A major retrospective of the photography of Fay Godwin is opening in Cornwall, UK, next month. Godwin is one of the most celebrated British landscape photographs of the 20th century, and best known for her moody black-and-white images.
Known as both a photographer and a conservationist, Fay Godwin’s landscape work was both a celebration of Britain’s countryside and a criticism of the damage being done to it. Her work ranged from atmospheric studies of ancient sites in remote locations to pictures showing polluted, rubbish-strewn rivers. Roger Taylor, in his essay for the monograph Landmarks (2002), referred to her ‘mastery of the elusive grammar of greys.’ Born in 1931, she died in 2005 aged 74.
Under a turbulent sky is an exhibition of 27 prints personally selected by people who knew or worked with and were influenced by Fay Godwin… by curators, collectors and historians of photography as well as by close friends and family members.
Godwin began taking photographs in her mid-30s; her early professional work included publicity portraits of famous poets and novelists. After 1976 she began to concentrate on landscape work and collaborated with poet Ted Hughes on the acclaimed book of Pennine landscapes, Remains of Elmet (1979).
Godwin’s most famous book is Land (1985), a collection of her black-and-white landscapes from around Britain, which was published alongside an essay by the novelist John Fowles.
In later years, she campaigned as president of the Rambler’s Association for greater public access to the countryside, and produced abstract color work. Her archive of 11,000 exhibition prints and her correspondence were given to the British Library.
The exhibition will be held at Kestle Barton in the village of Manaccan, near Helston, from September 9 until October 28. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am – 5pm.