Exhibition / 4 May – 4 Aug 2018


© Ron McCormick, from 'Eye of the Beholder' exhibition poster

In September 1978, the first gallery in Wales dedicated to photography opened in Charles Street, Cardiff, under the name Yr Oriel Ffotograffeg. Changing its name to Ffotogallery in 1981, the organisation continues to thrive forty years on and plans to open new city centre premises in Cardiff in its birthday month of September 2018.

Chronicle is a new exhibition that draws on archival and contemporary material to tell the story of how Ffotogallery developed over those forty years, against the backdrop of changes in the nature and role of photography in society and the rise of digital culture. The exhibition will show how Ffotogallery gave early exposure for photographers and artists such as Martin Parr, Paul Graham, Helen Sear and Bedwyr Williams who went on to enjoy international success. It will document Ffotogallery’s longstanding focus on the South Wales Valleys through a series of commissions and exhibitions documenting the Valleys in various aspects during a period of rapid transition. Chronicle will also celebrate Ffotogallery’s international engagement, through publications and touring exhibitions, the European Prospects initiative, Wales in Venice 2015, the Dreamtigers India-Wales project, and three editions of the biennial Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography.

Since its inception 40 years ago, Ffotogallery has been at the forefront of developing a contemporary photographic culture in Wales through our commissioning and presentation of new work in exhibitions and at international festivals and events, through extensive print and online publishing, our support for emerging photographic and lens-based artists, and our pioneering education and outreach work that offers opportunities for creative participation for a wide cross-section of the community.

Chronicle sets the scene for the next phase of Ffotogallery’s work, in which a new generation of photographers and lens-based artists will emerge at a time when we increasingly receive and present creative content across both physical and virtual platforms. With so many images shared online, will there still be a demand for art galleries and traditional exhibitions? If so, what work will be presented in which kind of spaces? What skills do photographers and artists need to build a successful career? How can Wales become more globally connected through photography and digital media? These questions and more will be addressed through a series of talks, workshops and events accompanying the Chronicle exhibition.

At the Chronicle exhibition preview on Thursday 3 May 2018, David Drake will reveal Ffotogallery’s plans for its new city centre base, and launch the 40th anniversary fundraising campaign for fit out and development of this new international centre for photography in the heart of Cardiff.