Thirty Years Ago

Roger Tiley

‘During the 1980s one of the greatest battles in industrial history erupted in the coalfields of Britain. The south Wales valleys were one of the key areas to subsequently feel the affects of pit closures. By the early 1990s, most collieries had closed and the mining workforce had melted into the history books.

Eighteen months ago I embarked on a project to make portraits of former miners and their families I originally photographed thirty years ago. I have also recorded interviews on audio and video, to run alongside with the still images to place powerful stories in the informative context that captures stories of fight, camaraderie and disappointment.

Three decades on, faces have aged and circumstances have changed. The landscape sculpted by coal has also changed. So it became apparent to combine both facets by placing large scale photocopy portraits in the former industrial environment. This was a fundamental narrative in telling the story.’

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‘The juxtapositioning of the two elements bring another dimension and meaning that highlights the sometimes-eerie circumstances of individual talking of the past. The postindustrial valleys are all too evident. The work is transient, as it diminishes into the fading industrial past, along with the dilution of the identity of the south Wales valleys culture of strong-willed communities.’

British LR

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In 1984 Roger Tiley, a photographer from the Gwent Valleys, was 24 years old. The miners strike was unwrapping on his doorstep and he documented it whilst working for newspapers.

You can see more of Roger’s work on the Miner’s Strike and Wales here.
@RogerTileyPhoto