Explore Your Archive: Photography at Guildford School of Art

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Explore Your Archive

The Photography department in Guildford School of Art from the 1950s was a major centre of photographic excellence under Ifor Thomas, the Head of Photography. His wife Joy, was also a lecturer there and together they formed a highly acclaimed team. Among his students were Jane Bown, John Hedgecoe, John Cleare, and Ray Dean. Staff included Thurston Hopkins. One of the part-time staff, always critical to and of the intellectual and creative health of the school was Alfred Lammer, a photographer noted for his pictures of flowers and of stained glass windows. He set up the first school of colour photography in Britain at Guildford in 1952.

Our records from our Archives from Guildford School of Art showcase Photography past exhibitions, dating from the 1970s, can allow for creative ways of working. Use for themes such as time or memory, or put a ‘retro’ way of working in your current work. Materials from the past can be used in exhibitions today. The Whitechapel Gallery recreates exhibitions from the past, using photographic images, which can be used as a way of looking at biases, including political, in past exhibitions.

See, for example,

Black Eyes and Lemonade: Curating Popular Art, Whitechapel, London, until September 2013, taken from the exhibition in 1951

Photography exhibition, undated [1970s]

Photography exhibition, undated [1970s]

Material also includes Aspect, the student Photography journal

Aspect, Photography Journal from the Guildford School of Art. 1960s

Aspect, Photography Journal from the Guildford School of Art. 1960s


4 thoughts on “Explore Your Archive: Photography at Guildford School of Art

  1. Ifor Thomas was my much loved father. Joy Thomas my equally much loved mother. I still them both terribly, and I am hugely proud of their achievements in the world of photography.
    My childhood was a magical one, living with such artistic and charismatic parents.
    May they be remembered for ever.
    Rest in peace Ifor and Joy. You remain in the most special place in my heart.

    • Ifor Thomas was one of my uncles, being one of my mother’s(Enid Thomas) brothers from Cefneithin, the other 2 being Ieuan and Vernon.
      Sian -we are cousins!

      Robin Barnes(France)

      • Hi cousin Robin!
        We spoke on the phone some years ago when I was staying with auntie Morwen. I wish all of us cousins could have met more frequently when we were young, don’t you? My parents & I would stay with Mamgu at Avondale. Did you live in Cefneithin? It’s so close to Cross Hands, surely we would have met?
        Hope to hear from you Robin,
        All the best,

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