Beaford Arts Cutting saplings, 1972 © Beaford Archive
Cutting saplings, 1972 © Beaford Archive

Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC

From 1971-1972 Roger Deakins - a young arts college graduate and a native Devonian -began the early development of the Beaford Archive.  After a year's residency at Beaford, he decided to work in moving image and went on to study at the National Film School. 

He went on to become a highly acclaimed cinematographer. In 2009, Roger Deakins ASC, BSC received his eighth Oscar nomination for ‘The Reader’.

Roger said of his time here: "The Beaford project was my first photographic work and I was very inexperienced. Technically the images are not good. I had a small closet of a darkroom and did all my own processing - badly. I really should have approached the subject more methodically and this is what James Ravillious did after he took over the project. His work [...] is a perfect example of what can be achieved with regard to documenting a way of life whilst at the same time producing creative work in its own right."

In the summer of 2008, Roger returned to Beaford Arts in search of the work he had created in the early 1970s.  From the original archive negatives he made a set of prints at his Devon home.  What emerged from this visit was a collection of over 40 images, a selection of which is shown in the following gallery pages.

Speaking of the changes since his project, Roger said: "I wouldn't say the look of the countryside has changed so much, but the people and their lifestyles have. The old rural ways have largely died out and the small family farms seem less prosperous. The European directives on milk production and the national ban on hunting with hounds have had an effect. However, the countryside is changing again. Public interest in organic food production will probably see a renewed vigour in the North Devon farming communities."