New In - Dan Wood's A Gap in the Hedge

September 18, 2018

New In - Dan Wood's A Gap in the Hedge

I like this book for all sorts of reasons, it it a quiet book, not spectacular. There are no design gimmicks, just a series of decent photographs which tell a story which is worth telling about the Rhondda Valley which is only an hour from Bristol yet it could be on another Continent. I heard about Dan Wood’s Suicide Machine, an investigation into Teenage suicides rates in Bridgend but never managed to find a copy.

Here is what Dan says about the book:

“Built in 1928, ’Bwlch-y-Clawdd’ (Gap in the Hedge) is a mountain pass (450m) that connects the Rhondda Valley - In South Wales - to the town where I was born and still live, Bridgend. It is also connected to the Afan Valley via the A4107, which leads through to the coastline and industrial town of Port Talbot. The Bwlch road itself is the A4061, which stretches approximately 25 miles.

Not only did the pass offer a lifeline to the isolated valleys, and present greater job opportunities for the local people but it also provided an essential shortcut for valley based industry; predominantly coal related. My parents used the pass themselves to make their own move to Bridgend in 1966; starting their own business there shortly after.

Loosely based around nostalgia, ‘Gap in the Hedge’ reflects on a journey I used to make with my Mother to visit relatives in the Rhondda Valley, every Saturday when I was a small boy. It was my first taste of a road trip and I can recall almost every inch of the journey. I’d sit there in the front seat of my Mother’s little red car utterly absorbed and mesmerised by the forests, terraced houses and falling rock warning signs. The journey seemed to take forever, but we were only ever around 30 minutes from home.”

I also like the publisher, Another Place Press, based in Scotland. Here is what Iain Sarjeant who runs Another Place says about his list:

“ We are interested in contemporary photography that explores landscape in the widest sense, covering themes which include land, place, journey, city and environment - from the remotest corners of the globe to the centre of the largest cities. We are committed to producing high quality affordable photobooks - sharing inspiring photography projects from around the world with as wide an audience as we can.”

Iain does not take money from the photographers he publishes but even pays them a royalty - another reason to like this.

Gap in the Hedge is published in an edition of 500 - it will sell-out. We are offering the *special* which I suspect is helping to finance the project, there are  50 copies with a signed print. In fact the print is one of my favourites, the Roundabout with three Garages. It is a good buy at £80. If you prefer the trade edition, at £35, you can buy this direct from Iain at Another Place.

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