The Story behind the Portrait
This photograph is from the ‘Suicide Machine’ series which was a long term project about my hometown, Bridgend In South Wales (UK). The main narrative of the series was to discover what is wrong with Bridgend; a town synonymous with suicide. The person in the photograph is in fact my niece, Jade.
Jade was back home in Wales from Liverpool – where she has lived for the past 5 years – for an old friend’s birthday party and I bumped into her at my Mother’s house after I had called in. As soon as I saw her dress and with the rollers in her hair I instantly thought ‘portrait‘. She was slightly reluctant at first, especially when I explained we’d have to go outside into the street to shoot it, but she soon came around to the idea after the promise that it would take less than 5 minutes – thankfully it did.
For me Jade represented the person who had ‘escaped’ from Bridgend and made a better life somewhere else; like the majority of my friends. But Jade was different from my friends, she was the first family member who had had the courage to do so. So really when I deconstruct this picture I feel very much envious but also extremely proud of her. Our family is very close and is centred around a 50 year old family business, so escape is completely out of the question for most of us.
The strongest part of the picture for me is the rollers in her hair, which I discovered are a very Liverpudlian trait. I’ve interpreted this unconscious symbolism as ‘I belong somewhere else now‘.
Born in 1974, Bridgend, South Wales, UK, Dan discovered photography in 1995 through skateboarding and the culture that surrounds it.
Inspiration comes from a wide subject matter and although versatile, predominantly self-taught Dan considers himself a documentary photographer – recording stories in both traditional and contemporary approach.
Dan has travelled widely in pursuit of inspiration, knowledge and experience; capturing on film, a multitude of cultures and landscapes.
His work has been featured in many publications and he has participated in over 45 exhibitions both nationally and internationally, 5 of which being solo shows.