The River

Sian Davey


The background to this series began in the winter of 2012/2013. I was photographing this same section of the River Dart in Devon, near to my house. The conditions for most of this period were sodden and bleak. The banks of the river were continually ruptured by the torrent of fast-flowing water.

In the three years previous the British summer was non-existent, the rain taking a stronghold on the weather. Conversation was almost entirely referenced around the absence of sunshine, in response people were be-grudgingly holed up indoors.

Finally in the summer of 2013, the sun shone, the ground warmed up, as did the river. The local community took to this section of the river to swim in the spring water direct from the moors, and take shelter from the heat. Throughout the hot summer months I walked down the concrete track, to the same section of river, to photograph what I saw. It almost felt like a secret, a little slice of the rural idyll.

I worked without any assumptions or conceptual framework. I had no aim for this project in terms of a theme. To work without an agenda meant that my mind stayed open to possibilities. My only reference point was to learn how to see, for example observing how the quality of the light transformed everything minute by minute.

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