British photographic history

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Film: Don't Fence Me In. A Portrait of Photographer Fay Godwin / 11 January 2018

A premiere screening of the new documentary exploring the life of Britain's great photographers... Fay Godwin HonFRPS is perhaps best known for her captivating portrayal of the British landscape and collaborations with major writers such as Ted Hughes. Her archive is held at the British Library. 

Don’t Fence Me In – Fay Godwin’s Photographic Journey provides an entire career retrospective, made with the intense cooperation of Fay Godwin and filming from 2001 until 2005, which turned out to be the last five years of her life.

From first taking family snaps, then documenting Camden social services, soon followed by a remarkable sequence of literary portraits, Fay Godwin moved into landscape photography for a series of walkers' books which evolved into the photographic collaborations with Hughes and others. Then followed a series of substantial volumes which provided a conspectus of British landscape, culminating in the polemical 'Our Forbidden Land', made when she was elected President of the Ramblers Association and documenting much that is wrong with the way the landscape is managed.

Godwin was appointed Photographer in Residence at Bradford's National Media Museum and worked in colour for the first time, documenting the city's dazzling multicultural landscape. Godwin’s work gradually moved from the macro to the micro as she became increasingly obsessed with details of gardens and plants close to home, often seen through glass, gauze and netting. Whilst for much of Godwin's career she used a black and white chemical darkroom, latterly she eagerly embraced digital colour technology with the same enthusiasm and eye for detail.

The film is structured through her appearance on Desert Island Discs and around three major retrospective shows of her work, first at London’s Barbican Centre, then the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia and finally at Scottish National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh.

Introduced by Filmmaker Charles Mapleston and Colin Ford CBE, Founding Head, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.

A Malachite Production 2017 - 70 mins

British Library
9 January 2018
Thu 11 Jan 2018, 19:00 - 20:30

Book here:

A DVD of the film will be available after the screening or to order. See:

Image: Single Stone, Ring of Broga 1979. From ACGB series. Photograph by Fay Godwin

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