‘If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons,’ writes Bokonon, ‘that person may be a member of your karass’, (‘Cats Cradle’, Kurt Vonnegut).
‘Sometimes you meet those who surpass friendship, people you meet along the way who you find yourself holding inside your heart. That’s what this project began as, a way to celebrate the ones I feel connected to , whilst trying to confront taboos regarding the body and the way we view nudity. I’d like to think of these photographs not so much as nudes, but portraits of those I feel bound to, who happen to be naked.’
‘Karass is an ongoing project and I have nearly 30 more shoots to do with people interested in getting involved, so it will be interesting to see how the project changes as more people get involved. Maybe it will become more focused about the body and taboos, rather than the bond I feel with my subjects.’
Hannah Saunders is entering her Third Year of University on the Documentary Photography course at Newport and is based in Cardiff. ‘Karass’ is being exhibited in Romania as part of the Secvente Festival of Photography this September.
Hannah is also currently working with other women artists to form a collective named Origin.
This Friday 5th September at 6.30pm is the private view of ‘Made in Wales’ at Oriel Colwyn Gallery in Colwyn Bay.
It’s the second of our ‘Made in Wales’ exhibitions, with some additions to the show we held at Arcade Cardiff in March. The exhibition showcases some of the work that we have featured on our regular blog since we formed in 2013. The list and biographies of the photographers taking part can be found on the Oriel Colwyn website.
We hope you’ll join us for a drink, especially as there’ll be some North Wales beer supplied by the Great Orme Brewery.
Some kind of identity brings together three diverse artists working within the medium of photography. Always pursuing a sense of identity, the work challenges the different approaches to a sensitive yet everyday subject. Through the act of self-portraiture new ways of challenging the approach to oneself physically, mentally and culturally reveal intimate documents.
‘Emma Uwejoma searches for her own identity in the project Ngwako. Through the process of researching a sense of belonging in her Father’s heritage the project discovers the emergence of the Igbo tribe. Although she was raised in the western world with western values, her work aims to confront the traditional role of women in her Father’s background and where she might lie in this way of life. She questions her own identity as she grows up in a different culture.’
‘Jocelyn Allen works predominantly on the changing of her physical state. In the body of work ‘Your Mind & Body is all you’ve got’ a series of intimate portrayals of her body state the intention to bear all, not only physically but also emotionally. From every frown line and marks of aging sculpts a series that defines the passing of time and how our bodies evolve with the general wear and tear through daily life.’
‘Sara Rejaie photographs more emotional depictions of identity. Her more immediate approach forms a blog aesthetic as her ideas form naturally. It becomes organic as each moment links up to the heart of the person in creative control. The maker in this instance is the work and her personality creates the gravitational pull.’
Some Kind of Identity opens at Open Floor, 102 Bute Street, Cardiff on 27th August and is curated by Alexander Norton. The exhibition runs till 3rd September. Their Facebook event page is here.
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
(William Shakespeare, The Tempest, I. 2. 397-403).
‘My father spent most of his life in, on or near the sea. He was born in Whitstable, Kent, in 1925 and grew up to the sound of gulls and shrimp-sellers. Later, when he joined the RAF, he was stationed in the Far East and brought back small packets of beautiful black-and-white photographs taken with his Leica camera. These show a mixture of exotic gardens, architecture, and beach scenes featuring implausibly large, feathery palm trees and brilliant sunshine.
Later Dad acquired a small dinghy and we would sail this determinedly up and down the River Avon on summer weekends, tacking every minute or so – less on a windy day, as the river was so narrow. He would also take sailing holidays on the North Sea, living on board for several days with new-found friends; these experiences inspired the poetry and short stories he wrote many years later.
Towards the end of his life Dad would take me and his two grandchildren to the Canary Islands every summer, where the white sands and dazzling turquoise sea were always a source of joy to him. He lost his life in the sea in August 2011, off La Oliva Beach outside Corralejo, Fuerteventura. As was his habit, he was floating on his back, looking up into the intense blue of the sky, and his heart simply stopped.
The images made for Full Fathom Five represent my first hesitant steps towards making something positive from the memories of that terrible day.
Like the American photographer Barbara Ess, I am “trying to photograph what cannot be photographed”, and, like her, I use the simplest of pinhole cameras to capture my way of experiencing the world.’
‘Full Fathom Five’ was made using coffee can and biscuit tin cameras using brass pinholes.
Celia Jackson is a senior lecturer in photography at the University of South Wales and work from ‘Full Fathom Five’ is currently on show at Fuse Art Space in Bradford as part of the exhibition Bradford Beach.
This important and timely exhibition showcases groundbreaking new work from some of Wales and Scotland’s contemporary photographers.
Document Scotland, formed in 2012 by Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard and Stephen McLaren, are responding to the global audience looking at Scotland at this, one of the most important times in the country’s history.
Formed in the wake of Document Scotland in 2013, the Welsh collective A Fine Beginning is made up of photographers James O Jenkins, Jack Latham, Abbie Trayler- Smith and Gawain Barnard and showcases contemporary photography being made in Wales.
“I am delighted that Street Level Photoworks will be staging this exhibition of new photography by Document Scotland. These are exciting times for the collective and for photography in Scotland and their collaboration with A Fine Beginning is a positive message that Scottish photography is relevant, informative and outward facing.” - Malcolm Dickson, Street Level Photoworks.
Tuesday 26th August – ‘Common Ground’ launches at Street Level.
Thursday 28th August – preview evening 6-8pm.
Friday 29th August – portfolio reviews and workshops with Document Scotland, A Fine Beginning and invited guests from the photography industry.
Saturday 30th August – talks and publication launch.
It’s a pleasure to announce that our group exhibition ‘Made in Wales’ will open at Oriel Colwyn on 5th September. The exhibition will be showing new work that we have featured on our blog since the inaugural ‘Made in Wales’ show at Arcade Cardiff in March.
Please spread the word and join us in North Wales in September.
Document Scotland kindly invited us to join them and contribute new work to an exhibition at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow that will open on the evening of Thursday 28th August. We’ll be releasing further details of the exhibition soon, which is taking the notions of ‘home’ and ‘community’ as it’s motivation.
Document Scotland is made up of Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard and Stephen McLaren – four Scots-born photographers, all exponents of documentary photography. We share a common vision with Document Scotland, which is to discover and showcase contemporary photography being made in Wales and Scotland respectively.
We’re going to be in Glasgow for the opening on 28th August and the following days will see a range of events including portfolio reviews, artist’s talks and the launch of Document Scotland’s new publication. More details of how to join us at these events will be released soon.
Last month we attended the ‘We Are This’ publication launch and ‘Reasons to be Cheerful‘ Miniclick talks in Hackney by the graduates of the Documentary Photography course from the University of South Wales, Newport. The publication (produced by Stanley James Press) is packed with good work and Sam Peat’s project ’Nothing Like It’ particularly caught our eye, especially in light of it being the NHS’s 66th birthday last weekend.
“Nothing Like It seeks to explore the problems facing the NHS as manifested in Accident and Emergency departments. The NHS is the only healthcare system of its type in the world, and is one of our most precious national assets.”
“The state of the NHS is something that affects us all; the likelihood is that we will all need its services at some point during our lives.”
“However in recent years the service has become subject to a number of spending cuts which effect services dramatically in some areas. We now have the longest waiting times as a nation that we have had for over a decade. Visiting nurses, community healthcare, local GP surgeries, and staff numbers have all been reduced. The knock-on effects of these services being reduced means that the patients who would otherwise be seen earlier, and pre treated, now end up in Accident and Emergency wards.”
“These pictures show the relentless pace of the department at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. During the long twelve-hour shifts it is common to see 115 new patients with a varying severity of health problems.”
“The building blocks of our natural world, rocks and mountains sculpt the very land we live on. As communities grow and populations increase, people shape and form the landscape to suit their needs. For all that these landscapes may change however and be marked by man, it is important to remember that they are equally capable of leaving their marks on us. The depth of these marks are subjective, their impressions environmental and influenced by our own physical experience and personal engagement with the land.”
“In his body of work, In the Company of an Invisible Man, Harry Rose explores notions of loss, memory and human relationships within landscape photography. Specifically, his work focuses on a particular landscape that has influenced him personally as well as professionally. Having kept his distance from this place for some time, Rose has been drawn back to photograph this landscape, to reflect and find some inner peace. Retracing walks and journeys from countless miles travelled through his youth, Rose guides us through the landscape he photographs giving the audience access to treasures and memories collected along these routes. Through significant objects, rock minerals, childhood photographs, immersing himself back into the environment, Rose explores not individuality but an awareness of self and a search for identity in a key psychological landscape formed from his subjective experiences.”
The book In the Company of an Invisible Man is available to purchase here.
Harry graduated from the University of South Wales (Newport) in 2014 and works as editor for Darwin Magazine, a self published magazine which was founded by Harry and Ryan Grimley in 2012, providing a platform for both established and unestablished photographers and writers.
“I’ve been living in Flint, North Wales, since February 2012. The Dee Estuary basks nonchalantly alongside Flint in the popularity of residents; although it’s not respected by the younger generations that may happen to stumble across this space from time to time. You will hear ‘the locals’ talk of it’s litter problems – often beer bottles left discarded by the social gathering of teens – a particular unsavory parapet where sky meets sea. Despite this, I have adopted a deep interest in it’s solemn beauty and have subsequently been visiting regularly to try and document it’s condition over a period of time.
The estuary plays a part in present-day industries – providing the first stage of transport of the Airbus A380 wings on their way to Toulouse, via barge to Mostyn docks which are located along the estuary towards the Irish Sea. The estuary is an area teeming with wildlife and is one of the most important estuaries in Britain; amongst the most important in Europe for its populations of waders, wildfowl and heron.
It’s a site of special scientific interest and is a designated special marine area. The character of the place and what it represents within a moderately middle class town is what I wanted to document, not just the atheistic qualities of which it has so evidently in abundance.”