Lost World

While searching a website for interesting postcards, I came across some photographs of  English country life that I thought at the time were from the World War II era.  After looking up the photographer, James Ravilious, I was amazed to discover that the photos were taken over a seventeen year period during the seventies and eighties.

The  black and white photos were all taken in an area around North Devon, England as part of the Beaford Archive project that started in 1972 when Ravilious moved to Dolton, North Devon.   Ravilious was self taught and never posed any of his subjects.  He took over 80,000 photographs of the same area of the Devon countryside and captured a way of life that has essentially disappeared in less than a generation.

There is a great article about Ravilious and his work that appeared in the London Daily Mail in 2007 and a BBC documentary and gallery that can be viewed on their website.  Unfortunately Ravilious passed away in 1999 at the age of sixty from lymphoma, but his photos live on and can be viewed online, and in print in The Photographs of James Ravilious by Peter Hamilton.

                 James Ravilious at work   

                 James Ravilious at work


Any lover of this lost way of country living, will be warmed by this visual sociology project.  Postcards of the photographs are available online from Ben Pentreath Ltd. in London and they do ship to the states!