Growing up in Wales through the lens of the Northern Eye


August 16, 2019

A fringe exhibition focusing on what life is like for teenagers growing up today has just been announced by organisers of Colwyn Bay’s Northern Eye Festival.

The event which takes place in the North in October shares it’s place in the arts calendar with Aberystwyth on a bi-annual basis.

SIXTEEN is the name of Craig Easton’s photography exhibition which will be showing at the Coed Pella council building from 7th-18th October. The central theme running through all the work is a dramatic focus on what life must be like for teenagers living their lives in Wales and modern Britain exploring hopes, fears and dreams.

Craig conceived SIXTEEN at the time of the Scottish referendum in 2014 when sixteen-year-olds were given the vote for the first and as yet only time in the UK. 

Later he invited fellow photographers Robert C Brady, Linda Brownlee, Lottie Davies, Jillian Edelstein, Stuart Freedman, Sophie Gerrard, Kalpesh Lathigra, Roy Mehta, Christopher Nunn, Kate Peters, Michelle Sank, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Simon Roberts and MFA candidate David Copeland, to join him and develop the project. 

Each photographer selected a theme and a location. These span large conurbations such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as Wales, Northern Ireland, the north and south west of England, and the Scottish Islands.

Sixteen is an age of transition. At this time of increasing national and international anxiety, these young people are shifting from adolescence to become the adults who will live in a politically reshaped country, divorced from the European Union, an issue they had no say in. 

Working with photography, film, social media, audio recordings and writing, Craig and his colleagues give voice to those rarely heard. 

The strength of these incisive portraits, and the young people’s candid discussions about whom and what they really care about reflects the trust between the sixteen-year-olds and the photographers. It gives this project significant potency, and highlights how social background, gender, ethnicity and location influence a teenager’s life and ambition.

For more details about this year’s Northern Eye Festival at Oriel Colwyn and fringe exhibitions at locations across the Bay of Colwyn visit https://www.northerneyefestival.co.uk

Photograph courtesy of Craig Easton’s SIXTEEN.