Donovan Wylie

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Donovan Wylie, 2014

Donovan Wylie (born 1971) is a British photographer from Northern Ireland,[1] based in Belfast. His work chronicles what he calls "the concept of vision as power in the architecture of contemporary conflict" – prison, army watchtowers and outposts, and listening stations – "merging documentary and art photography".[1]

Wylie's work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum and The Photographers' Gallery in London, National Media Museum in Bradford, and Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; and is held in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Milwaukee Art Museum, National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Science Museum Group in the UK, Ulster Museum in Belfast, and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. He is a member of Magnum Photos.

Wylie has also made films – in 2002 he won a British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) for The Train, a 50 minute documentary written, directed and with cinematography by Wylie.


Wylie was born in 1971 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[2] He started photography in his teens, and at the age of 16 he left school and went on a three-month journey around Ireland. These travels resulted in his first book, 32 Counties, published when he was 18.[2] In 1992, at age 20,[2] Wylie became a nominee of the Magnum Photos agency, then a full member in 1998.

Since 2000, he has completed various photographic and film projects exploring the religious identity, history, and the concept of territory, especially in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, post-ceasefire. His work has expanded over the years, and concentrates on the "architecture of conflict". His notable works include projects on The Maze Prison in Northern Ireland (2002 and 2007–2008),[2] British watchtowers (2005–2006), and the Green Zone in Baghdad (2008). He has also worked in China, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Israel, and Yugoslavia.

The Guardian's review of Wylie's Vision as Power exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London stated: "Merging documentary and art photography, Wylie's images reveal both the impact of surveillance architecture on the natural landscape and the importance of surveillance in modern conflict."[1]

Wylie's book The Maze (2004) is included in Parr and Badger's The Photobook: A History, Volume II, and his Scrapbook (2009) is included in Volume III.

In 2013, Wylie was a Doran Artist in Residence at Yale University Art Gallery, a residency that resulted in a body of American work titled A Good and Spacious Land. [3] An exhibition of the work opened there in June 2017 alongside work by Jim Goldberg.[4]


Publications by Wylie[edit]

Publications paired with others[edit]


  • The Train (Witness, episode 25) (2001), written, directed and with cinematography by Wylie – Channel 4/October Films, 50 minutes, produced by Liana Pomerantsev, Russian with English subtitles.
  • YoYo (2002) – Channel 4/October Films.
  • Jesus Comes To London (2003) – Channel 4/October Films.
  • The 12th (season 1, episode 3) (2003), directed by Wylie – 10 minutes, produced by Fulcrum Waddell Media.

Solo exhibitions[edit]




  1. ^ a b c d O'Hagan, Sean (24 October 2013). "Spies like us: Donovan Wylie captures the impact of surveillance". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Pulver, Andrew (10 March 2010). "Photographer Donovan Wylie's best shot". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Candy/A Good and Spacious Land: June 15, 2017–August 20, 2017" Yale University Art Gallery. Accessed 30 June 2017
  4. ^ "Candy/A Good and Spacious Land" Yale University Art Gallery. Accessed 30 June 2017
  5. ^ "Exhibition History, 1971 - Present" (PDF). The Photographers' Gallery. 
  6. ^ "Outposts: Donovan Wylie". 
  7. ^ "Institute for Contemporary Art presents Larry Towell, Donovan Wylie, Afghanistan". 
  8. ^ "Donovan Wylie: Vision as Power" South Bank London. Accessed 24 June 2017
  9. ^ "Television Craft | New Director - Factual in 2002", British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Accessed 30 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Deutsche Börse photography prize 2010: the shortlist" The Guardian, 29 October 2009. Accessed 24 June 2017
  11. ^ "The 2010 Deutsche Börse Prize shortlist" Francis Hodgson, Financial Times, 27 February 2010. Accessed 24 June 2017
  12. ^ "Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2010: Drusilla Beyfus introduces the four nominees for this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize." Drusilla Beyfus, The Daily Telegraph, 18 January 2010. Accessed 24 June 2017
  13. ^ "Photographs of Afghanistan by Donovan Wylie will go on show at National Media Museum" Telegraph & Argus, 26 August 2011. Accessed 24 June 2017
  14. ^ "Donovan Wylie: Outposts - Bradford Fellowship 2010/11" National Science and Media Museum, 10 August 2011. Accessed 24 June 2017
  15. ^ "The Maze/Long Kesh Prison: Sports field 2" Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed 29 June 2017
  16. ^ "Collection / 80 results for "Donovan Wylie" out of 446,898 records" Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed 29 June 2017
  17. ^ "You searched for: Wylie, Donovan" Victoria and Albert Museum. Accessed 29 June 2017
  18. ^ "Collection Search: Wylie, Donovan" Milwaukee Art Museum. Accessed 24 June 2017
  19. ^ "Donovan Wylie: Irish, born 1971" National Gallery of Canada. Accessed 29 June 2017
  20. ^ "Search the Collection" National Gallery of Canada. Accessed 29 June 2017
  21. ^ "Donovan Wylie 1971" Science Museum Group. Accessed 24 June 2017
  22. ^ "The Losing Ground Series" Science Museum Group. Accessed 24 June 2017
  23. ^ "Donovan Wylie" Centre Georges Pompidou. Accessed 29 June 2017
  24. ^ "Donovan Wylie (born Belfast, 1971)" Ulster Museum. Accessed 24 June 2017

External links[edit]