“When I get my film back I bring things into consciousness. I look at the reasons why I pressed the shutter at that moment. I can see what’s playing out, what’s driving that moment and then what the narrative might be. When I reach for my camera I don’t conceptualise the moment, I just take the picture. If I did, then something would be lost and it wouldn’t be coming from the same place.”   - Siân Davey

    • Sian Davey, The River
      Sian Davey, The River
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    • Sian Davey, Last Summer Kiss
      Sian Davey, Last Summer Kiss
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    • Sian Davey, Martha, Wilderness
      Sian Davey, Martha, Wilderness
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  • Siân Davey’s photography illuminates pockets of experience from which photographers are often excluded. Her pictures feel at once intensely familiar, occurring in a domestic landscape of tangible intimacy, whilst carrying us into the situations and lives of others which are often hidden from view.

     

    Davey began taking photographs almost ten years ago, when she was drawing her 15-year psychotherapeutic practise to a close. Whilst Davey acknowledges that her background in psychotherapy and social policy is foundational to the way that she builds relationships and engages with people, she made the decision to look at the world from a new perspective – this time behind the lens.

     

  • Video credit: Dylan Friese-Greene

  • ALICE

  • Sian Davey, Not Invited, 2014

    Sian Davey

    Not Invited, 2014

    Looking for Alice is actually Alice’s story as much as mine. It is also a political piece and part of my decision was made from thinking how best to honestly and powerfully communicate the issues which arose for me as a photographer and a mother, as well as society’s relationship to ‘difference’, both historic and current.’

    • Sian Davey, Garden Gate, 2014
      Sian Davey, Garden Gate, 2014
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    • Sian Davey, Home, 2017
      Sian Davey, Home, 2017
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    • Sian Davey, Martha and Alice Christmas Morning, 2013
      Sian Davey, Martha and Alice Christmas Morning, 2013
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  • Davey’s transition from psychotherapy to photography took place just before the birth of her last child, Alice. Davey began photographing Alice when she was about a year old, and describes the resultant series, Looking for Alice (2015), as ‘a story of love and what gets in the way.’ Alice was born with Down’s Syndrome, and Davey felt compelled to communicate her story, guided intuitively by her daughter toward the themes that needed to be understood. Davey received the Hood Medal from the Photographic Society and PDN’s Arnold Newman Prize in recognition of this project. Two photographs from Looking for Alice were displayed at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the 2014 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

  • MARTHA

  • Davey has also worked closely with her stepdaughter, Martha, who is the subject of her 2018 book. Davey’s photographs of Martha form a complex, extended portrait which goes beyond empathy on the part of the photographer for her subject; These photographs are the product of a close and reciprocal relationship in which both participants explore their desire for self-understanding and mutual recognition. When Davey began photographing her stepdaughter, Martha was 16 – a moment that Davey describes as one of transitional ambiguity and freedom.

  • Sian Davey, Girls swimming at dusk, 2015-16

    Sian Davey

    Girls swimming at dusk, 2015-16

    In the images, I see the rhythms of bodies and the ways they congregate when we give them permission. Flesh finds flesh, whether alone on the bank of a river, or in a quiet moment while a crowd thrums around it. Sometimes a shyness is not quite cast off as easily as city clothes, while other times a person finds new pride and self-possession, standing in a swimming costume in the countryside in front of a stranger’s lens. We meet one another for a moment, and exchange a lasting glance, a rite of intimacy, a few days of presence, communion.

  • Davey was introduced to many of Martha’s friends, and found herself in the unusual position of being invited along to photograph teenagers –in swimming spots, parties, festivals and bedrooms. Beyond this community, Davey has also photographed her own friends, strangers and children at gatherings as part of her ongoing projects River and Communion. She deploys her understanding of interpersonal dynamics to engage with disparate individuals, exploring issues of identity and belonging through her pictures of their groupings and activity. Whilst these photographs have been exhibited as separate projects, there is an essential sensitivity and awareness which unites this far-reaching body of work.

  • Sian Davey, The River, 2017

    Sian Davey

    The River, 2017 C-type print
    56.5 x 45.2 cm
    Edition of 5 + 2 APs
  • ‘Digital cannot replicate the skin tones as analogue can, but importantly for me analogue is such a ‘quiet’ process, a kind of meditation. I’m not constantly referring to what I’ve just shot, so that means that all my senses are entirely engaged with whatever I am photographing.’

    Davey’s visual acuity is complemented by a strong technical facility, honed during the studies she undertook at the University of Plymouth where she received her MFA in 2016. Davey has recently been the subject of a major commission by the Wellcome Trust, and her work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery twice as part of the official selection of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Davey has received the Eugene Smith Fellowship Grant (2019), the Creative Review Zeitgeist Award (2018), the Prix Virginia (2016), Lens Culture’s International Emerging Photographer Award (2014) and New York Photo Award (2014).

  • Sian Davey, First Love, 2015

    Sian Davey

    First Love, 2015 C-type print
    56.5 x 45.2 cm
    Edition of 5 + 2 APs
  • Photographing adolescence is sensitive territory, with access being the primary concern, particularly as a parent. […] The process had this quality of me cultivating the skill of oscillating between invisibility and visibility, letting my intuition guide me in judging when it was ok to be there or not. It was important that I got a handle on the groups’ boundaries and that I didn’t overstep them – notwithstanding the fact that these boundaries were often unspoken.

  • AVAILABLE WORKS

    • Sian Davey, The River, 2014
      Sian Davey, The River, 2014
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    • Sian Davey, First Love, Luke, 2009
      Sian Davey, First Love, Luke, 2009
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    • Sian Davey, Before the Prom, 2016
      Sian Davey, Before the Prom, 2016
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    • Sian Davey, Kerala, 2015
      Sian Davey, Kerala, 2015
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    • Sian Davey, Together, 2018
      Sian Davey, Together, 2018
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    • Sian Davey, Gathered by the River - 7pm, 2015-16
      Sian Davey, Gathered by the River - 7pm, 2015-16
      £ 2500.00 EXCLUDES TAX, FRAME, SHIPPING
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    • Sian Davey, Communion, 2019
      Sian Davey, Communion, 2019
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    • Sian Davey, Chillies’s 18th, 2016
      Sian Davey, Chillies’s 18th, 2016
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    • Sian Davey, Mid-Summer Dartington Hall Estate, 2015-16
      Sian Davey, Mid-Summer Dartington Hall Estate, 2015-16
      £ 1500.00 EXCLUDES TAX, FRAME, SHIPPING
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    • Sian Davey, Before the Ball, 2014
      Sian Davey, Before the Ball, 2014
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    • Sian Davey, Martha in the Morning, 2015-16
      Sian Davey, Martha in the Morning, 2015-16
      £ 1500.00 EXCLUDES TAX, FRAME, SHIPPING
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    • Sian Davey, Early Morning Winter Light Joseph and Alice, 2014
      Sian Davey, Early Morning Winter Light Joseph and Alice, 2014
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    • Sian Davey, Joseph's Glove, 2016
      Sian Davey, Joseph's Glove, 2016
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  • FOR MORE AVAILABLE WORK PLEASE EMAIL GALLERY@MICHAELHOPPENGALLERY.COM