I have for some years now, been interested in the work by James Ravilious following the suggestion of a friend who thought his work would be of interest to me having remarked a couple of my photos were similar in feel.

James spent 17 years photographing the daily lives of his immediate community in Devon on behalf of the Beaford Archive amassing some 75,000 negatives which have become a social document on the disappearing ways of life for the small communities of North Devon between during the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  The work captured the landscape and the people of the area at a time of great change. The many characters he encountered appear time and again throughout the years, due to the way in which he worked by engaging with his subjects whilst they were at work or play and never set up a shot. James worked tirelessly to capture a way of life in all its reality portraying the humour and sometimes sadness in the hard life the people of those communities had to endure.

I will not post any of his images here for copyright reasons but I urge anyone with a similar interest to seek out his work via the books he wrote during the time, those released since his death and in particular the latest two both released 2017 “The recent past” and his wife’s book of his life “James Ravilious A Life”.

The Beaford Archive Here

Finally, Peter Hamilton of ‘The Independent’ sums up his work in this quote, ‘one of the great artistic and documentary achievements of photography in the twentieth century’.


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