Robin Ravilious – A Chronicle of Rural Life

Photographs by James Ravilious, © Beaford Arts digitally scanned from a Beaford Archive negative. Courtesy the Beaford Archive.

Robin Ravilious will talk about her late husband James Ravilious, the internationally renowned black and white photographer who spent over 17 years in rural North Devon recording in intimate and affectionate detail the land, its people, their work, and their everyday lives. James started this work in 1972; more than 70,000 images later, his Beaford Archive work had become what the Royal Photographic Society called ‘a unique body of work, unparalleled at least in this country for its scale and quality‘.

Robin will discuss James’s life (he died in 1999), his dedicated approach to his work, and the many influences that inspired him (including Henri Cartier-Bresson). She will also provide unique background notes to some of James’s best photos. Anyone with an interest in the history and photography of the south west should not miss this festival-opening event. James Ravilious

John Angerson – NASA STS-72

Photographer John Angerson was granted unprecedented access to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida and the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, USA, to document the final months of a yearlong intensive training programme preparing for the NASA (STS-72) mission in January 1996. After revisiting the original negatives during lockdown without the pressures of the original deadline, he discovered photographs that had been previously overlooked.

Bringing them together with hundreds of images he uncovered at the US National Archives that were made in Earth’s orbit and captured by the original STS-72 crew, he created a new photobook. NASA STS-72 (Space Shuttle Publication) book pays tribute to a remarkable group of astronauts at a crucial point for the Space Shuttle programme. Since the first manned space mission, some of the most important items that the astronauts have brought back from space have been their photographs, which have over the years permanently changed the way we think, feel and see our place in the universe.

Justin Quinnell Aristotle’s Hole: From Mo-Tzu to the Selfie Stick

Over 2,500 years ago the philosopher Mo-tzu observed sunlight travelling through a small hole and deduced that light travelled in the same way as an arrow being fired, in a straight line. In just over an hour, ‘Aristotle’s Hole’ covers the science, 500-million-year history and the immense variety of contemporary approaches to pinhole photography. Justin will then show his own work, which varies in duration from using fraction of a second to six months, and using a variety of cameras from the Smileycam (which can fit in his mouth) to a wheelie bin (that doesn’t!). 

The lively talk may feature several unnerving demonstrations on capturing images entitled ‘being a golf ball’ and a ‘power drill portrait’. The talk can be punctuated by several demonstrations on how to make various pinhole cameras, some of which are given to lucky members of the audience. Justin is a co-founder of the Real Photography Company, dedicated to reviving and refreshing traditional and alternative photography.

Olga Karlovac – Theatre Stages

Olga’s mysterious but alluring black and white portrayals are atmospheric and rich with emotion. The melancholic beauty invites one to take a poetic journey into the shadows as a fellow conspirator. Zagreb and Dubrovnik are her ‘theatre stages’.

Olga has published several photo books, and her photography has been featured in many photography magazines. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions around the world, in London, New York, Amsterdam, and Paris. Olga Karlovac Photography

Chris Chapman – Wild Goose & Riddon

Chris moved to Dartmoor in 1975, since when he has documented aspects of Dartmoor life. His photographs reflect traditional skills inherent in the indigenous population and emphasise the accumulation of knowledge associated with age and customs. He has a large archive depicting the culture and character of the region. His photography has been widely recognised and is represented in both public and private collections, including those of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Arts Council England, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the International Center of Photography, New York.

His work has been published under various titles, including The Right Side of the Hedge (David & Charles 1977), Wild Goose and Riddon. The Dartmoor Photographs of Chris Chapman (Halsgrove 2000) and Silence at Ramscliffe, Foot and Mouth in Devon (The Bardwell Press, Oxford 2006). Chris Chapman Photography

Tim Gander – What Happened Here

Part photo-documentary, part art project, What Happened Here describes the life of an abandoned former industrial area of Frome between 2017 and 2019. Using expired, degraded photographic film, Tim’s attention to the site gradually revealed a darker narrative which will come fully to light in a book due for launch in 2022.

Tim Gander’s professional photographic career spans more than three decades; the first 15 years spent as a news photographer, he now specialises in corporate communications. When Tim isn’t working on boardroom headshots and ‘website collateral’, he is happiest shooting long-form photographic essays. This personal work combines his love of editorial and documentary with fine art aesthetics, creating a deeper connection between subject and audience. Tim Gander Fine Art Photography

David Lassman & Mick Yates – Let’s Talk About Alice

This event will discuss the work of Alice Seeley, later Lady Harris, in collaboration with Frome Heritage Museum, who are currently featuring her in their ‘Celebrated Women of Frome‘ exhibition; Seeley having lived in the town for many years. Alice’s pioneering photographer shocked the world in the early 1900s with her images of human rights abuses in the Belgian Congo, which led to King Leopold’s withdrawal, though her enduring legacy is not without controversy. 

David Lassman is Curator of the ‘Celebrated Women of Frome‘ Exhibition at the Frome Heritage Museum. Mick Yates is Chair and Curator of Photo|Frome and Visiting Professor, University of Leeds, Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied.

Joss Barrett & Martin Wade – Does Photography Still Mean Anything?

Joss and Martin will debate the meaning of photography, in an interactive discussion, moderated by Mick Yates. Audience participation is not only welcome but needed! The hope is that as a group, and maybe more importantly, as individuals, we ask ourselves whether, in a world so awash with images taken by so-called professionals and amateurs alike,  covering every aspect of life, it’s all become rather meaningless. Is there anything new to say? Or do we just say the same things over again with different technologies and effects? And does that matter? Is this not what every age has struggled with?

Joss Barratt is a professional photographer primarily shooting stills for the  film and television industry. Originally a photojournalist, his quick eye for story telling pictures blends a personal approach with the particular demands of film sets and varied commercial assignments. He has worked with many different directors including Michael Winterbottom, Shane Meadows and has worked on over 20 films with Ken Loach. ‘My pictures can arrive from any quiet moment  or take a team of stylists, art directors and technicians to produce a simple portrait.’ There is a slideshow of Joss’ work here.

Martin Wade is a photographer who works principally in black and white using analog materials and old 5×4 or 10×8 inch film cameras necessitating tripods and some time to set up. He does not work commercially, photography being more of a meditation when not working. He does not specialise in any particular genre although some know him for his Vanitas and Nature Morte or Still-lifes utilising  bones, found objects etc. There is a slideshow of Martin’s work here.