We’re pleased to share the invite for this year’s Made in Wales exhibitions at Cardiff MADE, Carousel London and Oriel Colwyn. The exhibitions will include new work from members of the collective plus 27 photographers who’ve featured on our blog. Feel free to share this and we hope you will join us at one of the openings. Our invitation is available to download here.
We saw Tony Othen’s photographs of Cardiff on the Instagram feed for The Photographers Gallery as part of the promotion for their current exhibition Women, Children and Loitering Men by Shirley Baker. Tony’s photographs of Cardiff are currently on show in Stuttgart as part of A Tale of Two Cities which is a joint exhibition of Fotosummer Stuttgart and Ffotogallery Cardiff. The exhibition is at Kunstbezirk Galerie im Gustav-Siegle-Haus until September 5th and features 23 photographers focusing on Cardiff and Stuttgart over the last sixty years.
‘These photographs were taken in Cardiff – the city in which I grew up. I lived there from 1953-1970. I studied Photography at the London College of Printing and, amongst some commissions that I undertook, one was for an organisation called Task Force that sought to encourage young people to volunteer to help in their community. My brief was to photograph in various parts of the UK and to show community life.’
‘I was happy to be able to photograph in my home town, and I tried to capture images that showed details of the day to day life in various parts of Cardiff. Most of the images on show were taken in the late 60s and record elements of a life style some 50 years ago.’
‘Described by some as Social Action Photography, my images served a purpose for those that commissioned the work – mainly charities and educational bodies. Currently, they can be seen as having captured rather quaint and even iconic moments in time and those that have seen them exhibited in Britain and in Europe have enjoyed the reminiscences that they trigger as well as the exploration of times past.’
‘Discovering my negatives, stored away so long ago, I have begun the process of cataloguing and sorting tens of thousands of images in the hope that, as communities, we can base some of our future decisions on our past experiences.’
James O Jenkins
Photographer Mark Griffiths tells about his work ‘The Healing Land’ where 8 children from Chernobyl visited Wales on a four week holiday to improve their immune system by spending a prolonged period in a clean environment.
‘The Chernobyl meltdown was the biggest nuclear catastrophe in world history. Ninety nine percent of the Belarusian land has been contaminated to varying degrees above internationally accepted levels as a direct result of the disaster. The villages and towns that are in close proximity to the epicentre of the reactor have been eerily abandoned and remain desolate. The people of Belarus are very self sufficient, they grow their own crops and vegetables, farm livestock and source water from nearby lakes and reservoirs. With 70% of contamination coming from food and water however, the poisoned earth continues to infect those that depend on it.’
‘An astonishing 85% of Belarusian children are deemed to be Chernobyl victims: they carry “genetic markers” that could affect their health at any time and can be passed on to the next generation. A vicious cycle that unfortunately could continue for hundreds if not thousands of years. The government of Belarus and the Ukraine established that all affected children should leave the contaminated regions for at least one month abroad every year. They believed the fresh air and uncontaminated food would give the children a vital boost to their immune system.’
‘The Chernobyl’s Children’s Lifeline was founded to help affected children receive the recuperation they so vitally needed. The charity carried out scientific research to determine whether a clean environment would benefit those affected. From 4000 children that were examined the results determined that the radioactive elements in a child before and after a four week visit to the UK dropped by an average of sixty eight percent. The immune system of a Chernobyl child needs a kickstart to help fight potential illness and disease.’
‘This year eight children were brought to the pristine county of Pembrokeshire in West Wales. The region is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty. The environment boasts clean air quality, blue flag beaches and spectacularly dense woodland and breathtaking countryside views.’
‘The children participate in a number of recreational and educational activities and outings during their stay, from long sunny days at the beach to go karting. They also receive free medical check ups including eye tests and dental appointments to ensure a clean bill of health. The aim of the charity is to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, while clean air and unpolluted land takes its natural course of healing the wounds.’
Mark Griffiths is a photographer based in South Wales available for editorial and commercial assignments and commissions.
James O Jenkins