BATTLELAND BOOK SPREADS
Battleland seeks to represent contemporary landscapes from rejuvenated World War One battlefields along the Western Front. Soil and flower samples were collected in order to create organic chromatographs to represent traces of matter that are otherwise dormant and unseen. The artworks seek to highlight the fate of many thousands of fallen soldiers that still reside in the soil. Photographs a centenary later show how the landscape has healed but traces of the battles still remain.
The chromatographs in this book were created using a soil quality technique developed by German scientist Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (1899-1961). His intention was to analyse the organic compounds of soil, flora and fauna for the purposes of agricultural quality testing. The process uses a dilution of silver nitrate as a photosensitive base for the circular filter papers. The secondary organic material is soaked in sodium hydroxide and the process is repeated. Finally, the filter paper is exposed to sunlight in order for the characteristics of the sample to appear.
Men of Steel
I am a current Documentary Photography Masters student at the University of South Wales, and have created photographic dioramas to commemorate the fallen soldiers from the Orb Steelworks in Newport. The ‘Men of Steel’ series will be shown as part of the ‘Steel Remembered’ exhibition at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay from January 17th to 25th 2018 from 10am until 4.30pm daily.
In the centenary of the final year of battle, I has chosen to focus on the stories of fallen soldiers for her MA studies. My great-grandfather Cyril Ward, a Cardiff art dealer, fought with the Royal Garrison Artillery in the First World War leaving a wife and four daughters at home in Angus Street, Roath. I travelled to France and Belgium in 2016 tracing his footsteps on the little information I had to his battalion’s whereabouts during the War. I couldn’t help but to be influenced by the various museums, cemeteries and battle sites I visited in France and Belgium and was emotionally overwhelmed by what I learnt. Although my great-grandfather did come home, I knew that I had to do something photographically to honour those who weren’t as fortunate.
My technique involves designing and creating fictional diorama scenes of miniature cut-outs which are photographed using long exposures and immediately disassembled. The term ‘diorama’ is attributed to Frenchman, Louis Daguerre one of the pioneers of photography, my work often reflects a historical approach, I don’t think I have quite caught up with the modern age.
First World War – Steel Remembered is a two-year community project, led by Linc Cymru, a local housing association and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to highlight stories from the 852 men who enlisted from the Orb Steelworks in Newport. I met project coordinator Suzy Bowers by chance, while I was photographing a conference. “Our outreach work in the community has brought us in touch with so many interested and talented people from all walks of life. When I met Sarah at the conference, I explained a little about what we were doing and when she showed me her photographs I was amazed. I knew that Sarah would bring a unique perspective so I invited her to get involved. It’s wonderful to be able to showcase her photographs as part of our multi-faceted exhibition at the Senedd.”
Camera Obscura Portraits
The camera obscura portraits were part of my final year BA Photographic Practice, Advanced Independent Practice module. I was initially inspired by the paintings of Vermeer, Ingres and Reynolds who were all accused or accredited their work to the use of a camera obscura. This work partly involved transforming my garage into a working camera and also to shoot these digital portraits of teens in their rooms with the projection of their environment surrounding them. Exhibited Cardiff Made, Roath, Cardiff – June 30th – July 16th 2016 Jacob’s Gallery, West Canal Wharf – May 13th – May 21st 2016
Under Milk Wood Project
With an abundance of content, visually translating Dylan Thomas’ words evoked imaginative wonder. His celebrated play for voices, ‘Under Milk Wood’ provided so much stimulating visual language which inspired this reflective photographic piece of work. The complexity and detail of the characters within, offered an obvious choice to build this collection of dioramas. The sets and characters depicted are handmade from paper and photographed in darkness, lit only by a small torch. Although the characters, compositions and components may be a personal interpretation, the basic concept was to ensure those who know the play well, would be able to easily recognise the characters that have been created. This Project is being exhibited at various locations this year Cardiff Castle – April 2014 Swansea Museum until June 15th 2014 Outset – The Gate Gallery, Cardiff – July 23rd – August 15th 2014
Portraits of Rhiwbina Project
The idea for the Portraits of Rhiwbina Project came about in early 2013. The Rhiwbina Garden Village, one of only two in Wales, was celebrating 100 years and photographs of the builders and first residents were being shown in various local papers and magazines. I started to wonder about the photographer of these images, what camera did they use etc. Using a Linhof large format 5 x 4 camera, the type of which meant I had to have a blanket over my head, and armed with black and white film, I set about asking people in the village if they would like to be involved. All volunteers were interviewed and their story published with their portrait in a book of the same name. The Art Workshop offered their premises for an exhibition of the work during the Rhiwbina Summer Festival. Books was also purchased by Cardiff Library for the local history section so hopefully these stories and the people of Portraits of Rhiwbina can be remembered for future generations.