Yesterday I took the opportunity of driving to Aberdare for the opening of an exhibition of photographs by local Bridgend photographer Dan Wood. The exhibition entitled “What is Welsh” is a large display of black and white photography of images of life in Wales. What is unusual in this era of digitally produced and printed photographs is that all of the images in this exhibition Dan has taken on film and then printed in his darkroom.

The venue for the exhibition is the excellent Cynon Valley Museum in Aberdare which has two very useful gallery spaces, one on the ground floor and another on an upper floor reached via a grand spiral staircase of cast iron; Dan’s work is displayed in both areas. Laid out in an uncluttered way there is plenty of space between each of the pictures to allow you to appreciate the image without the next one encroaching on the eye space which also allows room for visitors to view without overcrowding any one area.

The photographs themselves are double mounted and displayed in frames and look good even before Dan’s pictures are placed in them, but with the photographs are indeed impressive and worthy of the space in which they are displayed. Dan has clearly put in a lot of effort to get this exhibition up and running and is to be commended for that. I shan’t go into details about any of the photographs, I think you should see them for yourselves, the exhibition is on until 5th January (closed over Christmas week) and entry to the Museum and Gallery is free.

At the opening there were a large number of Dan’s friends and relatives from Bridgend in attendance and I couldn’t help feeling it was a shame this wasn’t happening in a gallery in our own home town. The Cynon Valley Museum is an excellent example of what can be achieved by a local authority with the drive, enthusiasm and relevant funding for such a project, wouldn’t it be just grand if Bridgend had such a venue? I have taken a few photographs reproduced below of some of the display spaces of the interior of the museum and gallery, to show you what could be achieved if we had our own local venue.

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