Beaford Arts © James Ravilious
River Torridge at Sunrise © James Ravilious

"One of us"

James Ravilious lived in the community he photographed, and was trusted to photograph all aspects of local life. He worked by available light only and never posed his subjects, composing at speed with a Leica camera, auxiliary viewfinder and pre-war uncoated lenses. He was self-taught in photography, but was influenced both by his earlier studies at St Martin's School of Art and by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson

Past and present

Ravilious's own work for the Beaford Archive covers the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, he copied over 5,000 old photographs of the same area spanning the period 1880-1920. On his death in 1999, both collections became the property of Beaford Arts. The negatives are currently held in secure conditions by the North Devon Records Office.

In this section

"The material of the Beaford Archive, belonging to its future and rooted in its past, is of and for North Devon in the most fundamental sense."
Founding Director John Lane, 1974

"I have a job to do. I'm commissioned to make a record, so I want to keep it simple. I have to leave a clear, understandable account of the things I've enjoyed in Devon."
James Ravilious, 1985