Mike Harvey worked as a taxi driver in Neath for 4 years and started taking photographs of the passengers in his taxi ‘to document the array of people that occupied the taxi space. I was fascinated by the cross section of society that was represented by the journeys – people from all walks of life, rich, poor, old and young. And the discussions I would have with the passengers themselves were of even more interest to me, it gave me an insight into people’s lives, what interests or concerns them, their background – it was very educational.’
‘I started documenting the journeys at the tail end of 2009 and took about 130 in total over a 6 month period. I would ask the passengers at the end of a journey, once we’d built up a rapport, and offer to waiver the taxi fare as a thank you. The photographs are titled after the cost of the fare.’
‘I would keep my camera in the glovebox and take it out whenever I asked people if I could take their photo.I made sure that I used the same taxi in every one of the photographs. In a way it’s the view from a rear-view mirror, of what a taxi driver sees.’
‘I wanted to document the lottery of people that occupied the taxi space, and the experiences that taxi driving gave me. Whether it be rushing a pregnant woman to hospital or being regaled stories of World War II by an elderly passenger, the taxi provided a space to meet, converse with, and learn from people.’
‘The taxi passengers represented a small cross-section of society, and these photographs hope to visually document a slice of Neath in 2010.’
’Taxi’ was exhibited at ‘Monkey’ in Swansea and you can see more of Mike’s work at mikeharvey.co.uk
James O Jenkins
‘The mid Wales landscape; the sea, the woods and the mountains embody a feeling I had as a child while escaping into my imagination. During my time in Wales I have made friends with a few people from Borth (near Aberystwyth) and encountered new people living at – to me – unconventional places; colorful, artistic and full of individuality.’
‘Aderyn Rhydd in Welsh means ‘free bird’ and explores the region around the North of mid Wales. Restricted in the West by the Irish sea and in the North by the mountains of Snowdonia, the area signifies freedom to its residents; freedom to breathe, freedom for self-expression within art and poetry; or freedom to allow oneself to live an alternative lifestyle.’
‘Living remotely within the rural idyll during the 70’s and 80’s, mid Wales used to signify the place to escape from the increasingly hectic cities in Britain. Opposing the modern economic system it was the incomers intention to preserve traditions, and to use technologies in an environmentally sustainable way.’
‘In contemporary mid Wales this significant environmental impact remains and identifies the area. Mid Wales is the place where traditions are highly valued. People strive to attain natural resources from the countryside and to preserve and relearn the Welsh language.’
‘Socio-geographically there isn’t a motorway in Wales, which connects the South with the North, mid-Wales remains as the outlying space in between. To dwell on someone’s property relies on a mutual agreement between landowner and inhabitant. With the UK housing prices on the rise these people have decided to live an alternative lifestyle by giving up the comforts of a traditional home. They pay a low rent and their living spaces are small. But these unconventional houses are full of little details. The diversity of the landscape – the sea, the woods, the flatland – is mirrored in each inhabitants interior and stands for the peoples affection for the idyllic landscape in mid Wales.’
Originally from Switzerland, Mira Andres began her studies in Media & Arts at the University of the Arts in Zurich in 2011. In the second year of her degree she began with an exchange semester at the University of South Wales in Newport where she is now completing her third year on the Documentary Photography course.
‘Aderyn Rhydd | Free Bird’ will be exhibited in from 24th January to 15th April 2015 at the Pen’rallt Gallery Bookshop in Machynlleth.
Look closer and
Here you might see a woman beneath a shelter of leaves.
And there is a man who sleeps in the empty lair of a beast.
Now listen, as if staring into a deep pool of clear sound
Each layer of the birds song goes deeper and further down into the water.
The sky is very thin here and
Know these people live on a fragile earth
Like on the surface of a precious bubble
In a magpies eye they all persist.
This place goes on forever, always has and
One day in forever will go on without us.
But for now
Breath slowly in and
Deep in this place
Feel everything bleed into everything else
Breath gently out and disturb nothing.
Feel even diamonds melt.
George Romary, 2014
“Tradition, which is always old, is at the same time ever new because it is always reviving – born again in each new generation, to be lived and applied in a new and particular way”.
Thomas Merton, ‘No Man Is an Island’.
“Britain’s oldest surviving traditions allow us a glimpse of childhood past times devoid from the modern technology that encapsulates our daily lives. Conkers, Sunday Church Service and Punch and Judy shows were the staple diet of those that grew up in an era where social gatherings and physical activities outweighed the need for the latest gadget in today’s society of materialistic ideologies. From Social gatherings to Social Networking, Britain’s youth participate less in the active traditions that have shaped the childhood of many. In years to come these quintessential British pastimes will deplete in popularity through the lack of ‘new blood’ actively participating in such customs.
The images in this series capture those that have battled to keep our beloved British traditions alive, many of which have been passed down through generations of family members. From afternoon tea to coracle fishing, the images portray a nostalgic sense of what is being lost.”
‘Gwerinwyr Gwent’ was formed in 1976 by eight people from Gwent who revived the tradition of Welsh folk dancing.
The Mary Llwyd horse at the Tafarn Sinc pub on the edge of the Presseli Mountains. Deriving from an ancient rite for the Celtic goddess Rhiannon, or an ancient kingship ritual, the Mari Lwyd was once widespread throughout Wales.
Malcolm Rees, a 4th generation coracle fisherman, on the bank of the river Teifi in Carmarthenshire, West Wales.
Lin Cram of the ‘Y Morys Caerdydd’ – The Morris Dancers of Cardiff.
Lave net fisherman Rob Evans’s son holding ‘the priest’ a tool used for killing the catch. Lave net fishing is a traditional method of fishing which has been practiced for hundreds of years. The last lave net fishermen at Black Rock all come from the local villages of Sudbrook, Portskewett and Caldicot in Wales.
“Many of these customs date back hundreds of years and have helped shape the notion of our British identity and made us who we are. The importance of keeping these unfamiliar traditions alive is imperative for the historic culture of the land and its people.”
‘The Loss of Tradition’ is now on show at The Oriel Bach Gallery in Swansea until November 23rd.
James O Jenkins
On Friday 28th November we’re pleased to be speaking at the ‘Lens 2014’ Festival at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
Speakers on the Saturday include Homer Sykes, Amanda Jackson, Neil Turner, Tina Carr and Annemarie Schöne.
More details about The National Library of Wales can be found at llgc.org.uk