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‘.
For me, Jade represented the person who had ‘escaped’ from Bridgend and made a better life somewhere else; like the majority of my friends.
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.
Dan’s book, ‘Suicide Machine’ was published in 2016 by Another Place Press.