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South Wales cinemas captured in Abertillery exhibition

May 14,2017 18:10

A photographer who documented cinemas across south Wales has retraced his steps more than 20 years later. John Crerar first took large format, colour photographs of the buildings in 1996, interviewing people who passed through their doors on their ...and more »


A photographer who documented cinemas across south Wales has retraced his steps more than 20 years later.
John Crerar first took large format, colour photographs of the buildings in 1996, interviewing people who passed through their doors on their memories of cinema-going.
He has now re-photographed the buildings, with many still standing.
The images are being exhibited in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent.
Mr Crerar, a former Coleg Gwent photography lecturer, said: "I was going through my [film] negatives 20 years later and realised how long it had been since I'd taken the photographs.
"I thought it would be a marvellous idea to go and revisit some of these sites and I found them in all sorts of different states of repair.
"I found people are really quite interested in comparing and contrasting those buildings and plus, they have a lot of memories of those original buildings."

Mr Crerar said many of the cinemas had changed "but not as much as you might think" - becoming libraries, dance halls, theatres, and bingo halls. Others have since been demolished.
Initially inspired by the architecture of the buildings, he added that he began to notice people's interest in recalling their trips to the cinema. He now plans to re-interview people about their experiences.
"Cinema going was a really important ritual, something that people shared," he said.
"[The exhibition is] a celebration of cinema and cinema-going and I think it's a homage to that great social ritual."
Palaces for the People is on show at The Kickplate Gallery on Church Street, Abertillery, until 17 June.

Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption The Market Hall, Brynmawr, 1999
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption The Market Hall, Brynmawr, 2017
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Park Picture Palace, Aberdare, 1997
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Park Picture Palace, Aberdare, 2017
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Plaza, Port Talbot, 1996
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Plaza, Port Talbot, 2017
Image copyright John Crerar
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Odeon, Newport, 2016
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Risca Palace, 1996
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Risca Palace, 2016
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Gaiety, Cardiff, 1997
Image copyright John Crerar
Image caption Gaiety, Cardiff, 2016

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