Philip Gassor, Photographer

Go Forth to Porth
"In Welsh, Porth means gateway and standing at the confluence of the rivers Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr,

Porth is at one and the same time the gateway to the Rhondda and the narrow portal which gives access for the two historic valleys to the great world outside." "Porth's shopping centre is based on Hannah Street, newly refurbished as part of the Lower Rhondda Fach Relief Road Scheme, which will take traffic away from Porth town centre. There is a range of traditional shops including D and D Meats where owners the Roberts family are Welsh champion butchers with a string of both national and regional awards for their meat. Their shop still boasts Victorian tiling, complete with pictures of cattle and also a modern touch, a collection of sports jerseys worn by stars such as Diego Maradona, Pele and Beckham. Other shops in Hannah Street include specialists in soft furnishings and curtains, as well as traditional names." This tourist information from the local authority will I'm sure have wet your appetite for an exploration of the 'Gateway to the Rhondda' and thereby compel you to 'Go Forth to Porth.'

 

INTERVIEW

 


Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview for our new arts initiative.

Herewith a couple of questions for you but please feel free to add anything you might want to. You can be as elaborate as you want on your answers!

 

 From which age or happening did you start having an interest in photography?

As a young child I remember being in awe of the beautifully crafted images printed on the glossy pages of magazines and newspaper supplements.  My appreciation for landscapes and reportage was a result of pouring over these publications.  I used cut out my favourite pictures and tape them to my bedroom walls or decorate the covers of my school books with them.  As a teenager I was lucky enough to recieve an SLR camera Olympus OM10 as a gift and my passion for photography began to grow. 

Who do you greatly admire in the photographic arena and in other areas of the arts?

I like and admire so many artists it would be difficult to list them all, but they would include, (in no particular order.) Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Tony Vaccaro, Don McCullin, Bruce Gilden, John Bulmer, William Eggleston, Andre kertesz, Cartier Bresson, Alex Webb, Cindy Sherman. 

Do you think of particular themes at a time and how much time do you spend on planning this? 

I try to think of a theme or narrative and start from that point with my own thoughts and combining them with research and local information.  I practice street photography where planning anything other than the location and timing is not always possible and like to think that formative ideas can occur and develop during the practice of photography. 

Do you have to travel much to get exactly that special scene for your photography?

My work is based on the environment where I live and the surrounding areas. Whilst I am more than willing to travel for the scene so far I have not needed to travel more than an hour by car or a couple of hours on foot. 

Do you often just see something and know you have to capture it right away?

Yes I get that urge often and where possible I do try. 

Do you consider freedom of expression in art a fundamental right of creators and why?

Yes, it is our right as individuals for us to decide what art is.  There are however responsibilities to consider concerning the law and morality.

Do you think that creativity should be a priority of educational systems and how would you encourage it?

Yes art should be encouraged at all ages and opportunities to learn and express art should be regarded as essential to the wellbeing and progression of society and humanity. 

Let's talk about creativity. What role should creativity play in society? 

It is important to encourage creativity in all areas of society to aid learning and understanding in all areas of human experience.  To address complexities and create opportunities to explore themes.  But is equally important for society to provide an environment where that creativity can be realised and expressed freely.

What message would you like to convey with your photography?

I like to convey the emotion of human experience combined with visually interesting scenes that provoke a response or provide an engaging narrative. 

What or who inspires you? 

I’m inspired by the landscape, people and events around me. 

What are your other interests?

I like to listen to music, I read plenty of history, and walk in desolate areas with my partner and our dogs but most of the time I read, talk about, plan, look at and practice photography.

 

Many, thanks for providing us with your information. I appreciate the time you have given! 

With kind regards.

Xavier Daniel

The 3NinesArts

Philip Gassor gallery