|Stories -- Colette Campbell-Jones|
I also drew upon the stories of childhood freedom. I commonly heard valley people recall that as children they almost “ran wild” through the villages and up in the mountains. However, the community was so vigilant that children were raised by many people beyond one’s own family. Adults would care for any child even if they didn’t know them directly. “If you were doing something you shouldn’t, an adult would find out who you were, who your parents were, sit you down to dinner and return you to your home.”
|Family Snapshot -- Colette Campbell-Jones|
This image also shows the effects of the end of the coal industry on family and social cohesion in the valleys, combined with the impact of new technologies rapidly making the culture individualistic and indistinguishable from anywhere else. The “family snapshot” on the wall is my husband’s family showing three generations along with the family pets. My father-in-law is just outside of the frame, taking the photograph.
|Epilogue -- Colette Campbell-Jones|
The tips have recently been identified as an important feature of the world’s industrial heritage and are now under protection. This came up in conversation when the buzzing of dirt bikes hummed all around us. These relatives were very disappointed that the teens in this village no longer had a “proper place” to ride their bikes since they had been banned from playing on the coal tips. They thought this was ironic since “nobody ever cared about the slag, they were always considered to be terrible things, but we learned to live with them and make the most out of them. Now its against the law to do what we’ve always done on them”. It’s as if in preserving one part of history, they are “ending” another part of history that’s still alive.
|English Out -- Colette Campbell-Jones|
I wanted to make this image because all of their stories focus on all the fun that they had – despite living in “one of the most heavily industrialized regions of Europe.” Their remembrances were somewhat idealized with omissions and distortions. The title of this photograph references the centuries old tensions between countries that can be found in graffiti throughout South Wales, although the main political tensions during this period involved labor.
-- Colette Campbell-Jones
More images from Stories from Underground can be viewed here
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Read Part Two of the Colette Campbell-Jones series here.
Read Part Three here.