John Davies (photographer)

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John Davies (born 1949, in Sedgefield, County Durham, England) is a British landscape photographer. He is known for completing long-term projects documenting Britain and exploring the industrialisation of space. In 2008, he was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

John Davies was born in Sedgefield, County Durham, in 1949. He grew up in coal mining and farming communities, and this combination of open space and industry was to become a persistent motif in his creative work. His early life was spent living in industrial landscapes in County Durham and Nottinghamshire.


John Davies studied Photography, first attending Mansfield School of Arts to complete a Foundation Course, then studying at Trent Polytechnic (now Nottingham Trent University), graduating in 1974. Following this, he began working on long-term projects, seeking commissions and arts funding to support his work. He has worked closely with Amber/Side Collective on a number of commissions.

In 1981, Davies won a one-year Photography Fellowship at Sheffield Polytechnic, and he became Senior Research Fellow at the Art School of University of Wales Cardiff (UWIC) in 1995.

He was the first photographer ever to be commissioned to work for the Museum of London in 2002.[1]

In 2008, Davies was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, organised by The Photographers' Gallery.[2]


Davies is known for producing large photographic prints, using traditional darkroom techniques. His work in the 1980s primarily used medium format cameras, and work from the 1990s a large format camera, although in recent years he has begun using dSLR and digital medium format cameras in his work as well. While his career began by producing traditional but masterful landscape images, he quickly progressed to composition where the natural environment was juxtaposed against industrial elements impinging on it. This theme of industrialisation has become more prominent, with The British Landscape becoming his best-known body of work, and recent work in Mount Fuji, Japan (Fuji City) a meditation on the balance between nature and industry. He has also become involved in local politics, as his interest in the use of public space has been both personal and professional. The shift in subject matter also developed into a fascination with urban regeneration and work on this includes his Metropoli Project, City State, and Cities on the Edge, the latter of which he curated, in addition to contributing images of his own.

His work is characterised by large prints of images produced from high vantage points. This style was a major influence on the practice of noted art photographer Andreas Gursky.[3]

Davies' book A Green and Pleasant Land was the first photobook published by Dewi Lewis, while Lewis was at Cornerhouse. Lewis would later go on to found Dewi Lewis Publishing.[4]

Davies continues to develop new projects.

Personal life[edit]

John Davies currently lives with his partner and their daughter, Alix, in Liverpool, England.


  • Aggie Weston's no.13. Stuart Mills, Belper, Derbyshire, UK, 1977 – out of print ASIN B0007C4X2C
  • The Valleys project. Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales, 1985– out of print
  • On the edge of White Peak. Derbyshire Museum Services, UK, 1985 – out of print
  • In the wake of King Cotton. Rochdale Art Gallery, UK, 1986 – out of print
  • Mist Mountain Water Wind. Traveling Light, London, UK, 1986 – out of print ISBN 0-906333-18-0
  • A Green & Pleasant Land. Cornerhouse, 1987 – out of print ISBN 0-948797-10-X soft cover ISBN 0-948797-15-0
  • Autoroute A26, Calais – Reims. Mission Photogaphique Transmanche, Douchy, France, 1989 ISBN 2-904538-16-X
  • Phase 11 (eleven). The Photographers' Gallery and Davenport Editions, London, UK, 1991 – out of print ISBN 0-907879-27-6
  • Broadgate. Davenport Editions, London, UK, 1991 – out of print
  • Cross Currents. Ffotogallery, Cardiff & Cornerhouse Publications, Manchester, UK, 1992. ISBN 0-948797-32-0
  • Linea di Confine della Provincia di Reggio Emillia Laboratorio di Fotografia 5. Arcadia Edizioni & Assessorato alla Cultra del Comune di Rubiera, Italy, 1992.
  • Skylines. Valencia University, Imp. Mari Montanana, Spain, 1993 – out of print
  • Through fire and water: River Taff. Oriel (The Arts Council of Wales' Gallery, Cardiff) & the National Museum & Galleries of Wales, 1997. ISBN 0-946329-45-1
  • Sguardigardesani. Edizioni Charta, Milan, Italy, 1999. ISBN 88-8158-223-6
  • Temps et Paysage. Editions Tarabuste / Centre d'art et du Paysage, 2000. ISBN 2-84587-010-8
  • Visa III, Littoral / Le retour de la nature. Filigranes Editions, 2001. ISBN 2-914381-17-4
  • Seine Valley. Le Point du Jour Editeur / Pole Image Haute-Normandie, France, 2002. ISBN 2-912132-21-5
  • The British Landscape. Chris Boot, 2006 – out of print ISBN 0-9546894-7-X
  • Cities on the Edge. Liverpool University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84631-186-4
  • Urban Landscapes / Krajobrazy Miejskie. Centrum Kultury 'Zamek', Poznań, Poland, 2008.
  • European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today volume 10. EU-Japan fest / European Eyes on Japan, 2008.


  1. ^ "John Davies Biography". John Davies. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Deustche Börse Photography Prize List". Deutsche Börse. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Andreas Gursky". Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Interview with Dewi Lewis". Professional Photographer. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 

External links[edit]