This Saturday 27th June is the opening of Philip Jones Griffiths: A Welsh Focus on War and Peace at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. The exhibition will show images from the Magnum photographer’s work and personal archive material, looking at his early career in Britain as well as his extensive renowned documentation of wars and their effects.
The exhibition runs until December 12th 2015 and the curator William Troughton will give a gallery talk on October 14th. Later this year the Lens 2015 Festival will focus on Philip Jones Griffiths and his work.
You can see Philip Jones Griffith’s ‘Magnum Photos Photographer Portfolio’ here.
James O Jenkins
We received lots of positive feedback on social media from people who read our Pete Davis blog post about his ‘Photographs of Cardiff 1969-1972′ including BA Documentary Photography (University of South Wales, Newport) student Daragh Soden whose work about the south eastern area of Splott in Cardiff we are sharing here.
‘My work began by looking for visual hints of ‘aspiration’ in Splott after reading Owen Jones’ Chavs:The Demonization of The Working Class, in which Jones criticizes David Cameron’s view of an apparent lack of aspiration among the working class as part of the reason for the poor circumstances in which many working class families find themselves.’
‘In 1891 East Moors Steelworks was opened in Cardiff, Wales, a plant capable of manufacturing half a million tons of steel a year. To accommodate the workers of the steelworks, rows of terraced housing were built in estates nearby, forming the area of Cardiff known as Splott. In 1978, East Moors Steelworks ceased production.’
“Being born into a prosperous middle-class family typically endows you with a safety net for life. If you are not naturally bright, you are still likely to go far and, at the very least, will never experience poverty as an adult. A good education compounded by your parents’ ‘cultural capital’, financial support and networks will always see you through. If you are a bright child born into a working-class family, you do not have these things. The odds are that you will not be better off than your parents”, Owen Jones.
Daragh Soden (born in New York) is an Irish photographer working in the UK and Ireland. He is about to enter his third and final year studying Documentary Photography at The University of South Wales in Newport.
You can see more of Daragh’s work at cargocollective.com/daraghsoden
James O Jenkins
Splott (which takes it’s name from the Welsh word for allotment) is a south eastern district of Cardiff that was characterised by Victorian housing that existed for Cardiff’s industry workers. Pete Davis’ photographs of Splott show the area shortly after the beginning of the closure of the steelworks in the early 1970’s.
‘This was the area of Cardiff where I was brought up and went to school. These photographs were part of a series I made in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. The photographs of Splott were made at the time that the main employer in the area – the steelworks – was closing, and the area being pulled apart and ‘re-developed’.’
‘They were not poverty stricken families – it may look like that in the pictures. At the time I was taking some of those pictures the steelworks were being closed and the bottom end of Splott was in the process of being demolished piecemeal.’
‘Because of the passage of time the places have gone, the kids have obviously grown up and the area is completely different now. There’s an element of nostalgia I suppose as well as the real interest in my work from that time.’
Pete Davis has been taking photographs since the age of eleven. After ten years as an advertising and fashion photographer, Pete moved to rural West Wales from where he has embarked on field trips around the British Isles, Europe and the USA with his large format camera. For eighteen years Pete was senior lecturer in documentary photography at the University of Wales, Newport. He is currently a visiting lecturer at a number of universities and also engaged with his photography projects and research collaborations.
He has received numerous research grants and awards and was the winner of the 2002 Wakelin Purchase Prize for Welsh artists. Work from the ‘Wildwood’ series has been acquired by the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea and the National Library of Wales. Pete has been a visiting lecturer at the Karel De Grote-Hogeschool, Antwerp, Belgium, The North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History in New York, The Royal Academy of Arts, The University of Toronto, and at FotoMuseum, Antwerp.
James O Jenkins