Roger Perry (photographer)

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Roger Perry
Roger Perry, The Writing On The Wall, press image.jpg
Roger Perry, 1976
Born 1944
Cambridge, UK
Died 1991
Nationality British
Education Harrow Technical College and School of Art
Known for Photography

Roger Perry (1944 - 1991) was a British photographer, best known for his work at Time Out, as well as The Sunday Times and The Observer colour magazines. His 1976 book of London graffiti photography The Writing on The Wall was one of the first extensive surveys of the city's burgeoning 'scene'.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Perry studied at Harrow School of Art after deciding to become a professional photographer. Around this time he became friends with Tony Elliott who was studying at Keele University, editing a student magazine that Perry contributed to. When Elliott went on to found Time Out, he employed Perry as house photographer. Working alongside designer Pearce Marchbank, Perry created hundreds of iconic covers for the London listings magazine.[2]

One cover that Perry photographed, working with Marchbank, came third in the Professional Publishers Association Cover of the Century award. It depicted Winston Churchill's trademark V sign, with Marchbank's studio cleaner acting as 'hand-double' for the shoot.[3]

The 1980s saw Perry moving into photojournalism, particularly for the colour supplements of the Sunday newspapers such as The Sunday Times, where he regularly worked on the "Life in the Day" feature.

Due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, Perry retired to Suffolk where he began trading and restoring classic Lancia cars. He was known to use his Lancia Stratos as an everyday runaround car.

He died in Cambridge in 1991, with large obituaries published in many of the publications he used to contribute to, with Ian Jack writing an extensive one for The Independent.

In 2014 Perry's graffiti book The Writing on The Wall was republished after a Kickstarter campaign was started by George Stewart-Lockhart. The new edition is expanded to include more photographs, with an extensive new foreword, as well as a short essay by Bill Drummond.[4] The original introduction by George Melly was also included, as well as numerous recollections about Perry from friends and colleagues such as Tony Elliott, Neil Lyndon and Simon Park, amongst others. Writing in The Guardian on the subject of The Writing On The Wall, Alexis Petridis wrote that "Perry’s photos offer a vivid snapshot of British culture in the mid-70s, between the final curdling of the hippy counterculture and the arrival of punk".[5]

Publications by Perry[edit]

  • The Writing on The Wall. London: Elm Tree Books, 1976. ISBN 024189252X. With an introduction by George Melly.
  • The Writing on The Wall (Expanded Edition). London: Plain Crisp Books, 2015. ISBN 978-0993152009. With an introduction by Melly and a short essay by Bill Drummond.



  1. ^ "Political discourse woz ere: Book of London's graffiti in the 1970s harks back to a time when spray-painting wasn't just about mindless 'tagging'". Mail Online.
  2. ^ "Roger Perry". Unfinished Histories.
  3. ^ "Are these the best magazine covers of the century?". The Telegraph.
  4. ^ Stewart-Lockhart, George. "London's original graffiti artists were poets, playwrights and political revolutionaries". Vice.
  5. ^ Petridis, Alexis. "Spraying the 70s: the pioneers of British graffiti". The Guardian.
  6. ^ British Journal of Photography. 129: 223. 1982. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ The Artist. 93: 253. 1978. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Creative Camera. Issues 169-174: 283. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]