alicia bruce

artist in residence.
ffotogallery/blaenavon world heritage.

Leaving Blaenavon.  Sunday 28 August 2011

Wild Horses.

**BEST VIEWED WITH SOUND OFF**


Blaenavon make some noiiiiiise! 

Last night was my final official photo shoot for the Blaenavon project commissioned by Ffotogallery.  A series of portraits of young musicians at a gig in The Workman’s Hall.  With a tiny studio space set up in a small secluded corner to the left of the stage I made a portrait of each performer straight off the stage in the spirit of the James Ward painting ‘A Young Man’ 1815.

Above are a selection of the 22 portraits.

This was the Salvador Promotions launch gig. A group of savvy Blaenavon teenagers who’ve set up their own music promo company securing £2500 from The Princes Trust.

Bands included:
Headliners ‘The Guns’  with support from The Calling CardINC, and The Loren Balaam Band

Thanks to Salvador Promotions for the re-tweets.  To Melissa & Adrian for assisting set up & gathering model release forms.  Thanks also to Paul for driving me to The Workmans Hall in monsoon like conditions and to the staff at Workmans Hall for letting me do a quick location scout on Friday afternoon.  Biggest thanks to the bands for taking time to participate straight after the gigs.  Some good souls in this community!

Final week in Wales..

This is my final week in the Valley’s.  Last week was the most productive & enjoyable week of the residency to date, those of you who have followed this blog will know it’s been challenging at times.   It was great to finally meet the Male Voice Choir & to work with some inspiring folks.  I’ve appropriated a handful artworks from National Museum of Wales collection with a focus on individuals from the local community.  Most of these have been chosen through instinct having met the individuals.  I will present the work in progress to Ffotogallery this Thursday.  I’m really looking forward to having a dialogue about the images.

Before the Bard… & the saddest pony in the world

Tonight I photographed John Rodger as ‘The Bard’ & was lucky enough to have two assistants.  We were set up well in advance of Johns arrival & I’d chosen a lump of slag, an emblem of the post industrial landscape as the location.

Louise & I told Luke, my additional assistant, that although we’d be knee deep in horse & sheep poo remarkable things may happen.  We we tweaking with cameras when an unexpected curious wild pony arrived and decided to join us.  She examined all our equipment then took a shine to Luke who led her up to the position I’d chosen for the bard.  She then kept us company for a while before roaming into the distance.  Possibly the most melancholy pony I’ve ever seen but well worth a few snaps as we waited for our subject to arrive & the sun to set.

The photographs of John as ‘The Bard’ shall be shown at a later date.. Films in the lab tomorrow.

Tonight I photographed 32 members of Blaenavon’s Male Voice Choir.  I’ve been hoping to photograph the choir since I saw them singing on World Heritage Day but found them difficult to pin down… they get the school holidays off.

With the help of their coordinator Ian Cook I arranged to photograph ten members of the choir this evening at a studio I’d set up at The Workman’s Hall.  Thirty three showed up.  There are group portraits of the men  in many Blaenavon shops, pubs and publications.  I wanted to portray the choir as individuals but also as a collective.  Two of the thirty three portraits are above.

Thanks to Mike & Sheila from The Workman’s Hall for allowing us to use their wonderful space.  To Ian for helping gather the troops, to Louise for assisting and to Ffotogallery for providing a last minute spare part.

I spent yesterday photographing staff at The Big Pit National Coal Museum.  There are some great folks working there, many of them like Paul, above, are ex-miners.  Bethan, above, works in the Pit Cafeteria and is also a photographer.  She’s a 2010 Fine Art Photography graduate from Newport.  

I’m sad to report I did not get permission to photograph in the mine due to high visitor numbers.  Gutted.

This afternoon I collaborated with the unstoppable Sheila Hawkins of Hawkins Corn Store. Sheila is in her 70s and still ball of energy running two businesses. Sheila, a mining widow, chose ‘In Wales’ by Richard Ansdell. Her cat Freddie is also in the image. I still love the tension of waiting for films to process & looking forward to getting these ones back.  

This afternoon I collaborated with the unstoppable Sheila Hawkins of Hawkins Corn Store. Sheila is in her 70s and still ball of energy running two businesses. Sheila, a mining widow, chose ‘In Wales’ by Richard Ansdell. Her cat Freddie is also in the image. I still love the tension of waiting for films to process & looking forward to getting these ones back.  In Wales.  Richard Ansdell