1980 – Rhiwlas, Bala – I’d seen the shot before and asked the shepherds if they could create a perfect circle with the feed.
During 1980/81 I lived with a rural community in Bala, North Wales photographing all aspects of working life. The historical Rhiwlas estate provided a wealth of material to work with, from farming on both the rich flood plain of the rivers Tryweryn and Dee to the harsh mountain grazing of Cwm Hesgin above Llyn Celyn.
I documented all aspects of estate work from the gardener and maintenance staff to the bailiff and cowman. Sheep sales, abattoir, county and local shows, sheep dog trials, shoots, were all photographed during the year. I exhibited the work in Bala at the end of my time on the estate when all those involved in the project came together to view a selection of prints from the archive.
The work began at undergraduate level but has since taken off in further directions. I re-visited the area again in 1995 to relaunch the exhibition and to complement it with new work . A book was also launched during the Eisteddfod of that year which was held on the Rhiwlas estate land. It combined the images from the project with new contemporary Welsh writing. The exhibition subsequently toured Wales and beyond.
I kept a detailed diary of every day during my time there in the eighties and this informs the images. Every photograph taken can be identified to a particular time and place.
Having worked as a photographer for The National Museum Of Wales for a number of years prior to moving into lecturing, I understand the importance of properly archiving such work. I had the privilege of working closely with the archivist and printing from the vast archive of images held at St.Fagans, handling glass plates well over a hundred and fifty years old. In the forthcoming years I hope to revisit the archive and begin to add words to the images that will provide a full context of how they existed within a time and space of their making.
I’m back in hospital this week and will be out of action again for a few months. The site will continue to tick along though as I’ve prepared posts that will automatically come on line every five days, so do keep looking. If I don’t reply for a while then apologies, I’ll catch up with that when I’m up and about.