Pride in our Valley - promo
The promo teaser is from a film I directed, called 'Pride in our Valley'. It captures the lives of the people living in the upper Dulais Valley, South Wales. The people in the small communities in the area welcomed my with open arms, allowing be to have un limited access into their lives.
Coal mining used to be key to the area and although there is still an open cast mine and coal washery, they will close within the next sixteen months. This will end the long relationship with the industry, although millions of tons of coal will be left underground, maybe, forever!
This area may be familiar to many, as it was the centre of an award winning theatrical comedy film called 'Pride'. Lesbians and gays travelled from London, to donate funds to striking miners and their families during the 1984/85 miners' strike.
As part of my documentary film, I captured the original members of Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners traveling back to the community, to show their friendship, and continued support to the local people. Indeed, two very different communities have formed a strong relationship and solidarity over the past thirty five years or so, with the younger generation, not even born in the 80s, happy to hold on to a proud history.
'Pride in our Valley' is a documentary film, shot on HD and is one hour and fifty three minutes long.
Palaces For The People
John Crerar is a photographer, originally from London, working in Wales. I have been interested in his work for many years. We were students on the MA Documentary Photography course from 1996. His use of 5x4 format to capture the remaining cinemas in South Wales has intrigued me. Beautiful composition and use of light brings out the history, I believe, in the cinema culture. The quality and sharpness brings out each detail of the buildings. I'm particularly intrigued by the people who would use the cinemas for a form of escapism. There is so much to see in John's images. John's use of colour lends its self to the
vibrant architecture, dating back to the early twentieth century.
Two Ten Books invited me to approach John to produce a publication that was popular and sold out within weeks. I was also asked to produce a short film relating to John's photographic practice.
"Don't let my boy go down the pit"
I met Ivor back in 1982 when i visited my first coal mine to take photos. I was a twenty two year old student and Ivor took me under his wing. He took me underground and I used to wait for him to finish his shift, so that I could photograph him.
He invited me to meet his lovely wife and we had tea. I remember his grandson being there and I took photos of them. They were a proud, religious family.
I lost contact with Ivor for some thirty years, until his daughter saw a photo that I took, which I shared on Facebook. She contacted me with a phone number for Ivor. I immediately contacted him and made this short film. He subsequently visited one of my photographic exhibitions where a photograph of him took centre stage on the wall. He was so proud and it was also his birthday. The gallery curator, Liz, presented him with a birthday cake. It was a very special day for us all. We all had tears.
Ivor, soon after, passed away. I will always remember him and he is in my thoughts forever.