sue davies | the photographers gallery

very sad to note the death of sue davies, founder and direc­tor of the pho­tog­ra­phers gallery in lon­don. the gallery has played a cen­tral role in the devel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of pho­to­graph­ic cul­ture in the late C20 and into the 21st. the fol­low­ing is the offi­cial announce­ment from the pho­tog­ra­phers gallery:
Sue Davies OBE, Found­ing Direc­tor of The Pho­tog­ra­phers’ Gallery, has died aged 87
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TPG is deeply sad­dened to announce that Sue Davies OBE, its found­ing direc­tor, has died aged 87 on Sat 18 April.


Sue found­ed The Pho­tog­ra­phers’ Gallery in London’s Covent Gar­den in 1971 as the first pub­lic space ded­i­cat­ed to pho­tog­ra­phy and pho­tog­ra­phers.  Her pas­sion, deter­mi­na­tion and belief in pho­tog­ra­phy – not just as an art form, but as one of the most pow­er­ful means of reflect­ing and chang­ing the world around us, laid the foun­da­tions for the Gallery’s rai­son d’être. 


Sue was Direc­tor of the Gallery from 1971 – 1991 and worked tire­less­ly to gar­ner finan­cial and cre­ative sup­port for its excep­tion­al pro­gramme of informed, imag­i­na­tive, often provoca­tive, exhi­bi­tions.  From the out­set they encom­passed a broad range of top­ics and forms and intro­duced [often unknown, always inter­est­ing] inter­na­tion­al pho­tog­ra­phers to a UK audi­ence.  Her com­mit­ment to emer­gent tal­ent and the devel­op­ment of the form remain one of her great­est lega­cies for both the Gallery and pho­tog­ra­phy more wide­ly.   She will be very much missed. 


Brett Rogers, OBE, Cur­rent Direc­tor of TPG


When Sue decid­ed in 1970 that Lon­don need­ed a ded­i­cat­ed space for pho­tog­ra­phy, she had no idea that her pas­sion and deter­mi­na­tion would result in the world’s first inde­pen­dent gallery devot­ed to the medi­um or indeed pave the way for so many oth­ers to follow. 


TPG begun its life in an old Lyons tea room in Covent Gar­den in 1971 and from the very out­set offered a vibrant hub for pho­tog­ra­phers and a place for vis­i­tors to encounter excep­tion­al inter­na­tion­al pho­tog­ra­phy.   Sue’s vision for the Gallery was root­ed in a spir­it of col­lab­o­ra­tion.  From the out­set, she gath­ered a group of like-mind­ed peo­ple to work with her to ensure that TPG was first and fore­most a place for pho­tog­ra­phers to exhib­it, share, meet and sell their work.  Equal­ly she want­ed to offer an envi­ron­ment to inspire, edu­cate and inform audi­ences about the piv­otal — and unique — role pho­tog­ra­phy plays in our lives and com­mu­ni­ties.   These prin­ci­ples con­tin­ue to inform the Gallery’s mis­sion today. 


We are dev­as­tat­ed that Sue won’t be with us as TPG cel­e­brates its 50th anniver­sary in 2021.  With­out her extra­or­di­nary fore­sight, the many per­son­al sac­ri­fices she made and her com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing and exhibit­ing pho­tog­ra­phers, TPG wouldn’t be where and what it is today.’


Her fam­i­ly have released the fol­low­ing statement:


Four days after her 87th birth­day, Sue Davies has passed away, sur­round­ed by her fam­i­ly in Hereford. 


First and fore­most a sis­ter, moth­er, grand­moth­er and great grand­moth­er, Sue extend­ed her gen­er­ous heart to friends across the globe. The world of pho­tog­ra­phy will miss the Founder of The Pho­tog­ra­phers’ Gallery.  She estab­lished a major place in the role and his­to­ry of the medi­um and showed illu­mi­nat­ing and influ­en­tial exhi­bi­tions by both famous and emerg­ing photographers.


Sue Davies will be remem­bered for her pas­sion, her intu­ition and vision. She will also be remem­bered as a good mah-jong and bridge play­er, a live­ly mem­ber of Chelsea Arts Club and fun, intel­li­gent and feisty.’


Susan Eliz­a­beth (Sue) Davies (née Adey), 14 April 1933 – 18 April 2020


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