The Photographs of Geoff Charles
Curated by Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts
Between the 1930s and 1980s, Geoff Charles was an established photojournalist whose contribution to a variety of Welsh newspapers and magazines was extensive. Throughout the North and the Borders he documented the fabric of daily life as well as the traditions and modernisation of Wales. Accidents, fashion, farming, Eisteddfodau, civic openings, industry, cars, travel, protest and war figure in what constitutes a dense visual encounter with place and history.
The exhibition draws on the collection of the National Library of Wales to create new frames of reference for Charles’ press photographs. Removed from their original context as half-tone illustrations and from the collection that usually defines them, these images with their shift in scale and presentation can still be very direct statements about the world but also mysterious fragments of it. Drawing on the work of Raymond Williams whose concept of ‘a structure of feeling’ was first used in 1954, the exhibition reinforces the power of photography to convey a similar definition of lived experience and the quality of life at a particular time and place. Consisting of large-scale prints along with projections and film, the exhibition also explores the importance of intervention within collections to ensure that they remain fluid and open to revision.
The exhibition is presented by Ffotogallery in association with the National Library of Wales.