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Paul White's picture
Paul White

Date joined: 11/04/19

About

When I was younger, 6 or 7 years old, and living in a small village in Leicestershire I would wake early every morning around 6am. I rose before my family, raided the biscuit tin, and left the house. Quietly, I lifted the latch up off the door, and slowly, wheeled my bicycle through the side alley and past the front of the house. My little legs moved speedily once away from the house. I cycled to the newsagent and purchased sweets and soccer stickers. I also wandered around. I was a shy child and did not speak much, nor with clarity. The streets of where I lived were quiet at that time, very few people, fewer cars. I sought the green areas of my village, those beyond the ever increasing urban sprawl. I presume I sought the solitude and quietness. A few years later when I was 12 my parents moved to West Wales. Over the years I walked over my area; following streams, climbing fences, exploring marsh and wetlands, pathways and hills. The landscape opened up for me. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old did I really notice the light at the beginning and ending of each day. One evening I went out walking across a field not far from where we lived. The low light cast an orange glow and lit the trees and hedgerows with warmth of slowly burning embers. It was at that point that I thought I should purchase a camera a document such times. My first exposures, in colour, were not particularly impressive but after a month I exposed my first ever black and white film. I walked up to the abandoned lead mining works of Cwmystwyth (Ceredigion), and exposed a whole roll of film quite rapidly. Once the prints were returned from the processors I immediately knew I had found the medium that suited my demands. Over the following two years I explored the Cambrian Mountains, which were walking distance to where I lived. My desire for solitude was easily found. The results from my photographing from this time was not always satisfying and although I had almost immediately began printing my own work the quality I sought lacked. At this time I was working as an assistant in the photographic department of the University library in Aberystwyth. Although not extensive, the library held a healthy number of monographs of photographers’ works. I began reading all I could and was especially drawn to the work of Lee Friedlander, Ansel Adams, Minor White and Edward Weston. Edward Weston’s Daybooks struck a spiritual and emotive chord within me. Weston had passion. His words and life helped me grow, slowly, a photographic sense. I understood his viewpoints and why he’d made certain exposures. I purchased a large format camera. I was 21 years old. I considered every image as if it was my ultimate image. I took my time, breathed and let the subject in through my lens and onto the ground glass. A learning curve had begun and a quality to my images that equalled the purpose to my wanderings. The landscape photographer must, on some level, be self contained. To consistently walk around, deep within a landscape, one must become un-engaged with the human world and enter a kind of trance with your subject matter. This has a consequence of loneliness. On reflection this is a necessity. Without solitude I do not believe I could have found the focus, perhaps borne out of boredom, to dedicate myself to the photographic practice. A days outing – a walk was planned, a map scanned for possible interest, a route weaved. The gear prepared. The alarm set for an early rise. And from these uncertain steps an adventure begins, hopefully accumulating in seeing some sights; rock formations, wildlife, a ruined cottage, a twisted tree and finding some thoughts worthwhile as well as some songs sung along the way. And after a day out, walking home content, the anticipation of a hot meal, then a quick rest. After a rest preparing the chemicals to develop the negatives, and, if energy allowed, setting up the darkroom. Many prints were made and many, many disappointments and so few successes but nonetheless always making, though not necessarily realising it, headway and tiny steps towards a passion as shared by millions of others. I was eventually persuaded by a friend to attend college to study photography further. I spent two years at Carmarthen College in South Wales and a further two years at Nottingham Trent University. I found a life outside my solitude, a solitude I still cherished, but I also found a space to let people in. Whilst at college I became aware of the work of Aaron Siskind. Edward Weston had taught me to find a substance in my subject matter. Siskind did the same but by flattening the perspective. His work came as a revelation. His images, as Weston’s had some years back, sat comfortable with me and once explored on the page his images became tactile. Could it be they seemed to act as a parallel emotion to my solitude? I soon began documenting tiny abstractions in walls and old signs. For me, as it did for Siskind, my work acted as a universal language. Alongside this however, and for what I am most well known, are my images of Welsh ruined mansions, farmhouses and cottages. Each week I discover another mansion, or farm that has been left to the elements. Each are individual in their decay, each has their own special character and I remember each fondly for one reason or another. Slowly but surely I intend to document as many properties as possible and hopefully create a strong portfolio which will act as both historical reference as well as artistic statement.
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Website: http://www.welshruins.co.uk

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Agile Sheep Feeding at Haroldston House,...

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LLEWENI STABLES & COACH HOUSE, Henllan,...

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Penllergare, Swansea 2018

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Notes on HAFOD MORFA COPPERWORKS, Swansea 2016

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Cottage, Cilcennin, Ceredigon 2011

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PETERWELL, Lampeter, Ceredigion 2010

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TRIAEL, Bont Goch, Ceredigion 2015

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Hafod, Ceredigion

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PEN-BRYN-RHYG (outbuilding), Stags Head,...

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PANT-AFALLEN, Pontsaeson, Ceredigion 2015

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Marchant-Isaf, Ysbyty Ystwyth 2010

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Cob Barn/House(?), Abermawgr, Ceredigion 2011

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BRYN-Y-CROFFTAU, Pontrhydyfendigaid, Ceredigion...

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Former Driveway, Derry Ormond Bridge, Betws...

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Boverton Place, nr Llantwit Major, Glamorgan

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Pebyll, Llanddewi Brefi, Ceredigion 2011

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Latin Motto at Gellideg 2010

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Abstraction, Bristol 2003

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Pen-Twyn Barn, Llanfaredd, Radnorshire 2011

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CWM-CWTA, Abergorlech, Carmarthenshire

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Barn, Hirnant, Ponterwyd, Cerdigion 2011

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Cwmmoiro Chapel, Mwyro Valley, Near Strata...

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Llwyn-Ynn, Denbighshire 2010

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Claerddu, Teifi Pools 1993 (now a Bothy)(Taken...

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Cilgwyn Lodge House, Newcastle Emlyn,...

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ABSTRACTION, Llanelli 2019

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GELLIAU, Cwmtwrch, Brecknock 2018

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Danbert House, Morriston, Swanse 2018

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Mumbles 2017

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Fallen Tree, Hafod, Pontrhydygroes, Ceredigion...