Photography exhibition captures Devon’s waterscapes
'Rivers and Streams' runs from 15 September – 4 November at Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon, TQ13 9AF
South West photographer Jem Southam is to feature in a solo exhibition at one of the UKs largest contemporary craft galleries: the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey. One of the UK's leading photographers, he has exhibited at the V&A London and Tate St. Ives and is known for his colour landscapes, often
of single locations patiently observed over many months. Waters of the South West are his trademark and this exhibition focusses on Devon's River Exe - the body
of water running from Exmoor in the north through Exeter to the Exe
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Estuary in south Devon. Jem revisited its estuary and tributaries in a
3-year investigation which captured changing seasons, atmospheric
conditions and effects of time.
Jem uses 'antiquated' equipment taking a heavy (20-30 kg) modern version of a Victorian camera on-site to produce 2 or 3 exposures in a day. The large-plate negatives capture entrancing detail and are then enlarged using digital imaging to 44'' x 53'' prints on special 'rag' paper. Viewers can contrast these with the more intimate series of Dartmoor Streams presented on more traditional, analogue contact-prints. They may also ponder the complex relationship between art and craft discovered through the photographs of 'Rivers and Streams'.
The artist's thoughtful approach to photographing the Exe was influenced by local children who, when asked to 'draw a river' included personal memories and experience as well as referencing maps and illustrations. Jem's atmospheric waterscapes show us beautiful detail but also reveal the River's indefinable, ever-changing quality. Visitors can attend an illustrated talk by the artist on 18 Oct, students are invited to free gallery tours (2 & 8 Oct) and families can help create a DIY waterscape in the gallery for this year's Big Draw (30, 31 Oct). Admission is free. Open 7 days a week 10am-5.30pm.
Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9AF 01626 832223 www.crafts.org.uk