Ruth Robson’s interest in photography began when she was given a Brownie box camera in the late 40s.
That camera clearly started her on a journey destined to last a lifetime as Ruth continues to take photographs and her work is being showcased at a new exhibition in Batley.
Ruth was born in 1931 in Sheppton, a small coal mining town in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania.
After attending university and eventually lecturing at the University of Toronto, Canada and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Ruth left America for England.
She arrived in Leeds in the early Sixties to study in the Department of Textile Industries at Leeds University and was awarded a PhD degree.
Ruth has lived and worked in Leeds ever since.
The work, which will be shown in Batley Library’s Art Kiosk and Balcony Gallery, includes images taken when Ruth first arrived in England.
It will also feature her recent explorations of the legacy of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, centred on the Batley Library building.
There’s a lot to say thank you for to whoever gave Ruth that first box camera.
In those days, she would have to place and remove the film roll from the camera under the bed clothes to keep light out.
When she had taken her photographs, the film was sent off by post to Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York.
It took two weeks to get the prints back and see the results.
Ruth bought her first 35mm camera, a Practika, when she came to Leeds. She has since graduated to using a Canon digital SLR camera.
When it comes to taking pictures, Ruth considers herself an “all-rounder”.
She says she is attracted by patterns made by objects and scenes and strives to get the essence of the view whether a person, a place or a thing.
Her inclusion of work relating to Andrew Carnegie reflects her American roots and her strong ties to England.
Having attended exhibitions at the Carnegie Library Art Gallery during the past few years, Ruth became aware of the discussion surrounding the potential closure of council buildings.
She supported the petition to prevent the closure of the library, and thus the idea was born for an exhibition to commemorate the legacy of Andrew Carnegie – who emigrated to Pennsylvania – and to show some of the work of someone who made the journey in the opposite direction.
Ruth first started to exhibit her work five years ago in the Newlyn Gallery, West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and the Tonic Gallery, Leeds General Infirmary.
Since then she has exhibited in The New York Hall of Science, Queens, New York; The Orangery, Wakefield; South Square Gallery, Thornton, Bradford; the Lawrence Batley Theatre here in Huddersfield as well as the Calderdale Open, Bankfield Museum, Halifax.
The exhibition at Batley runs until November 9 and entry is free. For further details contact Batley library on 01924 326021.
Batley Library and Art Gallery is in Market Place, Batley.