James Ravilious (1939-1999) : an appreciation

If you enjoy good photography, take a look at the pictures of James Ravilious. And if you know his work but haven’t seen it recently, have another look.

After moving to the south west of England in 1972, Ravilious began photographing rural life in north Devon. And what started out as a short term project for the Beaford Archive took on a life of its own. By the late 1980s he had taken more than 80,000 black and white pictures. Always well composed and often moving, they were taken using Leica rangefinder cameras. A personal favourite of mine is “Archie Parkhouse with his dog, Sally.” Affectionate without being sentimental, for me the picture captures a precious shared moment.

Unfortunately one of the best introductions to his north Devon work – “A Corner of England” – is currently out of print. Featuring a selection of his pictures from the Beaford Archive, it’s well designed and just the right size to hold comfortably. Look online for a secondhand copy if you’re interested.

For copyright reasons I can’t use any of James Ravilious’s pictures, but here is one of mine, offered as a tribute:


“Guess the weight of the sheep” was taken at an agricultural show near Barnstaple. In case you’re wondering, I did guess and failed miserably.

As I say, have a look at his work (a good place to start is his website : www.jamesravilious.com). Then let me know what you think.

5 Responses to “James Ravilious (1939-1999) : an appreciation”
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