Ffotogallery: Our Story 1978-2018

On 4 September 1978, the first gallery in Wales dedicated to photography opened in Charles Street, Cardiff, under the name Yr Oriel Ffotograffeg, Caerdydd (The Photographic Gallery, Cardiff). Fittingly, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition was Collected Photographs – Photographs from the collection of David Hurn.

Largely run by volunteers, from that September onwards a diverse and ambitious exhibition programme was initiated with a combination of originated and hired-in exhibitions. As well as showing the work of internationally respected photographers such as Diane Arbus, Bill Brandt, William Klein and Raymond Moore, the gallery mounted exhibitions by emergent young photographers such as Martin Parr, Tish Murtha and Brian Griffin.

The gallery’s wide-ranging exhibition programme continued to grow its reputation, both in Wales and internationally. It originated a major touring exhibition of the Black Series/Recent Nudes by the renowned American photographer Ralph Gibson, and in December 1980 the gallery hosted an extensive survey of New Spanish Photography in partnership with the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education.

Robert Greetham, a graduate of University College Wales Aberystwyth, was appointed Director of Ffotogallery in 1982. Under his leadership, a new exhibition programme was launched with a major thematic show organised by Ron McCormick and Susan Butler called Photography and Looking at Photographs examining how photographic images are read. Organised by David Hurn, an accompanying lecture series is run by Ffotogallery at University College Cardiff including speakers such as Bill Jay, Bert Hardy and Sir Tom Hopkinson. Other highlights of the exhibition programme included an originated show Burk Uzzle – A Retrospective, featuring work by one of Magnum’s leading photographers, and the Welsh Open 1983 selected by Keith Arnatt. New Perspectives on the Nude was a large-scale survey show curated by Susan Butler featuring contributions by Robert Mapplethorpe, Jo Spence and Helen Chadwick, followed by Mario Giacomelli – A Retrospective, the UK’s first major career-spanning show of Italy’s leading contemporary photographer.

In late 1983, Robert Greetham left to pursue freelance work and Susan Beardmore became Ffotogallery’s new Director, having previously been Gallery Administrator. Her appointment heralded a new emphasis on major commissions focusing on contemporary life in the South Wales’ Valleys as a subject for photographers. In the next edition of Ffotoview, Susan Beardmore announced that the inaugural exhibition of The Valleys Project would take place in February 1984 stating “with the Valleys Project, the Ffotogallery will, over a three year period, be documenting the life and landscape of this area as fully as photographically possible”.

"If you're under 18, there's not much to do" © Mike Berry, The Valleys Project, 1985

Aside from the Valleys Project, there were other important developments during Susan Beardmore’s tenure as Director. In May 1985, Ffotogallery staged the first major UK retrospective of American photographer Harry Callahan, an exhibition which toured to fourteen other venues including two overseas. In the same year Ffotoannual, the Ffotogallery members’ show, was initiated to give the individuals who support the organisation an opportunity to exhibit their work at the gallery. Outgrowing its premises at 41 Charles Street, Ffotogallery leased the top three floors of a Victorian building at 31 Charles Street to house its gallery and archive, darkrooms, workshop and offices. In 1986, Ffotogallery set up PHOTO-AXIS, an association of photography galleries and related exhibition venues in the UK that exchanges information, supports collaborative projects and establishes codes of practice for the independent photography sector.

By 1989, Ffotogallery was recognised by the Welsh Arts Council (later to become the Arts Council of Wales) as a centre of excellence amongst galleries in Wales, on the basis of its past record and future potential. The ambition to establish the organisation as ‘The National Centre for Photographic Arts in Wales’ was first discussed then. Susan Beardmore left to become Director of Oriel Mostyn in Llandudno, and Chris Coppock, founder and editor of CIRCA art magazine and Director of the Art and Research Exchange, Belfast, replaced her as Ffotogallery’s new Director.

As well as an interest in photography’s role in representing conflict, in particular that relating to his experiences in Northern Ireland, Coppock combined an astute eye for emergent photographic practices internationally, with a commitment to commissioning and presenting new work with Wales as its subject. In addition to overseeing the last two Valleys Project commissions, Ffotogallery originated Pigs and Ingots by Tina Carr and Anne-Marie Schone and Celtic Light by Pete Davis, two contrasting interpretations of the Welsh landscape. Commissioned by Ffotogallery in partnership with Oriel Mostyn and The Photographers Gallery, the exhibition Rubbish and Recollections offered a definitive selection of works by Wales-based artist Keith Arnatt.

Unknown Depths was a commission of work by Turner Prize nominated artist Willie Doherty, which included large format images with text exploring perceptions of Northern Ireland and Cardiff. A substantial accompanying catalogue was produced, being the first of a series of artist monographs and thematic publications produced by Ffotogallery over the next three decades.

In Spring 1992, the gallery closed for refurbishment, reopening in October with Cross Currents by John Davies, a Ffotogallery originated exhibition of rural and urban landscape photographs from the twelve member states of the European Union. By 1993, Ffotogallery had established a Patrons Scheme, with Lord Snowdon, David Bailey, Jane Bown, the writer Jan Morris and filmmaker Peter Greenaway, amongst other notable figures, pledging their support for the organisation. Later that year, Greenaway was awarded the Welsh Film Council’s 1993 International Fellowship Prize and as part of the celebrations Ffotogallery originated The Audience of Macon exhibition incorporating 100 images from the film, video and live actors dressed in 17th Century costume placed in glass cases within and outside the gallery.

In the mid-1990s, Ffotogallery continued to present significant exhibitions with accompanying publications including Isolate by Calum Angus Mackay, Familiar British Wildlife by Clive Landen and Lost Territory, featuring the work of two of Finland’s most respected photographers, Jorma Puranan and Pentti Sammallahti. The following year Sammallahti was invited back to undertake a commission in which he travelled the length and breadth of Wales, recording his perceptions of the country.

Ffotogallery’s educational activities were expanded significantly at this time, to include daytime and evening accredited courses, an Artists in Schools programme, seminars, college visits and schools activities to introduce students to the creative and technical aspects of photography. Exhibitions by emergent artists and photographers with close associations with Wales were mounted, including Helen Sear’s Gone to Earth, Paul Seawright’s Police Force and Sue Packer’s Portraits 1981-1994. Clement Cooper’s Us examined mixed-race heritage through a series of portraits of British-African and Caribbean individuals living in Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol.

In 1996, Ffotogallery commissioned Catherine Yass, an accomplished young artist from London, to produce a new body of work based on her experiences of the working environment at British Steel’s Port Talbot plant. An important landmark in South Wales, the steel works also represented a symbol of the region’s past industrial prosperity. Yass’ stunning images, displayed as lightboxes, were later acquired by the National Museum Wales as part of their national collection.

Docks Way Disposal Site, Newport (from Reconnaissance) © Josef Koudelka

Another important Ffotogallery commission in 1999 was Josef Koudelka’s Reconnaissance Wales, in partnership with Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, The National Museum and Magnum Photos. From the 1980s onwards, this internationally renowned photographer had travelled the world in search of man-made and industrial landscapes which embodied our uneasy relationship with nature. To travel to Cardiff and Wales to record the aftermath of industry was a natural extension of Koudelka’s photographic practice, as was the employment of the epic panoramic format that had become his signature style. The work produced was accessioned to the national collection, and Ffotogallery published a leporello (accordion fold) book to accompany the touring exhibition.

As the millennium drew to a close, Ffotogallery marked that occasion with Just Another Day, featuring photographs taken in Wales over 48 hours on New Year’s Eve 1999 and New Year’s Day 2000, including work by Bruce Gilden, David Hurn, Max Kandolha, John Davies, Simon Norfolk, Sue Packer, Haydn Denman, Karen Ingham, Roger Tiley, Paul Cabuts and Anthony Haughey.

In 2008, Ffotogallery’s 30th anniversary year, a particularly strong exhibition programme included Alec Soth’s Niagara, Sophy Rickett’s Auditorium, Pieter Hugo’s Portraits and John Duncan’s Bonfires. Ffotogallery also originated two exhibitions celebrating commissioned work made in Wales over the last three decades, I Hate Green and Fantasy and Denial. The selection represented many distinctive and wide-ranging responses to a period of dramatic social and economic change, including work from The Valleys Project, A470 and Barrage, alongside solo artist projects by Keith Arnatt, Catherine Yass, Josef Koudelka and Bedwyr Williams. As well as providing an overview of how artists engage with a specific locality, the exhibitions reflected some of the shifts in photography over the preceding three decades that had made the medium a vital and dynamic force in contemporary art and culture.

Ffotogallery’s 30th Anniversary Commission was awarded to the Scottish artist Wendy McMurdo, and the resulting exhibition The Skater, was the first exhibition of 2009, coinciding with the arrival of David Drake as Ffotogallery’s new Director.

With 30 years prior experience in curating, production, publishing and arts management, Drake was keen to ensure continuity with Ffotogallery’s history to date whilst building on the organisation’s reputation for providing a vital support system to artists in Wales, and generating work that forms an ongoing record of the nation’s culture. He equally wished to widen Ffotogallery’s range of influence through touring exhibitions, international projects, collaborations with other organisations and galleries, through publishing and an extensive education programme.

In 2009/10, two Ffotogallery originated exhibition and publishing projects were realised, curated by Russell Roberts. Tim Brennan’s English Anxieties offered a contemporary response to material in the Mass Observation Archive, and The Silent Village, featured work by Peter Finnemore, Paolo Ventura and the writer Rachel Trezise. The new work produced for the exhibition and accompanying publication examined from a new perspective the distinctive relations of time and place that defined Humphrey Jennings’ original film The Silent Village (1943), in which the small village of Cwmgïedd, in the Upper Swansea Valley, was used to recreate the fate of the Czechoslakian village of Lidice at the hands of the Nazis. The exhibition subsequently toured to Mostyn and DOX in Prague in 2012, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Lidice massacre.

from The Silent Village © Peter Finnemore

Ffotogallery also commissioned Peter Fraser to embark on a major new photographic project in Wales, returning twenty five years after his contribution to The Valleys Project. In Lost for Words Fraser captured in a unique way the spirit of the country by visiting and recording many diverse sites of interest, working across Wales.

As new technologies and media connectivity had increasingly become embedded in the fabric of everyday life, Ffotogallery felt the need to re-position itself as a cultural organisation to enable audiences to engage critically with contemporary image making, in all its forms. For Ffotogallery, these shifts were not about abandoning the organisation’s traditional strengths in photographic and lens-based media, but widening its frame of reference in response to digital opportunities.

This process began in autumn 2009 with Vision On, a season that engaged the wider community in a playful celebration of digital potential through artist presentations, installations and hands-on workshops tackling the themes of digital creativity, immersive technology, data visualisation and audiovisual production and presentation. Vision On included a residency by international artist group Ghana Think Tank, part of a globally distributed network of think tanks set up to used live streaming technologies to connect local people with others in far flung corners of the world, working together to find creative solutions to local problems.

A major exhibition of South African contemporary art followed in early 2010, developed in partnership with the Djanogly Gallery at Nottingham University. Life Less Ordinary brought together works of photography, performance, video and installation by a younger generation wishing to break away from the epic narratives of apartheid in order to explore more complex notions of identity. The exhibition featured work by Tracey Rose, Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Pieter Hugo and Berni Searle, including video work selected for Artes Mundi 1 and acquired by the Museum of Wales for the national collection.

In summer 2010, through the city twinning relationship, Fotosommer Stuttgart invited Ffotogallery to curate and present Here We Are – Dyma Ni, a selection of new work by established and emergent photographic artists based in Cardiff. Back in Wales, Ffotogallery presented Magnum photographer Raymond Depardon’s Villes, and the UK premiere of Zed Nelson’s long-awaited new body of work Love Me focusing on the beauty industry and worldwide pursuit of aesthetic perfection. The exhibition subsequently toured to Newcastle, Bradford and Wolverhampton. Love Me was followed by Condition Report: New Photographic Art from the Czech Republic featuring the work of six artists associated with the Department of Photography at FAMU (the School of Film and Television of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague.

2011 opened with simultaneous exhibitions at the Pierhead and Turner House of Welsh photographer James Morris’ A Landscape of Wales, a major project co-commissioned with Aberystwyth Arts Centre taking a broad look at the contemporary Welsh landscape. The next exhibition was Darkroom, Montreal-based photographer Michel Campeau’s elegiac visual study of photographic darkrooms around the world that are closing as a result of developments in digital technology. Anarcadia followed, a video projection and accompanying photo-series by the British artist Ruth Maclennan, shot among the desert expanses of Kazakhstan, and then Patagonia, Ken Griffith’s moving and evocative depiction of life in the Welsh communities of South America.

Llandudno (from A Landscape of Wales) © James Morris

A particular success of the year, both artistically and in terms of the audience and critical response, was the Wish You Were Here season in Summer 2011. The aim of this multi-site project was to explore and highlight the current concerns - social, conceptual and technical - prevalent among a new generation of photographic artists living and working in Wales. The season combined key solo shows for emergent photographic artists Dawn Woolley, Rick Davies, David Barnes and Gawain Barnard and a curated selection of other artists in the group exhibition This Unfolds. Following the first Wish You Were Here season, three new artist residencies in the Valleys were commissioned, Alicia Bruce and Zhao Renhui in Blaenafon and Sean Edwards in Rhondda Cynon Taff. A second Wish You Were Here season was staged in Summer 2014.

As well as Ffotogallery’s commitment to developing Wales-based photographic talent, major international collaborations have been a key dimension of the organisation’s work over the last ten years. The Believing is Seeing exhibition and accompanying catalogue introduced seven Korean artists who adopt different approaches to contemporary photography or photography-based work. In January 2012, Ffotogallery presented Daniel Blaufuks’ Works on Memory. This was the first solo exhibition in the UK by one of Portugal’s most celebrated contemporary artists, whose work combines video, photography, performance, sound and installation to explore issues of time and memory.

Bi nam, curated by Ffotogallery and artist Amak Mahmoodian, featured hitherto unseen photographic work by a group of artists living and working under conditions of extreme censorship in Iran. Developed over 20 years by Argentine artist Adriana Groisman, Voices of the South Atlantic addressed the legacy of the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War, telling the story from both sides. Timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the conflict, the exhibition was presented by Ffotogallery in collaboration with Autograph and Photofusion. The following year saw the UK premiere of Stasis, an exhibition and accompanying publication featuring three recent bodies of work by the renowned Danish artist Trine Søndergaard, with support from the Danish Arts Council.

To coincide with Lithuania taking up the EU Presidency and its strong links with Wales, in 2013 Ffotogallery presented Borderliners, featuring two of the most famous Lithuanian photographers, Aleksandras Macijauskas and Rimaldas Vikšraitis, winner of prestigious Discovery Award at Rencontres d’Arles 2009. The social backdrop to the powerful images in the exhibition was the decline of Lithuanian village life since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the attendant disintegration of the local farming system. Later that year, Ffotogallery presented Jerwood Prize winning artist Indrė Šerpytytė’s Solo Exhibition. Šerpytytė’s work explores history, individual and collective memory and loss, relating to her family history and that of Lithuania, her native country, immediately prior to its independence from Soviet occupation.

Building on relationships developed through these bilateral international collaborations, in 2012 Ffotogallery initiated and acted as lead organisation in a pan-European project called European Prospects which subsequently secured a major EU Culture Programme award, as well as funding from the European Cultural Foundation and partnership finance from Germany, France and Lithuania. The programme continues five years on, with European Prospects’ aims being ‘to develop, through transnational co-operation between artists and cultural professionals, the use of photography and the visual arts to investigate and articulate contemporary European identity and experience in the context of an enlarged European Union’.

I See Europe! Fotosommer Stuttgart

Central Cardiff was seen as the best location for Ffotogallery for several reasons. The organisation would be closer to key audiences and the local artistic community, and it would create a much needed contemporary visual arts centre in Wales’ capital city, adding significantly to its cultural offer for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

As a thriving and dynamic organisation with a high existing demand for its services, Ffotogallery would deliver in Cardiff an accessible, world-class programme with a strong identity, reflecting its longstanding presence at the heart of the cultural life of Wales.

One step towards this ambition was David Drake’s decision to launch a new large-scale biennial event called Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography. From the inaugural festival in 2013 onwards, Diffusion has brought new international art to Wales whilst showcasing Welsh talent, drawing on a significant pool of talent and contacts developed by Ffotogallery over the last three decades. Now in its fourth edition, each Diffusion festival uses the whole city of Cardiff as a canvas for imaginative staging of exhibitions and events. The festival’s ongoing development and year-round presence acts as a catalyst for new, longer-term collaboration between artists, designers, and other creative producers, presenting and producing companies, museums and galleries, the education sector, media and creative industries, whilst continuing to create an important platform in Wales for local, national and international collaboration.

from The Valleys Re-Presented at Diffusion 2013

Celebrating the achievements of artists and photographers with a strong connection to Wales has also been a key element of the organisation’s work this last decade. Ffotogallery was co-commissioner with the National Media Museum, Birmingham Library and PARC (Photography and Archive Research Centre) of a major retrospective of work from the 1970s to early 1990s by Monmouth-based photographer Daniel Meadows, with an accompanying Photoworks publication. Meadows was one of a group of photographers trained at Manchester Polytechnic in the early 1970s, who spearheaded the independent photography movement in Britain, breaking with tradition and infusing the medium with new energies and ways of seeing.

In March 2012, Ffotogallery launched Inside the View, a limited edition artist monograph reflecting 30 years of the Wales-based artist Helen Sear’s work with critical essays by Professor David Chandler and Welsh writer Sharon Morris. After presenting exhibitions of Sear’s work at Diffusion 2013 and in Stuttgart, three years later Ffotogallery was commissioned to curate and present a new solo exhibition ...the rest is smoke for Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale.

In 2012, Ffotogallery and Mostyn co-commissioned the artist Jo Longhurst, a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Wales, to produce an exhibition and publication of her new body of work Other Spaces, which examined the ideal body and perfect performance in relation to international gymnastics. Whilst Other Spaces was being exhibited at Ffotogallery, Longhurst won Canada’s prestigious Grange Prize ($50,000) for the project, the country’s highest award for excellence in international photography.

Other collaborations were Tom Wood’s Landscapes, a touring exhibition produced by Mostyn, in partnership with Ffotogallery and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, featuring a selection from the artist’s extensive and varied pictures made in North Wales, Ireland and Merseyside. “Day Dreaming About The Good Times?” was a major retrospective of work by Cardiff-based photographer Paul Reas, commissioned in partnership with Impressions Gallery in Bradford. The exhibition included work produced in South Wales during the 1980s and 1990s, and also the artist’s work in London and Northern England.

Ffotogallery’s 2014/15 winter season was given over to Artes Mundi 6, with The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson from Iceland and GEN XX by Sanja Iveković from Croatia, attracting over 8,000 exhibition visitors. Another important commission that year was the UK premiere of Garden State, an exhibition and accompanying publication by Corinne Silva, co-produced by Ffotogallery, The Mosaic Rooms and PARC, London. Garden State examines the political relationship between garden and empire that has existed from the eighteenth century to the present day. Between 2010 and 2013, Silva created a trilogy of projects located between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Following Garden State, Ffotogallery presented Jon Tonks’ exhibition Empire, in which he photographed the people, the landscapes and daily life on four remote British overseas territories of the United Kingdom; Ascension Island, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Falkland Islands. The exhibition was co-produced by Ffotogallery, mac, Impressions Gallery/Bradford, the Library of Birmingham and GRAIN.

Installation view of The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson, Artes Mundi 6

Whilst photography has remained at the heart of Ffotogallery’s artistic programmes, the organisation often works with a range of media, including film and video, digital media, performance and installation. As part of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival, Ffotogallery presented an interdisciplinary production Bedazzled: A Welshman in New York to celebrate the special relationship Dylan Thomas had with the United States, and the enduring influence of his life and work on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Penarth Heights, a pioneering socially engaged project, Ffotogallery invited young people in Penarth to tell the story of the social housing project, the Billy Banks, and its transition to desirable harbourside properties. Working closely with six schools and their communities, the project saw young people generate narratives comprised of images; found, drawn, photographed, digitally manipulated and moving, accompanied by spoken word, text and sound recordings to make a series of compelling short films.

Hidden Presence was a two-year community engagement project initiated by Ffotogallery and Chepstow Museum, featuring work by the artists Eva Sajovic and Julian Germain, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its starting point was the life of Nathaniel Wells, the son of a slave owner and enslaved woman, who through an extraordinary series of events progressed from the sugar plantations of the West Indies to a position of high social standing and wealth in 19th Century Britain. The project creatively challenged the notion that forced labour and the global exploitation of people is confined to our history, rather than something that continues to affect everyday life here in Wales.

Timed to coincide with Black History Month 2017, the Route to Roots exhibition was part of a project which brought together artists and critical thinkers working in diverse art forms such as music, fine arts, theatre, dance and masquerade for a week long residency culminating in a public performance at Butetown Carnival and the Hub Festival in Cardiff. Route to Roots grew out of extensive research by Cardiff-based artist Adeola Dewis into how Carnival combines cultural heritage and stories of historical, philosophical and spiritual significance from the African diasporic experience.

from Route to Roots © Arnaldo James

Ffotogallery’s digital engagement programme marks a deeper involvement with emergent art practices that extend the parameters of photography and lens-based media in the 21st Century. Digital creativity is fully integrated with the ongoing commissioning, exhibition, publishing and educational work, alongside the more traditional photographic and lens-based media practices for which Ffotogallery is well known. This strategy has already born fruit with many significant projects such as the LightBox contemporary art learning resource, the online platform Experience Wales in Venice accompanying Wales’ presentations at the Venice Biennale, the European Prospects portal website, the award winning Diffusion Experience and other technology mediated projects.

A two year project as part of the UK-India 2017 commemoration of 70 years of Indian independence, Dreamtigers brought together Ffotogallery and the Nazar Foundation/Delhi Photo Festival. Central to the project was a commitment to joint working, manifest in reciprocal opportunities for artists and creative professionals from India and Wales to travel to and work in each other’s countries. The key outcomes have been creative collaboration in the form of planning, development and co-production of exhibitions, artist residency and exchange opportunities, and the development of new audiences through print and online publishing, educational programmes and digital engagement activities.

As Ffotogallery enters its fifth decade in 2018, the organisation’s positioning is as strong as ever, both in Wales and in terms of its international standing. A new city centre site in Cardiff has been identified, for which fundraising has started to meet the costs of a comprehensive refurbishment. The plan is to create a dynamic new centre for photography and lens-based media in Cardiff presenting outstanding contemporary work from all over the world, along with supporting the development and showcasing of exciting new bodies of work developed in Wales. A cultural venue rooted in its local context, offering creative opportunity for people from all walks of life, whilst being outwardly focused and global in its reach and impact.

In 2018, Ffotogallery secured a major two year curatorial contract to deliver The Place I Call Home, a touring exhibition commissioned by the British Council that uses photography and lens-based media to explore the notion of home as it relates to contemporary experiences of the Arabic diaspora living in the UK and British people living in the Gulf. Preparations are underway for the fourth edition of Diffusion in 2019, with the theme Sound+Vision. Two Ffotogallery originated touring exhibitions, Mike Perry’s Land/Sea and Marcelo Brodsky’s 1968: The Fire of Ideas, are travelling extensively through Europe with presentations in Llandudno, Aberystwyth, Plymouth, Lorient, Glasgow, Lyon, Zaragoza and Kaunas.

Installation view of Land/Sea by Mike Perry

The organisation has been awarded two year EU funding under the Creative Europe programme to lead A Woman’s Work, a cooperation project with partners in Ireland, France, Lithuania and Finland. The project will examine through photography and digital media women’s role in industry and technology-based work in post-war Europe, challenging dominant views of gender and industry in Europe. Ffotogallery is also strengthening its partnership working with the National Museum Wales. In addition to a series of solo exhibitions by women photographers and artists such as Katrien de Blauwer, Lua Ribiera and Amak Mahmoodian to coincide with the Women in Focus exhibition at the Museum, a comprehensive re-visiting of The Valleys Project is planned for 2021.

That after four decades Ffotogallery is thriving, rather than simply surviving, reflects the dedication of staff, volunteers, members and supporters, the many photographers, artists and partners the organisation has worked with over the years, and the enthusiasm for photography and lens-based media that audiences and participants have shown.

It shows how Ffotogallery has played a pivotal role in developing a contemporary photographic culture in Wales and internationally through commissioning and presentation of new work in exhibitions and at festivals and events, through extensive print and online publishing, support for emerging photographic and lens-based artists, and pioneering education and outreach work that offers opportunities for creative participation for a wide cross-section of the community.

Above all, it highlights the important contribution Ffotogallery will make to Cardiff and Wales’ future, as a city and nation with rich and diverse cultural assets and an innovative creative sector.

Text by David Drake 2018