Tag Archives: Photography
Photographer I.C. Rapoport shares this story behind this image of Ronnie Davies in the Aberfan: The Days After exhibition here at The National Library of Wales.
“This is RONNIE DAVIES. I met Ronnie while wandering the streets of Aberfan a month or so after the disaster. He was walking his dog, alone and I stopped him to have a chat. He told me that his brother died in the Junior School. He had just began going to the Senior School down the street and though it suffered damage, no one was killed in that school – only some, like John Collins’ boy Raymond, were killed for being outside on the street or on retaining walls. Ronnie tearfully told me how much he missed his little brother – a brother he loved and cared for and ‘protected’. But he couldn’t save him from the big slide. The young boy was crushed in his classroom. Ronnie asked me why his brother died and he lived. He was confused about it and suffered terribly from survivor’s guilt. All I could say at the time was perhaps God had a plan for Ronnie Davies, that he’d been spared to carry on and do good things. Be a good man. Make his brother proud.
Forty years later, just after the exhibition at the Library, I was made part of a video: The American Photographer Returns to Aberfan. I was to reconnect with some of the children I photographed who were now around 50 years old. Ronnie Davies was one of [the] men I met. When I entered their home, his wife approached me and gave me a hug. I was a bit startled by that, not knowing her but she immediately told me that Ronnie had spoken of me all through the years and was so looking forward to meeting me again. He never spoke of the day the disaster happened but I had made such an impression on him. When he stepped forward he was a bit shy but warmed to me and asked me if I recalled what I had said to him that day I took his photo? I couldn’t recall and he reminded me of those words written above. That he should be a good man and make his brother proud and he said that he was a good man. And his wife said, from the kitchen, “He is a very good man.”
Then Ronnie left the front room and disappeared to the rear of the home and when he emerged he was carrying a table game. A game that I had given him on Christmas Day, my very last day in Aberfan. He kept it all those years in perfect condition, a symbol of the encouragement I had given him and the hope to carry on.
I saw him again last month at the Redhouse in Merthyr at the launch of my digital exhibit. It was a warm reunion and a tearful one, for both of us. Fifty years had passed. My story had an impact on so many residents of Aberfan who now call me a “son of Aberfan” and thank me for doing what I did to show the recovery of a broken village. But what I did not realize [was] how much of an impact the villagers had on me.”
Aberfan: The Days After exhibition, containing I. C. Rapoport’s photographs, is on display at The National Library of Wales until 14 January 2017.
Bethan Rees ~ Digtial Access
Explore thousands of images from the archives on Flickr Commons
Users of the National Library of Wales website can explore many thousands of digital images from the library’s vast collections.
However, we also believe in sharing our digital content as widely as possible, and sharing our content with the popular Flickr community gives us a great opportunity to engage with new users and share the rich visual history of Wales.
Over the years the images we have shared with Flickr have been viewed millions of times, and there appear to be some clear favourites, like ‘Dog with a pipe’ which went viral, attracting more than 25,000 views.
Every month at least 20 new images are hand picked and uploaded to Flickr and this month we have kept it topical, uploading old photographs of Bonfire builders and fireworks displays.
New content is being added all the time so why not follow us on Flickr to see all our latest uploads?
Jason Evans, Digital Access
Come to The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth this Friday and Saturday (23 and 24 November 2012) to celebrate the enormous contribution of the Welshman from Cross Hands, Ifor Thomas and his wife, Joy to British photography.
Through their courses at the Guildford School of Photography during mid-twentieth century, Ifor and Joy Thomas revolutionised the way photography was taught in Britain and laid the foundations for more than a generation of successful and influential photographers and film directors.
Lens is the annual documentary photography festival held at the National Library of Wales. It’s a celebration and recognition of the Library’s collections of over 800,000 documentary photographs.
‘When I volunteered to research the lives and work of Ifor and Joy Thomas in their pioneering School of Photography I had no idea what I had promised the National Library,’ said Rita Tait, Convener and Speaker at Lens 2012.
Rita Tait is a researcher and writer. She initiated the Arthur Machen Literary Society which ran for 12 years restoring the reputation of this Anglo Welsh writer. Rita then devoted her time and talent to Ifor and Joy Thomas’s collections. For almost three years she has converted what was a disparate jumble of old photographs, drawings and writing into the material which makes this event possible.
Rita’s husband Jack is a former student of Ifor and Joy Thomas at Guilford School of Photography, 1955 – 1958 and he set up The School of Photography at Derby College of Art and Manchester Polytechnic. In 1982 he was given all of Joy and Ifor Thomas’s ephemera and memorabilia which have been kindly gifted to the National Library of Wales.
This year’s Lens festival will include a host of influential speakers. As well as Rita and Jack Tait, they include; Professor Suga of Tsuda College Japan, who has published and lectured extensively on aspects of British Design in her role as Secretary of the Design History Workshop, Japan; William Troughton who is the National Library of Wales Curator for the National Collection of Welsh Photographs and has written and Published books on the history of photography and social history.
Former students of Ifor Thomas will also be speaking during Lens 2012 Festival. They include Tessa Traeger who is one of the outstanding still-life photographers of her generation; Julia Hedgecoe whose work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London and Adam Woolfitt who writes on digital photography for the British Journal of Photography, Image Magazine and Photo District News in New York. Adam has also contributed to the National Geographic and other leading magazines for 30 years.
‘The Lens weekend is always a pleasurable and interesting get-together for all those interested in photography. We attract professional and amateur photographers as well as people interested in social history. Past speakers at the annual Lens festival have included the world-famous Phillip Jones-Griffiths and David Hurn.’ said William Troughton, National Library of Wales Curator for the National Collection of Welsh Photographs.
Festival of Welsh Documentary Photography
23/24 November 2012
Come to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth for a celebration of the enormous contribution of the Welshman from Cross Hands, Ifor Thomas, and his wife, Joy, to British Photography.
Through their courses at the Guilford School of Photography during mid-twentieth century, they revolutionised the way photography was taught in Britain and laid the foundations for more than a generation of successful and influential photographers and film directors.
Lens is the annual documentary photographic festival held at the National Library of Wales. It’s a celebration and recognition of the Library’s collections of over 800,000 documentary photographs.
A bit about one of the speakers……
Adam Woolfitt, Panel Member
Adam Woolfitt was born in 1938 and by the age of 11 had decided to become a photographer. He attended the Photography course at Guildford College of Art under Ifor Thomas, a life changing experience. His first proper job was to set up a portrait studio and print darkroom for Decca Records. He later had six year a contract with The Mermaid Theatre to shoot front of house publicity. A brief flirtation with the world of Advertising convinced him that he was not a team player and after three years of working with the Daily Telegraph Colour Magazine, he got his first assignment for The National Geographic Magazine.
For the next thirty years he free-lanced for National Geographic and many other leading magazines worldwide, using amazing quantities of 35 mm Kodachrome.
In 1992 at Photokina in Cologne he saw a LEAF digital camera back in action for the first time and realized that silver photography (like the Middle Ages) was coming to an end. Thereupon, he immersed himself in computers and digital cameras. He was (briefly) Chairman of the Association of Photographers where he irritated most of the membership by constantly prophesying the end of film. He was the prime mover behind the UK Digital Imaging Group and a founding member of IDEA (the International Digital Exhibition and Awards) He was awarded an Associetship of the Royal Photographic Society whilst still a student at Guildford and aged 65 he gladly accepted an Honorary Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photographers.
The Corbis Digital Picture archive (privately owned by Bill Gates) invited him to submit his back catalogue and scanned nearly 10,000 images, which gave him a reliable income for many years and allowed him to branch out. In the mid 1990’s he co-founded SharpTurn Productions which was dedicated (years ahead of its time) to immersive 360º and interactive photography for Web, CD and Video projects.
He took up writing on digital matters for Ag Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Image Magazine and Photo District News (New York) In 2006 he had a one man show of digital panoramas called “Circles of Confusion” in The Schoolhouse Gallery in Morvah, in Cornwall.
Most recently Adam escaped to the West country for nearly four years to shoot three food books, Gourmet Cornwall (2006) Cornish Fishing and Seafood (2008) & The Devon Food Book (2010)
He has finally returned to London, where he is still married to Penelope. They have three children and eight and a half grandchildren.