Join Huw Alden Davies on Friday 11th December from 7pm to 9pm at The Elysium Gallery in Swansea for the launch of his exhibition and accompanying book ‘Prince’. Huw Alden Davies’ new publication explores the lines of photographic and illustrative story telling, using an arrangement of photographs and short texts to create a detailed portrait that forms a dramatic, and often humorous study of the artist’s father, a bi-product of a generation, and his slanted views of the world.
‘Although there is an old adage that “A boy’s best friend is his mother”, to which I can attest, it is also a right of passage that a boys father becomes his first Hero, and my Hero was a Prince. Known as Prince, my father (John Alden Davies), has been recognised by this namesake for most of his life. By his friends, his family, and by all that have met him, and although, to him this was simply a name, to a boy with little knowledge or care in the world, this was colossal.’
‘My father was royalty, not like Prince Charles, who to me was a man that married a Princess called Diana and peered inanimately from a plate on the dining room wall, but a real hero, a hero like Prince Adam of Eternia (except without a ‘Battle Cat’, or a sword). And although time inevitably reveals the disillusion of childhood, some things just stay with us, and my father, through all our differences, he remains a fascination.’
‘This project is not only an attempt to reconnect with this childhood notion, but to try and record and capture the essence of a man and his eccentricities. Through photographic and illustrative story telling, using an arrangement of photographs and short texts, this is a detailed portrait, documenting a side unknown to others, exploring the physiological or even cultural elements that inform the image that should have once been my role model.’
A new series of photographs by photographer Tom Johnson exploring Merthyr Tydfil opens on Wednesday December 9th at Box Studio in London at 6.00pm (rsvp only) . The work is shot in collaboration with stylist and Merthyr native Charlotte James.
‘An industrial sprawl nestled amongst rolling Welsh hills, Merthyr Tydfil became tarnished with a negative reputation due to the devastation and decline caused by the closure of the mines in the 1980’s. Like many towns across Britain, it stands as an example of the socioeconomic hardship experienced by traditional working class communities in the post-Thatcher era.’
‘This series aims to challenge the common misconceptions and judgments surrounding an extraordinary place and puts the spotlight on Merthyr’s proud history, strong community, vibrant characters and exciting young talent; committed to promoting a positive image for the future. The pair sourced subjects via social networks, street castings and James’ friends and family, styling them in fashion pieces and photographing them in situ, anywhere from bus stations to the local Labour Club. Blending a love for documentary and fashion, pieces were selected to complement and emphasise the subjects’ character.’
‘Merthyr Rising’ is at Box Studio (12-7pm), 1-3 French Place, London, E1 6JB from Thursday 10th December to Sunday 13th December. The exhibition features twenty large scale images and the accompanying Merthyr Rising Zine is available to purchase here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries.
Tom Johnson lives and works in London. His work has been featured in An0ther, DAZED, Its Nice That, VICE, Hunger Magazine & The World Photography Organisation. He was the subject of a documentary made by VICE for their series ‘Picture Perfect’ and has been shortlisted for the D&AD Next Photographer Award.
Charlotte James is a London-based fashion stylist, she is the fashion editor at large at Crack Magazine and has worked with titles such as i-D Online and Wonderland, and artists including Big Sean and Little Dragon.
‘My work explores this shadowy world of cages, vans and feathers that is occupied by the pigeon fascination. Rarely seen, the racing can become an unglamorous sport whose actions and rituals are opaque to most of us, but behind the surface there is the connection between man and bird, the fancier selects and creates his pigeons.’
‘From birth he rears, trains and has faith in the bird. When race day arrives he selects and sends away his pigeon, this pigeon represents him and his skill, with potentially thousands of pounds at stake he eagerly awaits its return. However it is not simply the money that motivates them, to be a fancier is to understand a whole version of life in scale. Sex, competition, flying, hope, winning and losing. It is these elements that create the hobby, flying therefore becomes a metaphoric act, an act in which the fancier is completely immersed.’
‘These pigeons selectively bred over generations are capable of speed, grace and beauty. Motivated to return by survival, desire and love for their spouse. The man must wait for his hardy grey bird flying across seas, fields and cities, across rooftops and treetops through wind and rain, to get back home. It is then milliseconds that can make the difference between champion and loser.’
‘My project is named in honor of William of Orange, a British Intelligence war pigeon that in 1945 was released from the Frontline in France with an SOS message. He made it back to England in a record time resulting in 2,000 soldiers lives saved. For his efforts he was awarded the Dickin medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. He was then retired and became the “father of many outstanding racing pigeons.”’
Fergus Thomas is a 21 year old documentary photographer in his final year at Newport, University of South Wales. His practice focuses on the relationship between man and the natural world.