A Snapshot of LIFE; Ffotogallery Is Celebrating Its 30th Birthday with Two Exhibitions Showcasing Past Commissions Which Got the Nation Talking. Julie Richards Revisits the Work
It was 30 years ago when a small and innovative gallery opened its doors to Wales - and the rest of the world - with the aim of presenting and promoting photographic art.
Three decades on and Ffotogallery has more than made its mark.
The organisation is now the successful national development agency for photography in Wales as well as being dedicated to exhibiting photographic art from some of the most exciting artists from Wales and beyond.
To mark its 30th anniversary, Ffotogallery is showcasing two exhibitions which celebrate commissioned work made in and about Wales during the past three decades.
Curated by senior research fellowin photography Russell Roberts, Ffotogallery and the University of Wales Newport, I Hate Green and Fantasy & Denial are two diverse shows that present images reflecting the real and imaginary places and landscapes of Wales.
Drawn from the Ffotogallery archive and national and private collections, the commissions offer an opportunity to revisit works that have presented an insight and alternative commentary uniquely portraying a place and time in modern day Wales.
I Hate Green - the first exhibition in the series - is taken directly from graffiti scrawled on an old tin garage painted in green. It was captured in a work from Peter Fraser'sColour Series as part of the Valleys Project IV commissioned in 1985.
Evoking associations with the landscape tradition, the Colour Series departs from the documentary style using oblique photographic depictions.
The second part, Fantasy&Denial, was commissioned work by Willie Doherty in 1990. He depicts the classical facades of the National Museum Cardiff and the former Welsh Office situated in Cathays Park, Cardiff. The work explores the relationships - formal and informal - between the institutions, communities and individuals.
Highlights of the exhibition include The Valleys Project 1985-90, a group commission that focused on the dramatic changes of one of the most dramatic and industrialised landscapes of Northern Europe.
During the five-year project a group of photographers from Wales and Europe documented a visual history and social commentary of the south Wales valleys.
The project presented a different and contemporary perspective of the valleys. Several of the artists, including Ron McCormick and Paul Reas, captured the changing topography using new technology.
Mike Berry, Francesca Odell, Roger Tiley and Peter Fraser directly captured daily life in the valleys and its people, experimenting with colour and concepts that extended ideas of documentary realism. …