John Davies is one of today's most outstanding British photographers; he became internationally famous during the 1980's through his influential work on the British industrial landscape, observed in vast and detailed views. The photographs from his 1987 book 'A Green & Pleasant Land' became one of the Photographers' Gallery's, London, most popular touring exhibitions.
In 2006 a selection of his work was published in the book 'The British Landscape', with a major retrospective exhibition launched PhotoEspaña in Madrid. He was short listed for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2008 for this work.
John Davies was born in 1949 in County Durham, England, his formative years were spent living in both coal mining and farming communities. He studied photography in Nottingham and after graduating in 1974 he became fascinated by the rural landscape during his visits to the west coast of Ireland. This work focused on the forces of nature and the interaction between sky and land. His images of Ireland, Scotland and England, made between 1976-1981, were first published in the monograph 'Mist Mountain Water Wind' 1986 and later reprinted in 'Skylines' 1993.
In 1981 he won a one year Research Fellowship at Sheffield School of Art and it was during this year he first started to document the urbanised landscape from high vantage points. He moved to Manchester in 1982 where he began to photograph key industries and the social landscapes left over from the Industrial Revolution to reveal their impact in shaping an urban environment. In northern England and south Wales he documented the industrial areas of steel, coal mining, textiles, quarrying, railways and shipping along with the town and cities associated with these industries. This work was published in the book 'A Green & Pleasant Land' 1987. These large format photographs were also shown in a variety of international venues including the Museum of Modern Art New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
In 1984, after his photographs were featured in Creative Camera magazine, he was invited to work in Berlin on the International Bauasstellung architectural exhibition and book project. Since then he has continued to be invited to work on numerous landscape and urbanisation commissions and publications in France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. His early European work was published in 'Cross Currents' 1992. Three further monographs were commissioned and published in France: 'Temps et Paysage' 2000, 'Le retour de la nature' 2001 and 'Seine Valley' 2002.
In 1991 Davies moved to Cardiff and in 1996 he won a Senior Research Fellowship based at the Art School of the University of Wales Cardiff for one year. During this time he produced a book on the course of the River Taff with an exhibition of this work at the Museum of Wales in 1997.
At the beginning of 2000 he started to investigate and explore the way major British post-industrial cities had changed from industrial and distribution hubs to consumer and cultural centres. Between 2000-2003 he photographed Birmingham, Swansea, Belfast, Newcastle, Gateshead, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Liverpool. This work concentrates on city centers and civic areas and typically made from high vantage points. It was while he was working in London in 2001 that he started to make pigment colour prints but he still continues to make his own silver gelatin B&W prints in the darkroom. Also in 2001 Davies moved to Liverpool where he currently lives.
In 2006 a selection of his British work 1979 - 2006 was published in the book 'The British Landscape'. A major retrospective exhibition of these photographs launched PhotoEspaña in Madrid and then shown at the National Media Museum in Bradford, Galerie Vu in Paris, Walsall Art Gallery and Cube in Manchester.
In 2008 Davies was invited to organise, curate and contribute towards a European wide exhibition 'Cities on the Edge'. He edited the book of the same title for Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008.
The books and group catalouges listed below are available on Amazon but not listed on Amazon's John Davies page. * These illustrate images published for the first time:
1978 Perspectives on landscape*
1982 Presence's of nature*
1989 The Art of Photography 1839-1989
1991 British Photography from the Thatcher Years
1991 Phase 11*
1993 Iron River*
1993 Documentary Dilemmas
1995 Rachel Whiteread's House*
1997 Venezia Marghera: Photography and Transformation*
1997 Granta 59, France - the outsider
1997 il San Gottardo*
1997 The photography book
1999 Fos natures d'un lieu*
2000 Le Temps, Vite !*
2000 Hoeksche Waard, New Landscape Frontiers*
2003 A world city - Birmingham*
2006 Making History: Art and Documentary from 1929 to Now
2006 Madre Tierra: John Davies, Edward Burtynsky, Rinko Kawauchi
2007 Dutch Eyes
2007 So Exotic, So Homemade
2007 No Such Thing as Society: Photography in Britain 1967-1987
2007 How We are: Photographing Britain
2008 Atalante Italiano 007: Rittrato Dell'Italia Che Cambia*
2008 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2008
2008 Images d'un renouvellement urbain : Artistes accueillis en résidence à Cherbourg-Octeville*
2009 Portfolio, special edition 50*
2009 Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first-century city by Anna Minton*
2010 L'Insensé photo, N° 8 : British photographers
For more information, further publications and images see the John Davies web site www.johndavies.uk.com