Below Swallow Falls

Joyce Paul (1941 - )

Black and white photograph


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Image of Below Swallow Falls
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Wales Office, Gwydyr House, Whitehall

    This panoramic black and white photograph captures the powerful tumbling waters at Swallow Falls, where the River Llugwy flows through a narrow chasm in the Gwydir Forest in Snowdonia National Park. It is part of an untitled series of images which explore the Welsh landscape, that Paul Joyce began in the summer of 1976. In his simple, pared-down images, Joyce draws attention to the changing seasons and the time of day. His concern is with the fundamental elements of the earth, namely water, sky and land. In forcing us to confront the bare elements of the landscape, we are encouraged to ponder just how small and inconsequential we are when matched against the vastness of nature. The impersonal composition of the images – the fact that we are not aware of the photographer’s presence or his viewpoint when taking these photographs – further reinforces the idea that landscape has the power to dwarf and overwhelm human presence. Joyce has a background in television, making documentary and feature films, but has said that he finds still photography the most expressive and personal medium to work in.

  • About the artist
    The photographer Paul Joyce was born in Hampshire in 1941 and has lived and worked in the UK all his life. In the 1960s he worked as a director and filmmaker, and his work encompassed TV documentaries; the Doctor Who story 'Warriors’ Gate'; a comedy written by Tom Stoppard; a film adaptation of a short play by Samuel Beckett; and stage productions of plays by Harold Pinter and Joe Orton. He first exhibited his photography at a group show entitled 'New Photography' at The Midland Group Gallery in Nottingham in 1974. His work has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Arts Council England. In 1977 another exhibition of his work, 'Elders', was held at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He has a considerable collection of monochrome portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, featuring many celebrated artists including John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Bill Brandt and Henry Moore.
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  • Details
    Below Swallow Falls
    Black and white photograph
    Purchased from the artist, April 1977
    GAC number