Notes from The Singing Hills // September 2021
A Professor from America
Welcome to Notes from The Singing Hills, a newsletter containing news, updates and stories behind the photographs about my project on people of North Wales heritage in the farmland of Central New York and Slate Valley on the New York and Vermont border, brought to you by me, Ed Brydon. If you are interested, I also have another, monthly newsletter that has original features on aspects of photography, especially editing, as well as updates on my other projects and commissions. You can subscribe to that one here.
A Professor from America
I had a wonderful chat with Jerry Hunter of Bangor University in August who is an expert in Welsh Literature. Jerry is from Ohio originally but moved in the opposite direction to many of the families in my project by coming to North Wales. He provided many insights during our conversation and followed up with a list of great resources to look into as I plan the continuation of this project. My friend Ioan Grufydd, whose family I have photographed as part of this project, put me onto his work.
Diolch yn fawr Ioan ac Jerry.
Speaking of the continuation of this project, I will be up in North Wales in October hoping to make new work. I am looking to talk to and photograph more people and places in North Wales that have familial relationships with people who emigrated to the Remsen/Utica are of New York and Slate Valley area (Granville, Poultney etc.) on the New York/Vermont border, who would be happy to be part of my project.
I recognise not everyone will be comfortable meeting up at the moment due to COVID and am happy to work with your comfort level or talk about setting up something for a future date. Just to note, I am double-vaccinated and happy to meet and talk outside if preferred.
Please share this with anyone you feel might like to talk to me and would be open to me photographing them and the places associated with their family. To get in touch with me please reply to this newsletter or email me: email@example.com
Mountain quarry and roof peaks
In July I wrote a short piece on how and why I came to make this image of Penrhyn Slate Quarry from Carneddi in Bethesda.
“The quarrying of slate is synonymous with North Wales and slate is part of the landscape almost everywhere you go there. It is also intrinsically part of the story of several people I have photographed…” continues on my website.
Later that month it was announced that Wales’ slate landscape had been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Closure Magazine Instagram takeover
Back in March I showed some images from this project as part of my Instagram takeover of Closure Magazine’s account. In doing so I took the chance to explore a slightly different presentation of the images, which you can see here.
A reminder that I have several display prints from my project The Singing Hills available to buy that were exhibited during the Northern Eye Festival in 2017.
Oriel Colwyn did the printing for the festival and each print is 10x15 inches on A3 (11.7x16.5 inches) Fujifilm professional paper. They were mounted using drawing pins (thumb tacks) so have small holes in the corners, but these would be obscured by matt boards upon framing or could be cut down to a thinner border.
Galleries, like many businesses, have been hit hard by COVID, so 50% of all proceeds from sales of these one-off prints go to Oriel Colwyn to support their overheads, facilities and programming.
Visit my print shop here: https://www.edbrydon.com/shop
Many Voices, One Nation Book
You may remember I received a commission from the Senedd in 2019 to make more work on this project. I’m delighted that those images have been included in the Many Voices, One Nation commission book, produced by Ffotogallery, alongside the work of the other commissioned photographers. More on the book launch and other photographers work included here.
Offline Journal Issue 006 ‘Wild Skies’
I was surprised and pleased to be asked by Brian Carroll to write the intro to Offline Journal Issue 006, ‘Wild Skies’. The issue is about ‘contemporary landscape’. That is a broad theme, but the use of the word contemporary makes it about time, and time has certainly been different over the last year and a half. I weaved some of my own personal experience of this time into the introduction. The issue has sold out, but you can make sure you don’t miss any future issues of this excellent journal and supporting Brian’s endeavours by subscribing here.
Events, links and things of interest
Next month sees the return of the Northern Eye Festival. Every year Paul Sampson at Oriel Colwyn puts together a fantastic lineup of speakers and exhibits, and this year is as strong as ever. The festival uses the Colwyn Bay theatre for talks as well as businesses and empty shops around the town as pop-up gallery spaces. It is a great utilisation of community space with the aim of helping to regenerate the town. I hope to see you there. If you spot me, do say “Shwmae”.
It’s still up in the air at the moment, but I am also hoping to make it to the EYE International Photography Festival in Aberystwyth for the first time, which takes place the weekend after Northern Eye Festival, on the 16th and 17th October. Postponed from 2020 it also, as usual, has an impressive lineup of speakers.
The Khasi-Cymru Collective “explores the little-known history of Wales and the Khasi Hills of northeast India”. It’s a wonderful blend of culture and music. Read more in Wales Arts Review.
Wales is no stranger to pilgrimage and many will know the significance of places like Ynys Enlli or Llanddwyn. Ernest Journal has an article on the modern act of pilgrimage and the growth of walkers along the ‘Welsh Camino’.
Wales Arts Review recently published an extract from ‘Wales, the Welsh and the Making of America’, a new book by Vivienne Sanders. You can read it here.
Thank you for reading. While this newsletter is specific to this project I have another monthly newsletter called The [ED]it where I write more generally on things I am thinking about in photography and editing. It also contains news updates about my other projects, ‘one image’ where I showcase a new image or one from the archive and give a bit of the background behind it and other things I’ve found interesting that month. If you’d like to have a read and sign up you can do so here. Diolch yn fawr.
I am a photographer and writer available for commissions based near Farnham, Surrey, in south east England, just 45 minutes from London. I also regularly work in North Wales.
My more recent work explores personal connections to place, the land and natural environment, how each of those, and the connections between them, are changing.
In 2017 my ongoing project on people of North Welsh heritage in the northeast US was exhibited at Northern Eye Festival. It was subsequently awarded a commission from the Welsh Parliament in 2019 for exhibition around Wales in 2019-20.
You can find out more on my website here.
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