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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Darwell

Dates:  1955, 9 November -
Born:  UK, Lancashire, Bolton
Active:  UK / US / Ukraine / Slovakia / Colombia / Japan / Netherlands / Italy / Greece / Finland
Post industrial landscapes, the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and "Dark Days" a study of 2001 UK Foot and Mouth epidemic.

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John Darwell
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Contemporary photographers
ThumbnailJohn Darwell: An evolving retrospective 
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Contemporary British documentary photography.
Theme: Documentary
ThumbnailJohn Darwell: Legacy - Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 
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John Darwell is an independent photographer working with museums and galleries on projects that reflect his interest in social and industrial change and his concern for the environment and issues around the depiction of mental health.
John is Associate Senior Lecturer in photography at the University of Bolton and a part-time lecturer at the University of Cumbria.
He will shortly be completing practice led PhD research entitled ‘A Black Dog Came Calling: The Visualisation of Depression Through Contemporary Photography’.
His work has been exhibited, and published, widely nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in London, Amsterdam, the USA, Mexico, South America and the Canary Islands, and is featured in a number of important collections including the National Museum of Photography Film and Television, Bradford, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Past projects include ‘The Big Ditch’ on the Manchester Ship Canal, ‘Regeneration’ on the demise of the steel industry in Sheffield, ‘Scratching the Surface’ on the quarries of the English Lake District, plus a trilogy of projects based around nuclear history, this work has taken him to sites around the world that have become notorious due to their nuclear connections, including Los Alamos, the Trinity Site, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Sellafield and Chernobyl.
John has just completed shooting a major project, supported by the Arts Council of England North West, entitled “Not Starting from Here”. This work can best be described as a psychological ‘journey’ loosely based on the west coast of Cumbria that follows its 80 mile coastline along the north west of England.
To date he has had six books of his work published. Most recently ‘Dark Days’ based on the 2001 UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic (Dewi Lewis Publishing March 2007) and ‘Committed to Memory’ a twenty five year retrospective published by Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery (2007).
1999- Sunderland University, researching PhD on the photographic depiction of depression and mental health (Completion 2007)
1976–1980 Manchester Polytechnic, BA Hons, Photography
1974–1976 Bolton College of Art and Design, Foundation Course
Solo exhibitions
2007 "Committed To Memory", Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle
2006 "A Black Dog Came Calling", The Institute of Psychiatry Art Gallery, London
2004 (h)arris, installation sited at 15 rail stations along Cumbria Coastal Line
2003 After Schwitters, Kurt Schwitters & the Merzbarn Conference, Cumbria
2002 Consequences, Inaugural exhibition, Gallery, Oldham
2001 Legacy, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle
1998 By Association, Tom Blau Gallery, London
1998 By Association, Folly Gallery, Lancaster
1997 First and Last, Viewpoint Gallery, Salford
1997 By Association, Mill Gallery, Carlisle
1996 Where it all began, Centro Colombo Americano, Medellin, Colombia
1996 In Isolation, Euston Station Escalators, London
1996 Workplace. Durham Art Gallery, Durham
1995 Jimmy Jock…Fotonoviembre, Centro de Fotografia, Santa Cruz, Tenerife
1994 The Big Ditch, Duncan of Jordanstone Gallery, Dundee
1994 Scratching the Surface, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle
1993 Jimmy Jock, Albert & the Six Sided Clock, Maritime Museum, Liverpool
1993 The Big Ditch, Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead
1992 The Big Ditch, Manor Gallery, Carlisle
1992 The Big Ditch, Calderdale Industrial Museum, Halifax, Yorkshire
1991 The Big Ditch, Castle Park Arts Centre, Frodsham, Cheshire
1990 The Big Ditch, Maritime Museum, Liverpool
1990 The Big Ditch, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Blackburn
1989 Borderland, Manor Gallery, Carlisle, Cumbria
1989 Regeneration, Untitled Gallery, Sheffield
1987 Working Lives, Bonnington Gallery, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham
1986 The Big Ditch, Viewpoint Gallery, Salford, Manchester
1986 Working Lives, Side Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
1986 Working Lives, Stockport Art Gallery, Stockport
1984 Cityscapes, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, Cumbria
1984 Landscapes, Stockport Art Gallery, Stockport
Group exhibitions
2007 Legacy Harbour Gallery, Whitehaven, Cumbria
2006 "Liminal Britain", University of North Texas
2006 "Terror", Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
2006 "Uneasy Spaces", 80 Washington Sq East Galleries, NYU Gallery, New York
2006 Water Level Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
2006 New Views, Old Landscapes Circle Gallery, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
2006 The Cultural Documents of FMD Holden Gallery, Manchester
2005 "Madness", Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy
2005 In Isolation, SAFotofest, San Antonio, Texas
2005 New Horizons, Lowood Gallery, Cumbria
2005 Dark Days (abridged) ICIA, Bath
2005 Madness Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy
2005 Liminal Britain University North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas
2005 (f)actual. The Gallery, Napier University, Edinburgh
2005 Moment by Moment, Lowood Gallery, Cumbria
2004 A Black Dog Came Calling, Mad For Arts Exhibition, Tate Modern
2004 Images of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic, Royal Agricultural Show
2003 A Different World. Part of River Journey’s exhibition. The Lowry, Salford
2003 Disaster Areas. ArtConnexion. Amsterdam (with R.Misrach, P. Seawright)
1999 The Shed, Collins Gallery, Glasgow
1996 Untitled Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico
1996 Water, Photometro Gallery, San Francisco, USA
1996 Discoveries, Foto Fest, Houston, Texas, USA
1995 Paradise Lost, National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford
1991 The Sheffield Project, Mappin, Graves and Untitled Galleries, Sheffield
1990 Transport in the Park, Trafford Park Arts Centre, Manchester
1989 Regeneration, Untitled Gallery, Sheffield
1989 Common Roots, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester
1987 100 Years of Photography in Salford, Viewpoint Gallery, Salford
1986 Sun Life, Best of British Photography Awards, NMPFT, Bradford
2003 Arts Council England North West. Major production award
2000 Northern Arts Publishing Award for Legacy
1999–2001 Northern Arts ‘Artists Professional Development Scheme’ mentoring award
2000 Northern Arts ‘Visual Arts’ Award
1999 Northern Arts ‘Visual Arts’ Award
1999 Short listed for Northern Electric Arts Achievement Award
1998 Northern Arts ‘Photography Production Award’
1997 British Council ‘Visiting Artist’ Award
1997 Northern Arts ‘Travel and Training’ Award
1996 Northern Arts ‘Photography Production Award’
1995 Northern Arts ‘Photography Production Award’
1994 Northern Arts ‘Travel and Training’ Award
1993 Northern Arts Publication Award
1993 Arts Council of Great Britain Publication Award
1992 Northern Arts ‘Photography Production Award’
1992 Northern Arts ‘Travel and Training’ Award
1990 Northern Arts ‘Travel and Training’ Award
1986 Short listed, final four, NMPFT/Sun Life Award
1986 Arts Council of Great Britain Publication Award
1986 North West Arts Photography Award
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Centro de Fotografia, Tenerife
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Kings College/Maudsley Hospital Trust, London
British Film Institute, London
Arthur Anderson Collection, London Site Gallery, Sheffield
National Museum of Photography, Film and Television/ Sun Life Collection, Bradford
Maritime Museum, Liverpool
Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle
City Art Gallery, Manchester
Arts Council North West, Manchester
Stockport Art Gallery, Stockport
Viewpoint Gallery, Salford  

Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
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