Ron Reid was born on the 30th July 1933 and died on the 11th March 1997.
Born in Western New South Wales, he took his first photographs at the age of 13 with a Kodak Bantam camera. Leaving home at 15, he was educated as a first-class engineer of motor ships, and over the next 14 years rose to the position of chief engineer of ocean-going cargo ships, tankers and bulk carriers.
In 1966 he abandoned both Australia and this career for photography and photojournalism in England. He began recording striking images of young people, particularly in and around the music scene, which vividly express the freedom and hope of those years. Reid shared many of their values, and soon became a lifelong advocate of vegetarianism, ecology, sexual liberation and non-coercive spiritual values.
His pictures of the early Glastonbury Festivals are unique, and have been collected into a book; a portrait of John Lennon too, among many others, has been widely admired and reproduced. Working as an unpaid chief engineer, he was also instrumental in preparing and maintaining the first Rainbow Warrior for Greenpeace.
In more recent years, Reid was the house photographer for The Marquee Club in London and the official photographer for the Monster Raving Loony Party. On his beloved bicycle, he became a fixture around Portobello Road, in West London, and he lovingly recorded the area’s street life as well as its annual festivities at Carnival time. Camera Press provided the facilities to store and market 14,000 of his photographs.
The social climate of the 80s and 90s was hard on Reid, and he grew depressed about consumer society, together with its authoritarian and reactionary leaders. At the time of his death, he was looking forward to returning to Australia.