Month: August 2018

Thoughts on the Final Major Project

The aim of the project is changing, its moving back towards the very reasons why I wanted to do the MA in Photography. Its becoming less about the need to compare two areas of the country and more about the area around Merthyr Vale concentrating on the now derelict Crescent and Taff Streets. With the redevelopment of the Colliery site for housing there is now an opportunity to compare / contrast the old / new.

The original project also wanted to look at the concept of ‘Hiraeth’ and this is becoming the major driving force behind the work. Also of increasing importance is the journey to Merthyr Vale, usually made by train, and the memories that are evoked by the places that you pass through.

Several sets of images have been made of Crescent and Taff Street, to my mind some of the more successful were those involving the placing of A3 sheets of paper on which were written the words from Idris Davies’ Gwalia Deserta but, this concept also requires further experimentation and development alongside an investigation into any copyright issues that would arise from the use of the poem. Possible developments of this concept could involve night time photography, highlighting the A3 sheets, light painting of the houses and photographing in different weather types. It would also be a worthwhile experiment to try out the use of the A3 sheets in areas outside of the original Crescent/Taff street area, possibly even on the mountainside above the village.

I think the original FMP aims were far too broad and ill defined. This, alongside the realisation that I do not have the time at present to be able to complete the aims in a worthwhile manner have led to a re-alignment of priorities and a re-evaluation of the original concept.

Why would the images have to be presented as single images – why not present them as a series of Diptych images, combine the built up and the country areas or, Merthyr Vale and Pendeen images (if wishing to pursue the original aim).



A Year In Their Lives

Visit to Roy Carr’s Exhibition ‘A Year In Thier Lives’

Cynon Valley Museum, Aberdare, 07/07/18

A Year In Their Lives – Medium / Ffoton

Image Copyright Roy Carr

Roy Carr is a very talented ‘amateur’ photographer who usually specialises in Landscape Photography. The exhibition follows his year long project ‘A Year In Their Lives’ and documents the sheep farming calendar throughout the year.

Although taking place in small area the exhibition layout was well lit and planned with a very effective use of the space available being made. The images on display were a pleasing mixture of colour and monochrome. Unlike the previous exhibition visited (WPF Salon, Swansea) the images presented here were not ‘over-edited’ but sharp and very natural in appearance, the layout followed a definite narrative structure. Information cards were well presented and written making the whole exhibition well structured and easy to follow.


All Images Copyright Roy Carr

The work presented by Roy has give me greater encouragement in the pursuit of my own project, Roy had designed, assembled and financed the project and exhibition himself, producing something that would have been worthy of a professional gallery or exhibition space yet retaining a warmth sadly missing from many such places.


WPF Salon / Exhibition

Exhibition visted 16th June 2018, Volcano Theatre, Swansea

WPF = Welsh Photographic Federation, This is the organisation to which most Camera Clubs / Photographic Societies (but not all) belong.

This is a yearly event in which members of each club are invited to participate, each member can submit a selection of prints or digital images for projection to the Salon where they will be judged by a panel, the results of the judging are place on public display and awards for various categories made.

Compared to the previous exhibition that I had visited (Diane Arbus at the Burton Gallery, Bideford) this was well presented and equally well lit making it easy to view the images placed on display. There were a wide variety of different categories of image on display ranging from heavily manipulated / photo-shopped images to wildlife, portraiture,sport abstract in both colour and monochrome formats.

Although the images were, on the whole, well edited and presented I did notice an increasing tendency towards very heavy editing, almost moving into the hyper-real – the images did not look natural. Conversations with several members of the public and a professional photographer confirmed that this was the case and not just a subjective interpretation of the work by myself. For myself, the most realistic of the images were those shot in monochrome – they seemed to have more ‘presence’ than the bright, extremely sharp and somewhat unreal colour prints (the wildlife prints were the notable exception to this rule).

I’m not sure why but I found the whole thing disheartning and a little unreal.

Photography was permitted in this exhibition – examples of the layout and display are shown below:-

Although it did not appear to have won an award, the best print / print with the most impact, for me, is the one shown below :-


To my mind there is a definite story attached to this image. I particularly liked the reflection in the window and the relationship that has been created between the bright, upbeat text and the sleeping figure. Of all the images that were on display this is the only one that kept drawing me back for a second look.


Diane Arbus Exhibition, Burton Gallery, Bideford, 30/05/18

Notes from a visit to the Diane Arbus Exhibition at the Burton Gallery in Bideford, 30/05/18.

No photography was permitted throughout the exhibition. This was visited whilst on holiday in the area. The galley area consisted of two rooms with the images spaced equally around the walls of the rooms. The presentation of the images appeared to be rather poor, the lighting was very uneven producing lots of reflections off the photographs and the glass behind which they were mounted. Cards were placed at the start of each wall indicating which images were on display – these would have been better placed under or next to each of the images.

I’ve never been a great fan of the work of Diane Arbus before visiting this exhibition and nothing that I viewed there has changed that opinion.  I found the work itself to be a little disconcerting, occasionally making for an uncomfortable viewing experience caused by a growing feeling that the subjects were being, in some way, exploited. Many of the images seemed, to me, to be very ‘flat’ and ‘un-interesting’ not really holding my attention or inciting me to look deeper into the image.

I do not think that the layout, lighting and presentation of the images on display ‘helped’ me to gain a deeper appreciation of the work.  Overall, for myself, this was a disappointing experience.