Caught by the River

The Recent Past

23rd October 2017

Matilda Temperley gives The Recent Past, a new book of James Ravilious’s rural photographs, the once-over:

James Ravilious’s The Recent Past is an intimate portrait of in North Devon in the 1970s and 80s.

This selection of black and white images is the first of his work to be published in a book since 2000. It is introduced by his widow Robin, who beautifully describes his devotion to documenting his community.

Ravilious’s dedication and love for his subject is apparent throughout. He takes us into blizzards, snowdrifts, hunts, christenings and village fairs. However, the most intimate pictures are those of everyday rural life. His clever framing and beautiful use of light make these images of the mundane seem anything but. The Recent Past is both a historic document and an artistic triumph. Ravilious remains one of he UK’s most important rural photographers.


The Recent Past is published by Wilmington Square Books on 2 November, and is available to preorder here.

Matilda Temperley on Caught by the River/on Instagram