A Fine Beginning & Document Scotland - Photo: Audrey Gillan
A Fine Beginning & Document Scotland – Photo: Audrey Gillan

A Fine Beginning is a Welsh photography collective, established by James O Jenkins, with the ambition to develop a platform to discover and showcase contemporary photography being made in Wales today. The collective takes its name from the first chapter of Dylan Thomas’s unfinished novel ‘Adventures in the Skin Trade’.

The collective launched with a publication in May 2013 at the publishing weekend of the inaugural Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography. The issue showcased the work of four of our current members; Gawain Barnard, Jack Latham, Abbie Trayler-Smith and James O Jenkins. In foregrounding photography in Wales, the festival provided an opportune moment to launch the first instalment of A Fine Beginning.

A Fine Beginning aims to offer a platform to photographers making work in Wales to have their photography seen and appreciated in Wales and beyond. To find out about future projects or to submit your work, please get in touch (@afinebeginning).

Our first exhibition ‘A Fine Beginning: Made in Wales’ was at Arcade Cardiff (14 – 30 March 2014). The exhibition showed work from the collective as well as selected images from work we have featured on our blog. The second ‘Made in Wales’ exhibition opened at Oriel Colwyn on 5 September (to 31 October 2014) and shows work by 21 photographers we have featured on our blog.

On 28 August, our joint exhibition with the Scottish collective Document Scotland called ‘Common Ground’ opened at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow. The exhibition features new work from the collective and runs till 19 October.

The Collective

Rutherglen - James O Jenkins
Rutherglen – James O Jenkins

James O Jenkins
(b. Gorseinon) is a photographer and co-founder of Portrait Salon. He has exhibited at The Photographers Gallery, The Association of Photographers and Hotshoe Gallery. His work has been published widely including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Independent on Sunday and Creative Review. In 2012 he published his first book ‘United Kingdom’, a visual study of traditional annual UK customs, which has been shown in London, Helsinki, Arles and New York. In 2013 his series ‘United Kingdom’ was featured at The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The Big O - Abbie Trayler Smith
The Big O – Abbie Trayler Smith

Abbie Trayler-Smith
(b.Newport) is a documentary and portrait photographer whose work draws primarily on an emotional response and engagement with her subject. Having spent 8 years at The Daily Telegraph, covering news and features around the world, including the Iraq war and Asian tsunami, she now travels globally on assignment for a wide variety of clients and enjoys spending time on personal long-term projects in the UK. Abbie’s study ‘Still Human Still Here’ on destitute asylum seekers in the UK was exhibited at foto8’s HOST gallery in London in 2009 along with her award winning accompanying multi-media short film. Her portrait of Chelsea from the series ‘The Big O’ won 4th prize in The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Prize 2010. She joined Panos Pictures in 2007 and became a member of Panos Profile in 2010.

A Line Runs Through Us - Gawain Barnard
A Line Runs Through Us – Gawain Barnard

Gawain Barnard
(b. Rhondda) completed an MFA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport in 2009. His Photographic work and research has mainly focused around the environment and people of his youth. Making quiet portraits of adolescence and precise observations of their surroundings Gawain brings new and fresh reflections of the once industrialised regions of South Wales. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented by Millennium Images.

Looking for Lilacs - Jack Latham
Looking for Lilacs – Jack Latham

Jack Latham
(b. Cardiff) is a Welsh photographer based in Brighton. A 2012 graduate of the BA Documentary Photography course at the University of Wales, Newport, his work focuses on more conceptual subject matter and is often presented in the form of large format photography and self-published books. His photographs were first published in the British Journal of Photography in their “2012 Student Profile”, which highlighted up and coming talent across the UK. Jack has continued to work both in the UK and internationally and some of his most recent work is currently being exhibited in New York. In addition to his own practice he co-curates a monthly lecture series in Brighton “Miniclick“.

Common Ground runs at Street Level Photoworks until 19 October. For more about Common Ground, take a loot at this feature about Document Scotland.

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