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// Edition 019. REFORMAT
Unlocking some changes, from quarry to coast in North Wales, news and endnotes.
A re-evaluation and reformat
I’m less interested these days in marking the turn of the calendar year, instead I find myself drawn more to seasonal changes and the re-birth or ‘unlocking’1 that comes just before spring.
It’s been a couple of months since my last newsletter and that’s mainly because I have been busy spring cleaning, as it were. In this time of renewal and rebirth I am embarking on an re-evaluation of my practice, including my portfolio. This will bring some changes, such as a reformat for my website.
All this is going on ‘behind the scenes’ and the process has started with delving into my archive. I’m asking myself what work in my archive is still relevant or not to my current direction, and what previous projects have become more relevant and deserve to be worked and shaped into something more.
Do you also find yourself more in tune with the seasons than the calendar year?
Is spring a time or revaluation and renewal for you? How so?
Let me know in the comments.
Or email me, I’m always happy to hear from readers and supporters of my work.
Of course, current project work doesn’t stop and I have a few pieces of exciting news to share with you below. Subscribers to this newsletter will always get this news first.
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// Notes from The Singing Hills
In March I made the trip up to North Wales to visit some places that are connected to people I have photographed in New York and Vermont. Looking at my list I narrowed it down to the slate quarry town of Blaenau Ffestiniog2 and a couple of locations on Ynys Môn, a small ruined coal mine and the coastal town of Aberffraw.
It was very productive and I had some interesting conversations with people in Blaenau Ffestiniog. I was also invited to place an ad in the local Welsh language paper Llafar Bro for anyone who may be have family that emigrated to America. This has resulted in a few more leads and potential people to talk to and photograph.
I’ve developed a very nice relationship with Marc, the owner of Barista Lounge coffee shop here in Farnham. As mentioned in my last newsletter, I have swapped out a previous series of images I hung on the walls there for a set of darkroom prints that evoke the touristic romance and ‘joie de vivre’ of Paris.
I’m currently talking to Marc about organising an artist’s talk there around Bastille Day in July – an appropriately French celebration. More details and exact date and time to come in my next newsletter, where I’ll also be able to share some exciting news to coincide with the talk.
Exhibition at Farnham Maltings
I’m delighted to announce an exhibition at Farnham Maltings from mid-August to mid-September in the Riverside café. I will be showing a series of photographs taken from a year of following the hop preparation, growing and harvest at Surrey’s last remaining commercial hop grower3, Hampton Estate. I think it’s a very appropriate location for the photographs to be shown. Exact dates as well as events connected to the exhibition will be announced in future newsletters.
Unlocking is one of the six seasons that writer Kurt Vonnegut rationalised in his book Palm Sunday and various speeches. I was first drawn into the concept of there being six seasons in the temperate, northern hemisphere typical of the UK and Northeast US through the excellent seasonal cooking book by Joshua McFadden (of Brooklyn pizzeria Franny’s and ‘the’ kale salad fame - IYKYK).
The drive to Blaenau Ffestiniog takes you on the A470. Whenever I know I’ll be driving that road I listen to Cerys Matthews talk about the history and experience of driving it in a programme produced for BBC Radio 4 (available in UK only).
There are, of course, still other hop growers in Surrey. The Hogs Back Brewery grows their own, and many smaller plots exist. But Hampton Estate claim to be the only one in Surrey selling hops to other breweries. Farnham was famous for its white bine hops, and at one time considered a bigger and better producer of hops than anywhere even in Kent.
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