by Dryden Goodwin

hand holding pencil drawing a mans face


  • 13 minute 30 second extract from Reveal


  • 1Video still from Reveal
  • 2Artist's diagram for drawing device
  • 3Reveal installed at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, UK
  • 4Reveal installed at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, UK
  • 5Reveal installed at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, UK

Video still from Reveal


Reveal was conceived in response to Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire's long standing association with the photographic image and explores the relationship between drawing, photography and the moving image. Reveal originally consisted of three elements, a single screen video projection, an accompanying soundtrack and a series of 36 drawings.

In his proposal for the work he wrote "Through the use of a specially constructed video camera device I intend to record the process of making a series of portrait drawings of strangers whom I have encountered in public spaces. These strangers will be those who are prepared to sit for various lengths of time and unexpectedly but willingly engage in being the subject of a drawing. In my research and introduction to the work of Fox Talbot I have been fascinated by the terminology used to describe the emerging discoveries around photographic development. Photographs and negatives were consistently referred to as‘photogenic drawings'; the term ‘drawing' being used as a means to express this kind of realistic representation and image making. "

Dryden Goodwin doesn't often make contact with the strangers he draws in public places. A person on a train may attract his attention by their expression or perhaps the way the light is falling across their face. He may be near by, trying to avoid catching their eye, but often he's drawing them from a distance or drawing their reflection in a window. In contrast in Reveal he introduces himself, declaring his intentions, requesting a time to spend in the individual's company. It is an unusual, even strange request with its own tensions. Goodwin is requesting a brief doorway, to be given permission to look intensely at a stranger. Within the proximity of each encounter the priorities of the drawing process are changed as he simultaneously negotiates a relationship with each individual whilst attempting to harness their likeness.

The video image focuses on the paper and the evolution of each portrait from the fixed viewpoint of a small camera device above a drawing board. Images unfurl like photographic exposures and revive the brief relationships Goodwin forms with strangers he approaches in public places. The video discloses the decision process and accumulation of marks for each drawing, as well as the incremental exchange between ‘sitter' and ‘artist', a disclosure of the length or brevity, the comfort or discomfort or the success or failure of each encounter.

Picture This and South West Screen commissioned Reveal with the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire as the first project in the Historic Sites series.


Year 2003
Duration 6 hours 32 minutes
Original format
Screening format Video
Aspect ratio
Audio Yes
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 1


Commissioned by Picture This, Bristol and South West Screen and Funded by the Arts Council of England National Touring Programme and South West Screen.

Related Items:

Dryden Goodwin

Central to Dryden Goodwin's practice is a fascination with drawing which is often combined with photography, film and large screen-based

Historic Sites
2003 - 2005

Between 2003 and 2005 Picture This produced a suite of commissions, each looking at the site and stories within historic buildings.