween Ball, 1987. © Dafydd Jones, from the book The Last Hurrah published by STANLEY/BARKER

The Last Hurrah

Dafydd Jones: The Last Hurrah is on at the Photographer’s Gallery Print Room in London until September 8.

Vintage and modern limited edition silver gelatin prints are available.

The STANLEY/BARKER publication is 24 pages, printed on newspaper, available from www.stanleybarker.co.uk for £10.

More of Dafydd Jones’ work can be viewed at www.dafjones.com.

New College May Ball, Oxford, 1986. © Dafydd Jones, from the book The Last Hurrah published by STANLEY/BARKER
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