In The Winds’ Wakes

A unique photography exhibition, supported by the Aberafan Shopping Centre and the Port Talbot Civic Centre, opens on October 6th in Port Talbot. It features an international group of 12 young documentary photographers (from The University of Westminster Documentary Photography course) who have worked on a collaborative project about the town’s history, architecture and community within the past few months. The project had its genesis in the aftermath of Tata Steel’s announcement of plans to sell their UK based assets last March. These documentary projects intend to sift deeper than conventional media coverage of Port Talbot, investigating multiple diverse social, cultural and human issues in the town.

Shifting Sands. © Yves Salmon

The show, coordinated collectively by the photographers, is organised as an expression of their gratitude towards the residents of Port Talbot, and aims to raise awareness of the continuing uncertainty threatening the steelworks, which has been such a vital lifeline for the town’s economy and prosperity.

Supreme Pool. © Sara Taglioretti

The projects presented include: Bypassed by Nick St.Oegger, an exploration of the physical and psychological effects of the M4 motorway; 1/10,000,000 m³ by Shun Wen Yu, which gives a human prospect to the steelworks through the workers’ powerless feelings regarding the future; a study of “the unexplored” by Debasish Sharma who dedicates his work to the leisure activities in the town as a potential opportunity to bring tourism; Mariela Ganeva’s portraits which capture the economic difficulties but also the authentic charm of Port Talbot’s local businesses; End of the Road by Anne Laerke Koefoed, exploring the residents’ uncertainty for the future combined with a small enduring hope; The System by Calvin K. Chan as an examination through psycho-geography of the environment’s impact on the living quality and social changes of the community; Laurène Becquart’s series, I’ll Be There (Now in a Minute), that question the life of Port Talbot’s teens, their personalities and ambitions by picturing their private space and their social and public interests; The Shifting Sands Project by Yves Salmon that picture the scenic and changing Aberavon Beach in Port Talbot through portraits, landscapes and memories;

Port Talbot: Exploring the Unexplored. © Debasish Sharma

Sara Taglioretti’s Supreme Pool, a series of empty spaces and buildings that represent expectations and unfulfilled promises; Change by Jana Rajcova, a double-face project drawing parallels between her father’s story as a former factory worker and the people of Port Talbot; Hic Sunt by Amir Makar which recalls the predominance of dragons in South Wales; and Hannah Leadbeater’s postcards of the area that collects inhabitants’ viewpoints of their own town in a more genuine and picturesque way.

In The Winds’ Wakes.
7th to 11th October (11am to 5.30pm).
Opening event: October 6th at 4pm.
Aberafan Shopping Centre, Top Floor.
Port Talbot, SA13 1PB.