“Fragile Appearances is an invitation to a world hidden behind a layer of glitter and curtains of red velvet. Its participants are mere escapists from a reality that secludes them in the materialism of their daily life. A piano, a musical style dictated by old fashions together with overpriced amounts of alcohol are the companion for an evening of forgiveness in the heart of Cardiff Bay.”
Now you say you are lonely,
but your life is luxurious
and your taste is refined.
In a civilized existence,
Where you all live with style.
Is it dramatic? Is it glamorous?
I thought that was what you were looking for. Ostentation, vulgarity
At the end your gold is just plastic.
Sebastian Bardo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 2010 he has been based in Wales, where he studies Documentary Photography at The University of South Wales, Newport. His most recent work will be exhibited in the Pill Millennium Center, Newport on the 30th of May 2014.
To see more of Sebastian’s current project visit Made in Pill
Over the past two decades Cardiff Bay started a transition that would see it aspire to become a leisure and cultural centre for the capital city of Wales. This is the first of two blog posts looking at the work of Bandia Ribeira (Spain) and then Sebastian Bardo (Argentina) who photograph those who are a part of the transitional and aspirational change occurring in the Bay.
“The interesting part of a new town, the new builds and the new views are the old people that remain and habitat the same but changed ground. The overall sense I get from both projects are the people who look like they belong or at least belonged to a place that was there before the transition occurred. The pubs and clubs were ‘upgraded’, knocked down and replaced with new and shiny shit-holes. There’s nothing wrong with shit-holes as long as they’ve evolved into and become the shit-hole of that area, the local. A place that’s evolved and become part of the community, a place that has known christenings, engagements, weddings and funerals, first pints and last pints first fights and dead nights. To build a new shit-hole, that’s another thing.” Gawain Barnard.
Bandia Ribeira explains, “Bae Teigr means Tiger Bay in Welsh language. This is the name with which this part of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, was known in the old times. The face of the city that looks at the sea, home of the old docks, which hosted the main exporting industry of coal in Britain at the beginning of twentieth century. Tiger Bay was the biggest multicultural community in Britain outside London, due to the settlement of sailormen, dockworkers and their families from different parts of the world, mainly from Horn of Africa’s countries.
With the process of decline of the industry which started after the Second World War, the place started to lose its industrial use and in 1987 a plan of regeneration was given shape under the so called Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, which aimed to attract private capital by spending public money. Following a tendency started in other British cities and towns, “a new unplanned landscape emerged symbolizing the New Labour’s attempt to transform the Welfare State into a giant business” * (1).
Nowadays, Cardiff Bay is the biggest seaside leisure area in Europe. The space is filled by restaurants, cafes, an auditorium and a variety of recreational facilities. There is nothing left from the industrial past and once you step on there, seems that it never existed, as if history had been removed in one night. The old local community has been kept apart from this process, and a lack of identification with this new real state artifact appears as a general feeling.
This is a work about the place through my own experience and the people that I came across. In Cardiff Bay I could not find a “close community” as I was told the place was like a hundred of years ago. Instead, a multiplicity of communities distanced from each other arises as a consequence of modernization and “urban regeneration”. Modernization understood as a process of “disembedding”, the “lifting out of social relations from local contexts and their recombination across infinite tracts of space and time. Many human beings physically absent from each other, not constrained by the mediation of place” *(2).
The production of this series of photographs is an attempt to speak about how people experience this artificial new spaces and their consequences on our behavior. The violence and uncertainty that it involves and its weight on individuals, which seem to be confronting themselves with a medium always untrustworthy. A community formed by many communities, separated from each other and a history whose weight has been weakened by the competition of market forces.”
Bandia Ribeira was born in A Coruña, Spain in 1979. She is studying Documentary Photography at University of South Wales and won the Scholarship of the Seminar of Photography and Journalism of Albarrracin in 2010 and the City of Barcelona Award 2011 for Educational projects for this work.
*1 – Owen Hatherley, “A guide to the new ruins of Great Britain”, Verso Books, London, 2010.
*2 – John Berger, “Ways of Remenbering”, “The CameraWork Essays: context and meaning in photography”, Rivers Oram
Press, London, 1997.
“After 150 years on the same site, the final sale of cattle and sheep at Abergavenny Livestock Market took place on 10th December 2013. Monmouthshire County Council, which owned the site, sold it to a large supermarket chain and opened a brand new livestock market nearby at Raglan.
I moved to Abergavenny 2 years ago from Oxford and regularly walked past the market as it was right in the centre of town and very close to where I live. Instinctively I started to photograph it as I had never lived so close to such a spectacle: hundreds of sheep and cattle brought into the centre of a town to be bought and sold is quite something.
Rural life and a regular reminder of where our food comes from right in the middle of town, twice a week. Soon I found out that the market was closing and a campaign to keep it open had finally failed. A last sale date was set and I increased the time I spent photographing at the market during the last few months, getting to know some of the farmers and auctioneers, and spending lost of time talking, eating and drinking tea (50p) in the market cafe.
Most of the shots that finally made it into my edit were taken during the 2 penultimate sales. This was the period when people at the market were used to me being around and taking photographs but before the final week when lots of media and curious people descended on the market for the spectacle and nostalgia of the very last sale. The last ‘beast’ sold went for about £1000 more than usual and, after asking nicely, I was given the menu that used to hang in the cafe. It now hangs in my kitchen.”
Monmouthshire Museums bought a box of 30 prints from the project and also supported Jack Thurston and James who made an audio slideshow of the work which you can view here. Prints of the work are available at jamesahudson.info