Although Fay Godwin’s work was highly esteemed by fellow photographers and the public alike through numerous exhibitions and through the publications she co-authored, this was the first retrospective exhibition of her landscape photographs.
Fay Godwin’s work fails within the tradition of British landscape photography commencing with Roger Fenton and continuing through Bill Brandt in its concern with time and place, whether the ancient Drovers’ Roads of Wales, the bleak moor lands of Yorkshire, the settled domesticity of Dorset or the Whisky Roads of Scotland. Her images evince a readiness to respond to the flow of life, to embrace some measure of the accidental effects of light and atmosphere. In incorporating elements of both fact and metaphor, Godwin’s work forms one of the most complete poetic documents of the British landscape.
Godwin’s involvement with photography stemmed from the hobby of photographing her children which led in the early 1970s to commissioned portraits of poets and writers. Her interest in landscape was stimulated by her love of walking. She subsequently so-authored many essays, guide-books and poems (with writers such as Ted Hughes, John Fowles and Alan Sillitoe) on the theme of British landscape.
The exhibition originated in 1983 and toured to Swden, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Brunei, India and Bangladesh; it was disbanded in 1993. An illustrated catalogue with an essay by Ian Jeffrey and biographical and bibliographical notes on the artists was published by the British Council to accompanied the show. ISBN 0 86355 0061