Last Updated March 20, 2020
Top Withens by Fay Godwin, 1977 ©British Library Board

Fay Godwin

British (Born 1931 - Died 2005 ) PREMIUM LISTING Featured Hot
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Address: British Library Images Online
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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7412 7614



Landscape
Influence: Historically influential or important






Photos

John Fowles by Fay Godwin, 1982 ©British Library Board
Keith Rowan, Farmer, Great Langdale, Cumbria, 1996 by Fay Godwin ©British Library Board
Flooded Tree, Derwentwater by Fay Godwin, 1981 ©British Library Board
Large Cloud Near Bilsington by Fay Godwin, 1981 ©British Library Board
Devastation Hill, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, 1988 by Fay Godwin ©British Library Board
Angela Carter, 1976 by Fay Godwin ©British Library Board
Sunset Baildon by Godwin ©British Library Board
James Herriot by Fay Godwin, 1982 ©British Library Board
Path and Reservoir, Lumbutts, Yorkshire, 1977 by Fay Godwin ©British Library Board
Heptonstall by Fay Godwin, 1972 ©British Library Board
West Laithe by Fay Godwin ©British Library Board
DESCRIPTION / BIOGRAPHY

Fay Godwin was a British photographer best known for her black and white images of the British countryside. Goodwin was born in 1931, and her interest in photography began relatively late in life at the age of 35. She had no formal training, honing her skills by taking snaps of her family. She started her professional career taking photographs of writers for the covers of their books. She photographed numerous literary figures of the 1970's and 1980's including Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Saul Bellow, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, Günter Grass, Ted Hughes, Clive James, Philip Larkin, Doris Lessing, Edna O'Brien, Anthony Powell, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, and Tom Stoppard. Her love of walking and the countryside led her to landscape photography, her resulting images often drawing comparison with the work of Ansel Adams. She frequently used her landscape work to draw attention to environmental issues. Godwin was president of the Rambler’s Association from 1987-1990 and after her death, the organisation described her leadership as a time when its "long-running right-to-roam campaign was turned up to the full-strength pressure which ultimately resulted in the access provisions enshrined in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.” Godwin published 18 books during her career, many of which were produced in collaboration with poets and authors including J.R.L. Anderson, Ted Hughes and Richard Ingrams. 'Our Forbiden Land' (1990) won her the first Green Book of the Year Award. She held major exhibitions at the National Museum of Photography in Bradford, the Photographers' Gallery, the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, Aberdeen Art Gallery, the National Theatre, Aarhus Photographic Museum, Denmark, the Serpentine Gallery and the Barbican Centre. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery held a major retrospective in 2003. In 1990 Godwin was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. In 1992 she was awarded Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. In 1995 she won an award from Northern Arts for the Year of the Visual Arts. In the same year she received an award from from the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation to work on the contribution of small farmers to the character of the Cumbrian landscape. She had a major retrospective at the Barbican Centre in London 2001, with accompanying publication. In 2002 De Montfort University awarded Godwin an Honorary Doctorate of Arts. Regarding landscape photography she said, "A view doesn't make a picture. You make the picture. You have to work to make the picture if it isn't there." "Just the sheer discipline of looking at the landscape makes you begin to see things, and see how the light affects the landscape". After a short illness Godwin died in 2005 at the age of 74.


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