'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:
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.
CELIA JACKSON, NOVEMBER 2015
Images featured in the exhibition were taken with cameras made of a coffee can and a biscuit tin with brass pinholes.
The exhibition will open 2pm Saturday 11th February with the new gallery launch and run between the 11th of February and the 7th of March 2017.
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