Author: Art Narratives Staff

“The process of working with Peter is creatively positive as there is always someone to test ideas on. This also has its melancholic aspects as there is the constant reference to the passing of time. One of the more difficult parts of the creation process is the timed and repeated poses. Peter has difficulty with various joints and ordering someone with arthritis to stay absolutely still for repeated shots can be literally painful.”

Kings, Queens & Fairy Tales: The Sitting by John Paul Evans (5/5)

“Early projects till death us do part & home & away were given the umbrella title matrimonial ties. An image from the till death us do part series (image 6) was nominated and awarded the Hasselblad Masters Award 2016.

As a consequence Hasselblad commissioned a body of images for the Awards publication ‘inspire’ which was launched at Photokina Cologne in September 2016. Kings, queens & fairy tales is a body of images inspired by Mario Pratz’ writings on the couple/ marriage/ wedding portrait in western art history, which he refers to as ‘the conversation piece’. These staged paintings were arguably commissioned to mark the status of the individuals they represented. I wanted to make a playful response to this theme in which Peter and I dress up, or perform, in the landscape and in the studio as well as making images that are a fusion of still life and montage. In response to the theme ‘inspire’ the images make lateral connections with the childhood belief in fairy tale marriages, with points in photographic history (the Cottingly fairies) and with Icons from homosexual history (Oscar Wilde – the happy prince).”

Kings, Queens & Fairy Tales: Fanfare For The Happy Prince by John Paul Evans (3/5)

“The images are a series of photographs of my partner Peter and I performing repeated permutations of the couple/marriage/wedding portrait.The works originated in 2013 as a response to the political and media debate surrounding the proposal of full marriage rights in law in Britain, Europe and America for same sex couples.”

Kings, Queens & Fairy Tales: Till Death Us Do Part by John Paul Evans (1/5)

“Because I was photographing a subject that was very close to my heart and I had a very personal connection with, I had to approach it in a completely different way. I think every photographer who works on personal projects knows that you spend about 80% of your time emailing contacts, trying to get in touch with the right people in the hope of managing to arrange shoots. But with this project that wasn’t the case at all. The community got really involved with the work and were incredibly supportive, and so I had people approaching me almost every day, asking to be photographed and wanting to tell their own stories of living there. It was quite surreal as this is just not what you expect to happen!

I also had to approach each subject in a very different way to how I would normally, as I have a personal connection with each of the people I photographed. I have grown up with these people, I went to school with some of them, some were family friends, others I just knew by name. But each person I have had some sort of social interaction with at some point in my life growing up there, which I think helped break the barrier between photographer and sitter, and made them feel more comfortable. With each person I photographed I spent spent about 6 hours with them. About 45 mins – 1 hour was spent taking the photos, the rest of the time I just spent chatting to them and listening to their stories. Everybody has a story to tell, and I think that it is my obligation as a photographer to try and tell their story. It was really interesting listening to them talk about their lives and their experiences living in St Davids, and I learnt so much about each person. People really opened up to me and often told me quite personal things that have happened to them, and I began to view St Davids in a completely different light, and now have a newfound appreciation and understanding of the place.”

David’s House by Alexander Ingram (4/5)

“Having spent the past four years living away from St Davids, I was beginning to feel quite disconnected with the place. It didn’t really feel like my home anymore, it was just where my parents happened to live and I didn’t appreciate it for what it was. The project all started with my neighbour, Dai, and my relationship with him, who has spent his whole life living less than 3 miles away from the little farmhouse that he was born, with no interest in living anywhere else. For him, St Davids offered everything he wanted in life, and he used to tell me all about his life and his experiences growing up here. Whilst for me, it didn’t really have what I was wanting and didn’t offer me the opportunities I was looking for.

I loved growing up there. I enjoyed the tight knit community, being minutes away from the beach and being surrounded by some of the most beautiful and awesome landscapes in the world, but as a young adult looking to pursue a career, I knew that it wasn’t for me.

It all began with the stories that Dai would tell me of his life living here as we sat by the open fire in his little home. He had a real love for the place, and his philosophy and outlook on life was so incredible that it made me question whether this was a result of living here, and so I decided to expand the project and explore how St Davids has impacted the lives of everyone who lives there.”

David’s House by Alexander Ingram (2/5)

“I first became interested in using photography as a medium of artistic expression in the mid 1980s. It was a time when, as a young man, I was coming to terms with my own sexuality against a backdrop of political intolerance and a media that was referencing gay men as harbingers of disease in relation to AIDS.

I was influenced by writers and philosophers who referenced the way photography is deployed to reinforce concepts of belonging and otherness in relation to class, race and gender. Making images that respond to themes of gender, belonging and otherness has been a major preoccupation in my work.”

Kings, Queens & Fairy Tales: One Day My Prince Will Come by John Paul Evans (4/5)

“As an artist and academic I have always been critical of the way photography is deployed to reaffirm notions of belonging and otherness especially in relation to the family album. As a consequence, there are very few photographs that document the 27 years that Peter and I have spent together. As I am now entering my early 50s, and Peter is in his late 70s, there seemed to be an urgency to address this and to make an alternative set of images to reference our existence.”

Kings, Queens & Fairy Tales: The Enchanted Castle by John Paul Evans (2/5)

“Pembrokeshire is an incredibly beautiful place, and I think that it is quite easy to fall into the trap of taking quite cliched images. I made a very conscious effort to try and avoid photographing these places that have been photographed a million times before, and wanted to try and show a side of St Davids that you might not have seen. I wanted to ensure that I didn’t just create a project full of beautiful images of beautiful landscapes in Pembrokeshire. If you want a book full of photos of sunsets at the beach, or postcards of the wildlife, you can buy hundreds of them in almost any shop in Pembrokeshire! I wanted the images I was producing to have some sort of narrative behind them, which told you more about what St Davids is really like from a personal perspective. Some of the images might not be of the prettiest things in the world, or might not be the sort of photograph you would want framed above your fire at home, but they are what St Davids is really like, and that is what I wanted to try and portray in the project.”

David’s House by Alexander Ingram (5/5)

“The project is an exploration of my relationship with the place I grew up and my sense of belonging. It questions the impacts that this tiny community in this remote location has had on my life and the lives of everyone that lives there. I wanted to understand what it was that kept people living there, and how the community spirit and the remoteness has influenced their philosophies and outlook on life. It was important for me to photograph a wide range of people as I wanted to understand the impacts living here has on the entire community, not just a select demographic, in order to produce a truthful representation of the place.”

David’s House by Alexander Ingram (3/5)

“David’s House is a personal project that explores my connection with St Davids, the UK’s smallest city, with a population of just 1981. St Davids sits on the most Westerly tip of the UK, surrounded on three sides by nothing but open expanses of water, under constant attack from the elements, making it at times, especially during the cold winter months, seem like quite a bleak and inhospitable place.

For four months of the year the population of St Davids explodes as thousands upon thousands of tourists bombard this small community, filling the hotels, restaurants, bars and beaches as they enjoy the summer sun. But just as soon as they arrive, they are gone, leaving behind the people that live there to carry on with their daily lives in this remote little part of the world. However, there is a comradery between the citizens that live there, a sense of family, a sense of belonging and a sense of home, that keeps them there through these quiet months.

Having grown up in St Davids, I know how extreme the differences between the summer and the winter months are, and for this project I wanted to focus my attention on the people and the landscape during these quiet, bleak months, and how the environment, the isolation and the community impacts on their lives. It is the place that I grew up and spent my childhood, but recently I have found myself quite disconnected with the place, and the project is an exploration of identity, culture, and a sense of belonging as I revisit the town that I grew up in.”

David’s House by Alex Ingram (1/5)