Shining the lens on North Wales life at Oriel Colwyn

January 08, 2020

A landmark collection opens at Oriel Colwyn this weekend and promises to give an exciting perspective of the region through the eyes of the photographer's lens.

In the exhibition named The North Wales Project, Hazel Simcox, Roj Smith, Ethan Beswick, Philip Jones and Robert Law share their personal observations and stories concerned with North Wales.

In a response to an area rightly known for its wonderful landscapes, the North Wales Project’s aim is to bring photographers together who document and give a voice to the overlooked or intriguing, and collectively offer an honest portrait of this special region and its people.

Hazel Simcox’s ‘Space_My_’ is a personal tribute to the first woman mountain guide and writer, Gwen Moffat.

Hazel revisits locations in Gwen’s autobiography, photographs them and reflects on parts of Gwen’s writing that resonate deeply with her personal experience.

The result is a collection of sensitive and meaningful observations, cleverly combined with text from the book.

Roj Smith offers a melancholic glimpse of the well known, normally busting coastal towns of Llandudno and Conwy at night after the crowds have gone.

Familiar places take on a different character as we see Roj’s talent for observing the modelling effect of artificial light on urban scenes, juxtaposed with empty spaces.

In his own words, Ethan Beswick “Has been photographing throughout North Wales, compiling a melodious, if ambiguous, response to the Welsh Landscape. His series ‘The Fruit Bar Line’ is a contemplation on Wales, on the people who inhabit it, and on the mechanics of belonging, inadequacy, and desire.”

Philip Jones works casually, walking streets, industrial areas and countryside.

He explores the peripheries of towns, cities and villages. "I often go to the same places over and over and if I visit somewhere new, I will begin the process of returning many times until I know the place well, compulsively taking pictures with no sense of reliance on other images or subject, I tend to "saw off the branch I’m sitting on'.

Robert Law presents his project ‘Holyhead – Sea Change?/Caergybi – Troad Llanw?’

Holyhead is a fiercely independently-minded town with a proud, close community and rich heritage, but overlooked and underinvested over the years and facing increasing economic challenges. Robert takes an intimate look at a town facing Brexit and an uncertain future.

"The photographs seem to belong to an infinite cycle of walking, looking, believing and then re-visiting".

The exhibition opens on Saturday 11th January with a specially combined Pechakucha Night in the gallery, where up to 8 people to present their photographic work specifically being made in or about North Wales.

For more details about the exhibition and the work exhibiting at Oriel Colwyn please visit

Image: Copyright Robert Law