Welsh Mod - Haydn Denman
Open: Monday 7th October - Sunday 20th October // Time TBC
The mod lifestyle was once described by manager of The Who, Pete Meaden as: “clean living under difficult circumstances.” In Wales, this was probably truer than anywhere else in the UK.
Through his work ‘Welsh Mod’ photographer Haydn Denman shines a light on the mod subculture in Wales.
Subjects were chosen through their connection to the mod scene and aim to illustrate how Britain's first proper youth cult, which began in London at the tail-end of the 50s found its way to Wales and has remained an enduring passion for many ever since.
Mods are very particular – about clothes, about music and about style. What you wear, your attitude, your mode of transport, the way you dance are all key facets of the mod look. The pictures include those who were mods in the 60s, those that became mods during the mod revival during the late 70s and 80s, through to the Britpop era in the 90s and a younger generation who have been passed down the musical tastes and fashions of their baby-boomer parents.
Hayden’s photographs have been taken in various iconic locations across Wales, including the South Wales seaside towns of Porthcawl, Penarth and Barry, where mods and rockers gathered for beachside battles in the 60s.
The annual National Scooter rallies are also depicted which still take place either in Tenby in the south and Llandudno in the north and attracts thousands of riders from all over Wales and further afield.
Some of the more poignant pictures are set in in modern and post-industrial settings. For example, outside the Hoover factory in Merthyr Tydfl, the disused Penallta Colliery, the slate mountains of Blaneau Ffestiniog and the shadows of Port Talbot's steelworks. These were familiar places to the subjects who grew up nearby who turned to music and clothes to etch out their individuality against the rigid and often inward looking communities of small Welsh valley towns.
“I was very interested in the meaning of identity which is central to the idea of being a mod and being Welsh. It is something that I have explored through photographing various cultures and peoples all over the world – so I felt I could relate to their sense of pride and feeling part of something. I hope these pictures capture the passion and love of the mod subculture that clearly has meant so much to so many people over the last 50 years.”
The photographs were taken for the recently published book – Welsh Mod: Our Story, over a period of 18 months. The book features interviews and first-person accounts of growing up as a mod in Wales across three different generations. Written by journalist, writer and mod enthusiast Claire Mahoney it gives a uniquely Welsh take on Britain’s most enduring subculture. www.welshmod.co.uk
Haydn has worked as a documentary photographer for over twenty years. Based in South Wales, he has travelled world wide, receiving numerous commissions along with British Council and Arts Council Awards to document communities and regions here in Wales alongside places including Patagonia, the Arctic, South Africa, Palestine and the U.S.A.
His photographs have figured in numerous exhibitions and publications and collections of his work are held at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales.
Haydn also works as a television documentary cameraman and director. He has travelled world wide and worked as a lighting cameraman and director on many high profile, award-winning productions. Haydn has won a BAFTA Cymru for best documentary and factual camera work on two occasions, 2000 and 2008.