James Ravilious was born in Eastbourne in Sussex in 1939, sadly he died at the fairly young age of sixty in 1999.
I think that he is, of the photographers work I know, one of the most underestimated of photographers. I would even go so far as to say a better photographer than many of the famous photographers we all admire and look up to.
His earlier photographs were largely taken with a Leica M3 using modern Leica lenses, he than started to use early uncoated Leitz lenses that are renowned for their ‘drawing’ qualities and that gave a rounded feel to his images. He mostly used 400asa film.
While he took photographs in other parts of the UK, France, Italy, Greece and Ireland, his best known work was taken within a ten mile radius of Beaford in Devon.
He had been commissioned by the Beaford archive to record the life in this rural area.
For seventeen years he photographed in this small area taking 80,000 images. Not only did he take the photographs but printed them himself.
He knew the people he photographed and they accepted him, his beautiful compositions and his skill in making wonderful use of light give a lovely luminous and intimate quality to his pictures.
Maybe his most famous book is called ‘An English eye’.
Have a look at his web page for more images.
Shepherds going out to find a missing lamb. Densham farm, Devon 1981.
Archie Parkhouse leading his sheep, Millham, Devon 1982.
This photo was taken on a bus and blind (pointing the camera by guess work) with a compact with a 75 mm lens, she was thirty feet or so away so it has been severely cropped and then processed with DXO film pac 3 to look like Ektachrome 100.