Biography: John Robert Young  


There is little doubt that aestheticism and journalism have been at the heart of the long career of John Robert Young. Recognised as one of the masters of photography of his generation his world has extended from the Great Wall of China to the rain forests of South America, from the frozen landscape of Canada's North West Territories to the deserts and forests of Africa. On his own solitary path his photographs reveal a mastery of light and shadow which gives a spiritual quality to his work.

In a career that spans six decades it is the rich diversity of his work that is immediately apparent. Monks in their life of prayer, work and silence. Legionnaires whose credo is 'Marche ou Creve' (March or Die). The overthrow of the Colonial Regime in the former Belgium Congo. His reportage on that great man of Africa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) at his jungle hospital in Lamberene in former French Equatorial Africa. Distinguished actors: Charlie Chaplin, Sophia Loren, Lawrence Olivier, Peter Sellers and Shirley Maclaine. He was for a time, her personal photographer. The quirky world of fashion with it's temperamental couturiers and beautiful models. The magnificent landscapes of Britain. He has photographed them all with exquisite beauty and sensitivity. He says: 'Had I restricted myself to fashion, photojournalism or travel, I would have been extremely bored. A photographer should never place such restrictions on himself.' 

John Robert Young remains a purist, and says : " Photography by itself can be very limiting. One must explore other art forms for inspiration. It may be music, sculpture, the cinema or a magnificent painting. In my own case it is Gregorian chant. For me the sound of Gregorian and with it the imagery of monks chanting the hours is inspiring and calming to body, mind and spirit."