Thursday, 23 February 2017

Full Fathom Five news & gallery updates

Morning everyone,

now that the second week of Celia Jackson's solo exhibition has started, we have a couple of updates for you.

First of all, here's some more info about Sana Ginwalla's charity project supported by the sale of postcards with images from "Full Fathom Five" (they've been designed by Sana and Celia & are available in our gallery for 50p each - or if you'd like to order some, just drop us an email!)

(photo by Celia Jackson)

"As part of my Final Major Project, I decided to create photographs back home in Zambia with the very people who make Zambia feel like it is my home. I photographed six people that my family employ. My subjects were the maids and gardeners whom I see everyday, who take care of my family as well as theirs and who live two lives for the sake of making a livelihood.

Photographing them over a period of four weeks and also visiting their homes and families, the reality of their situation was made more apparent to me than in all ten years of knowing them. Though employed and cared for by my family, I felt a sort of responsibility and debt towards each person. I want to help in my own way, separate from my what my family has been providing.

Carrying out this project- as a student myself- has given me the consciousness to want to help others to receive an education too. I want the children of each of the subjects in my photographs to receive an education. I want their parents to have one less outgoing cost in order for their standard of living to improve even if it is by the slightest.

Speaking to each of the subjects about their situation, the universal reason behind why each of them work comes down to them wanting to educate their children so that they do not have to resort to domestic work too. Having lived in Zambia all my life, this to me seems to be the way forward- for not just these families, but on a greater scale- for the country too. How are children, Zambia or Africa going to progress and continue to be an asset to the world if the promise and security of education is absent?

With the generosity and support of my lecturer Celia Jackson, funding for this project has already begun! She has been the first donor, kindly contributing first with a £50 donation and furthermore from selling postcard prints of her images. The aim is to be able to raise at least £1000 in order to suffice for the children of each of the subjects involved in the project. Liaisons with more charities are underway as I hope to have an official organisation to support the project in order to further raise money."


We'd also like to let you know our darkroom has now been listed on Ilford's Local Darkroom page! (It's a very useful one for finding a darkroom near you) We're looking forward to meeting photographers and beginners who would like to use it. We have trays, chemicals and a colour enlarger which can also be used for b&w & it can be used for 35mm and medium format (up to 6x9), soon to be joined by a 4x5" one. We also have paper, although if you'd like to do a big printing session, you'll have to bring your own!

Finally, we'd like to share a brilliant invention brought to us by one of our visitors, Adrian John Markey - behold this homemade portable studio/outdoors lighting system! Patent pending :-)

Sunday, 19 February 2017

first Full Fathom Five week

Good evening,

Yesterday was the final day of our first week at both our new 76m2 gallery and "Full Fathom Five". It's been a great first week and it's surpassed our expectations, we couldn't have hoped for a better start to the project. The people in Pontypool have been welcoming, enthusiastic and complimentary about what we're trying to achieve and Celia's exhibition. Here are some photos from the first week.

Saturday was also the #LovePontypool and once again Celia joined us at the gallery. There were lots of events going on in town and the Indoor Market and we were lucky enough to be able to spend the morning with Celia taking some pinhole images in town and the park. The results were mixed, but then it was our first time and Celia's first time using b/w direct positive paper for pinhole making, the overcast weather didn't much help either (average exposure time was about 10 minutes). You can see the results of our experiments developed in our new on-site darkroom below. 

And finally, we have some beautiful postcards made by Celia & Sana Ginwalla for the exhibition that will be on sale at the gallery for 50p each. All the money from sales will go to a charity dedicated to help Zambian children access education and we will soon post more details about the fundraiser.

A big thanks to everyone who made the effort to come up to Pontypool this week, to the people in Pontypool for their warm welcome and of course to Celia!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Full Fathom Five opening

Morning everyone,

Here are some photographs from Saturday's opening of Celia Jackson's solo exhibition "Full Fathom Five", the first show in 76m2, our new gallery in Pontypool. Celia joined us for the opening, bringing her pinhole cameras and negatives.

Celia presenting one of her pinhole cameras and negatives 

Exhibition info is also available as an audio recording in English and Welsh,
kindly read for us by Celia and her daughter Clara.

We'd like to thank everyone who came despite the wintry weather!

Next Saturday, as part of the Love Pontypool event, Celia will be in the gallery with us again; we're going to join the celebrations in town & venture out on a pinhole-taking walk, while the gallery will be open as usual between 11 to 6. Everyone is welcome to come and learn more about pinhole photography!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

last preparations for Saturday's opening!

Evening everyone,

as we're preparing for Saturday's opening of 76m2, we'd like to share a couple more images from the preparation of our gallery space and Celia Jackson's exhibition Full Fathom Five.

 The show and the gallery are opening at 2 o'clock and everyone is welcome to come along!!

Monday, 6 February 2017

76m2 & how to find us


before our Saturday's opening of Celia Jackson's "Full Fathom Five", here's some practical info on how to find us.

The gallery is located on Commercial St in the centre of Pontypool, and will be open 5 days a week, 11-6.

opening times

Sunday      Closed
Monday     Closed
Tuesday           11am - 6pm
Wednesday      11am - 6pm
Thursday          11am - 6pm
Friday              11am - 6pm
Saturday          11am - 6pm


Portland Buildings
Commercial Street

getting to the gallery

by train: the nearest train station is Pontypool & New Inn, which is about a 20-minute (through the park) walk from the gallery, there are buses to and from town about every 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes from Cardiff Central. you may have to change at Newport for some services. There is also a direct train from Newport.

by bus: the nearest stop is Town Hall (Clarence Street). You can reach us by bus from Cardiff, Newport, Abergavenny, Blackwood, Brynmawr, Blaenavon, & Cwmbran with one or no changes.

Train  and bus times and changes can be found on Traveline Cymru

by car: the nearest free car park is behind the Civic Centre (off Glantorfaen Rd), just 2 minutes away from the gallery. Walking from the car park - just head for the town centre, or back towards the Pearl Assurance building and turn left.

If you're travelling east from:

Swansea/Cardiff/Newport area - take the M4 towards London, exit at junction 26 on the A4051 towards Cwmbran and then follow the signs to Pontypool.

Newport area - follow the A4042 to Pontypool (or if heading from north west Newport take the M4 west and exit 25A and follow the signs to Cwmbran/Pontypool).

Travelling south-east from:

Neath, Merthyr Tydfil (or alt Brecon) - take the A465 (Heads of the Valleys), towards Abergavenny and exit in Brynmwar. You can either then go via Crumlin (A467 change to A472 at Crumlin lights), or if you're feeling more adventurous via Blaenavon (take the B4246 and change in Blaenavon to A4043)

Travelling south from:

Abergavenny area or Brecon (A40 to Abergavenny) - follow the A4042 towards Cwmbran and exit on the A472 towards Pontypool.

If you're travelling from further west, you can take the M4 and exit at 25A & follow the signs to Cwmbran/Pontypool.

If you are travelling with a SatNav or want more detailed instructions from a Maps App, our postcode is NP4 6JS.

The Gallery is located on Commercial Street just before the pedestrianised area, opposite Folly Vets and between Torfaen Voluntary Alliance and Skin & Ink Tattoo.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Full Fathom Five, by Celia Jackson


Our first exhibition at 76m2 will be "Full Fathom Five", by Celia Jackson. We're excited to be opening a new gallery in Pontypool and we hope we'll see you there when we open on the 11th of February.

“Full Fathom Five” is a solo exhibition by Celia Jackson, Wales-based photographer and senior lecturer at the University of South Wales. It is the first in a series of 9 exhibitions that will run in 76m2 between February and December 2017 thanks to support that we received from the Arts Council of Wales, Torfaen Arts Development and Pontypool Town Council.

Considering the personal character of the story behind the photographs, we would like to present it to you through Celia’s words:

Full Fathom Five

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

(William Shakespeare, The Tempest, I. 2. 397-403)

My father spent most of his life in, on or near the sea. He was born in Whitstable, Kent, in 1925 and grew up to the sound of gulls and shrimp-sellers. Later, when he joined the RAF, he was stationed in the Far East and brought back small packets of beautiful black-and-white photographs taken with his Leica camera. These show a mixture of exotic gardens, architecture, and beach scenes featuring implausibly large, feathery palm trees and brilliant sunshine.

Later Dad acquired a small dinghy and we would sail this determinedly up and down the River Avon on summer weekends, tacking every minute or so - less on a windy day, as the river was so narrow. He would also take sailing holidays on the North Sea, living on board for several days with new-found friends; these experiences inspired the poetry and short stories he wrote many years later.

Towards the end of his life Dad would take me and his two grandchildren to the Canary Islands every summer, where the white sands and dazzling turquoise sea were always a source of joy to him.  He lost his life in the sea in August 2011, off La Oliva Beach outside Corralejo, Fuerteventura.  As was his habit, he was floating on his back, looking up into the intense blue of the sky, and his heart simply stopped.

The images made for Full Fathom Five represent my first hesitant steps towards making something positive from the memories of that terrible day.  Like the American photographer Barbara Ess, I am “trying to photograph what cannot be photographed”, and, like her, I use the simplest of pinhole cameras to capture my way of experiencing the world.


Images featured in the exhibition were taken with cameras made of a coffee can and a biscuit tin with brass pinholes.

The exhibition will run between the 11th of February and the 7th of March 2017.


Mae “Pum Gwrhyd Llawn” yn arddangosfa solo gan Celia Jackson, ffotograffydd ac uwch ddarlithydd ym Mhrifysgol De Cymru. Hon yw'r gyntaf mewn cyfres o 9 arddangosfa a gynhelir mewn 76m2 rhwng mis Chwefror a mis Rhagfyr 2017 diolch i gefnogaeth gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Datblygu Celfyddydau Torfaen a Chyngor Tref Pont-y-pŵl.

O ystyried cymeriad personol y stori tu ôl i'r ffotograffau, hoffem ei chyflwyno i chi drwy eiriau Celia:

Pum Gwrhyd Llawn/Full Fathom Five

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

(William Shakespeare, The Tempest, I. 2. 397-403)

Treuliodd fy nhad y rhan fwyaf o'i fywyd ar neu'n agos at y môr. Cafodd ei eni yn Whitstable, Caint, yn 1925 a'i fagu yn sŵn gwylanod a gwerthwyr berdys. Yn ddiweddarach, pan ymunodd â'r Awyrlu Brenhinol, bu'n gwasanaethu yn y Dwyrain Pell a daeth â phecynnau bach o ffotograffau hardd du-a-gwyn a dynnodd gyda'i gamera Leica yn ôl gydag ef. Mae hyn yn dangos cyfuniad o erddi egsotig, pensaernïaeth a golygfeydd traeth gyda choed palmwydd pluog anhygoel o fawr a heulwen danbaid.

Yn ddiweddarach cafodd Dad gwch bychan a byddem yn hwylio hyn yn benderfynol lan a lawr yr Afon Avon ar benwythnosau yn ystod yr haf, gan dacio bob tua munud - llai ar ddyddiau gwyntog, gan fod yr afon mor gul. Byddai hefyd yn cymryd gwyliau hwylio ar Fôr y Gogledd, gan fyw ar long am nifer o ddyddiau gyda'i ffrindiau newydd; ysbrydolodd y profiadau hyn y farddoniaeth a'r straeon byr a ysgrifennodd flynyddoedd lawer wedyn.

Tuag at ddiwedd ei fywyd byddai Dad yn mynd â fi a'i ddau o wyrion i'r Ynysoedd Dedwydd bob haf lle'r oedd y tywod gwyn a'r môr gwyrddlas disglair bob amser yn ffynhonnell llawenydd iddo. Bu farw yn y môr ym mis Awst 2011, ger traeth La Olivia yn agos at Corralejo, Fuerteventura. Yn ôl ei arfer, roedd yn arnofio ar ei gefn, yn edrych lan ar lesni’r awyr, a pheidiodd ei galon â churo.

Mae'r delweddau a wnaed ar gyfer Pum Gwrhyd Llawn yn cynrychioli fy nghamau petrus cyntaf tuag at wneud rhywbeth mwy cadarnhaol o atgofion am y diwrnod ofnadwy hwnnw. Yn yr un modd â'r ffotograffydd Barbara Ess, rwy'n "ceisio tynnu llun yr hyn na ellir tynnu ei lun", ac fel hi, rwy'n defnyddio'r camera twll pin symlaf i gyfleu fy ffordd fi o brofi'r byd.


Tynnwyd y delweddau a ddangosir yn yr arddangosfa hon gyda chamerâu a wnaed o gan coffi a thin bisgedi gyda thyllau pin pres.

Cynhelir yr arddangosfa rhwng 11 Chwefror a 7 Mawrth 2017.