Once upon a time in Wales

Lighthouse gallery interior showing the small prints on display

Robert Haines has an exhibition of photographs taken in a small mining village in the 1970s at the Light House gallery in Wolverhampton until the 9th of May. Worth seeing if you like black and white photography and characters. Reading between the lines of the introduction, Robert took the pictures as a young man in the 1970s and has just decided to publish them. The images provide a strong historical record of the Time Before Thatcher.

Gallery the other way

The Gallery has two main rooms and plenty of wall space for smaller prints like these.

Painting and reflections

The glass over the images reflects the windows, but then again….

Tommy Gravedigger

Mr Haines captions could make a book on their own. The portrait of Tommy Gravedigger above is as follows (I wrote this down then realised the catalogue is on sale and has the captions)...

Tommy Gravedigger removing a dead mouse from a grave. Mice often fall into open graves at night and are invariably found dead in the morning. Tommy had buried over 7000 people at Cefn Cemetery. He was the caretaker of the dead from Heolgerrig. He knew where every family was buried. His wife had died twenty years earlier after choking on an apple. He gave her a lovely spot, he said, sheltered by the trees. He also said that occasionally when he walked around the cemetery his attention would inexplicably be drawn to a gravestone, and that this was a sign that there was going to be a death in that family. Usually there was.

I think Tommy was on a safe statistical bet given the incidence of industrial disease from mining…

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