The people in the pictures: episodes from Fay Godwin’s archive, 1970 – 2005

Alexander, Geraldine Therese (2015) The people in the pictures: episodes from Fay Godwin’s archive, 1970 – 2005. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis presents a series of frameworks analysing some of the principal phases in the career of British photographer, Fay Godwin (1931-2005). The primary objective has been to identify people and events contributing to Godwin’s unusual position as a freelancer working productively in a climate that tended to instrumentalise photography. The secondary aim has been to establish the historical context within which she operated.
Godwin’s progress is examined in three stages. Firstly, via the circumstances surrounding her pursuit to become a photographer-author in the 1970s. Her navigations between portraiture and landscape produced a series of collaborative publications that drew on different strands of longstanding literary and visual traditions. Additionally, wider research has revealed her interactions with some of the significant figures, and early developments in Britain’s revitalised photographic community through her membership of an aspiring photographic group.
Secondly, I focussed on Godwin’s interventions with environmental groups in Britain during the 1980s. Building on a nurtured respect for the natural world, she moved comfortably into the rural branches of the movement’s third phase. Shaped by nineteenth century romanticism and sustained by the twentieth century spirit of socialism, modern environmental groups metamorphosed into sophisticated organisations, swift to capitalise on the far-reaching power of the media. Thus Godwin used her both her status, as well as her conscience to help reinstate ancient rights of access to the land.
Lastly, Godwin’s formal move to colour brought her to Bradford, a city in the throes of economic and cultural regeneration. Historically the North represented ‘a site of pilgrimage’ to literary and visual chroniclers of Britain, and Godwin’s Bradford work sat within that tradition. Yet, Bradford also proved a pivotal moment in her withdrawal from traditional landscape representations, into a more creative expressive phase of her photography signifying her independent spirit to pursue her own artistic goals.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Art History
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2015 13:22
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:49

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