With iron ore and coal in the plenty and within easy reach of the sea, my home town, Merthyr Tydfil became the birth place of industrial activity in Wales, this in turn led to make an impression upon image-makers. Even greats such as J. M. W. Turner himself, who was probably commissioned by Anthony Bacon , a co-founder of Cyfarthfa works to visit.
So it seemed only fitting that while we were on holiday's and staying down the valley in Pontypridd with my mother in-law that I try to make an image of one of Merthyr's well know artists, Gustavius Payne.
I can't remember how I came to find out about Gus other than an inclination of an artist from Merthyr. It just took a little probing around on Google to find who it was I half remembered. It just so happened he was having an exhibition at Redhouse Cymru, an arts and creative industries center in the Old Town Hall, late Victorian Grade listed building in the heart of town.
After our first hand shake and pleasantries I wondered around looking at Gus's work, talking, trying to come up with an idea that would show some of Gus' work along with a strong image of the man himself. I just didnt want a, stand in front of a piece and look this way photo. That was going to be the easy way out. Saying nothing about me as the photographer and not really saying anything about the sitter.
Image 1, was my first set-up. I used the gallery structure to help me layer levels on a flat piece of film, giving it depth, something Gus' work had. Having Gus stand partially obscured by a wall, framed between two of his works made him the center of attention and yet still connected to his work.
Image 2, I wanted to move beyond the still image and try and introduce an almost painterly effect, having him be connected to his work. not quite in the painting and yet part of it. This was achieved by two exposures on the same frame. It took a little go as some of the frames the body movement was a little too extreme or not enough. This one I feel works best, still a portrait as his features are still visible but the painting still intrudes into Gus.
Image 3, This time a very simple approach, a head shot but still using the multiple two frames on one technique. This came about from an idea that sprang in to my head while shooting. Industry, strong, visionary.
As I was on holiday I didn't have all my kit so I shot them all with the natural light that was coming in from right side through large big Victorian windows. I could kill for a space like this to shoot in all the time.
I have to say a big thank you to Gus for giving me the time and not looking at me too strangely when I requested him move a number of times to get the frame right.