Crosskeys photographer's pitmen pictures go on show
9:41am Monday 7th October 2013 in Gwent news
A PHOTOGRAPHER from Crosskeys has set out to track down the miners he photographed almost 30 years ago.
Roger Tiley has been visiting shops and town centres, asking people if they recognise anyone in the photographs he took in the South Wales coal mines and during the strikes of 1984.
The project was sparked when Mr Tiley, now a documentary photographer and lecturer, looked back at his old negatives and wondered what the men were doing now.
Almost 30 years on, he has tracked down many of the miners and taken new photographs of them for an exhibition depicting the lives of ordinary working people in the South Wales Valleys which will begin a touring exhibition at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth in 2015.
His old pictures, together with the new photographs, document an industrial past that has shaped South Wales.
Mr Tiley has photographed the collieries since 1982, when he worked as an apprentice industrial photographer for Lucas Girling before taking up a place on a documentary photography course at Newport School of Art.
Living near the Celynen South colliery, Mr Tiley said: “I wrote a letter to the NCB asking permission to take photographs at the colliery. They allowed me access for one visit. The miners, however, said that I could visit as many times as I wanted to and they would hide me behind the door if the manager appeared!”
He described the strikes: “I photographed picket lines, soup kitchens. It was a time of despair, but miners and their families were determined not to allow their pits to close.”
He added: “I visited Newbridgeand was told to visit Alan Sandle. With his help, we have found a number of miners.
“Ray Lawrence, former union lodge official at the old Celynen South pit, has also offered considerable help.
“Many former miners I’ve visited commented that working in the pit was the best days of their lives.”
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