Observations – Collections – Recollections

Pete Davis

Observations, Collections, Recollections. Pete Davis: A Lifetime in Photography will open at the Gergynog Gallery at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth on 4th March.

‘The opportunity to review and exhibit six decades of work comes along very rarely for any individual, even if you are lucky, once in a lifetime. However, this is more than just a nostalgic ‘looking back’, the exhibition also contains much new work which offers a glimpse of how my photography might develop further and builds on previous ideas and themes that have interested me over the years’.

‘Ideas and attitudes to creative work alter as time progresses and reactions to particular images change as they are viewed in a different historical and social context from the ones in which they were created. This applies to my own reviewing of this work in addition to the opinions of others. Accordingly, the exhibition features a number of images, some made many decades ago that I have ‘rediscovered’ and never printed before’.

‘Most of the major bodies of work I have undertaken over the years are represented in this exhibition, in addition to images never before seen or printed. Hopefully this will allow viewers to understand my lifelong fascination with particular aspects of the world around us and to observe how I have used various photographic styles and strategies to represent these’.

‘Much of my work may appear to concentrate on the more prosaic elements of our environment; however, photography has the ability to not just represent but to reveal and re-present these in a form that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. I have always loved almost every aspect of life and our environment and it has always been my intention to capture those seemingly mundane moments and surroundings that might pass unnoticed unless observed by a sympathetic eye. These observations have then been collected into coherent bodies of work that allow for the recollections in the future’.

The large format photography of Welsh photographer Dr Pete Davis can be seen in many collections including The Arts Council of Wales, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, National Library of Wales, Museo Genna Maria, Sardinia, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Pete has been taking photographs since the age of eleven. After leaving Splott Secondary Modern School in Cardiff at the age of fifteen and working at Cardiff University, he spent ten years as an advertising and fashion photographer in Cardiff. Pete moved to rural West Wales in 1977 from where he has embarked on field trips around the British Isles, Europe and the USA with his large format camera. For eighteen years Pete was senior lecturer in documentary photography at the University of Wales, Newport and for nine of those years the course leader. Pete is currently a visiting lecturer at a number of universities and also engaged with his photographic projects and research collaborations. He has received numerous research grants and awards and was the winner of the 2002 Wakelin Purchase Prize for Welsh artists.

Recent international exhibitions have included the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, Gallery International, Baltimore, USA, at the Feick Arts Center, Poultney, Vermont, USA and at the Fotomuseum, Antwerp. Pete was also been an artist in residence and conducted masterclasses at the Polytechnic, Porto, Portugal, Green Mountain College, Vermont, USA,and as part of the Ulster Arts Festival, Belfast. He completed his Ph.D in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University in 2009.

You can see more about the exhibition on the NLW website.