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Photographer's Pioneering Ideas

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Visitors captured in multi-layered vision

Hundreds of people who have visited a number of well-known Swansea landmarks at different times on the same day are featured together in the same photographs.

Working locally, artist Anna Fox spent three hours a day at Langland Bay golf course, Sketty Hall, Margam Orangery, Caswell Bay and Penllergare Valley Woods, where she captured scores of visitors on camera.

The photos she took have been layered together in post-production for each location as part of a display that's now been unveiled at Swansea Council's Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

Anna's work is in response to an on-going exhibition at the gallery called 'The Moon and a Smile', which documents a period in the 1840s and 1850s when a Swansea family was leading the world by experimenting with early camera technology.

When photography was first introduced in 1839, the Dillwyn family, who lived at the Penllergare estate and Sketty Hall, were among the earliest and most enthusiastic pioneers.

From an observatory and laboratory built in 1846, John Dillwyn Llewellyn and his daughter, Thereza, would experiment by taking photos of the moon. His sister, Mary, is also renowned for taking one of the earliest photographs of a smile.

Laura Sims, Marketing Officer at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, said: "Although visitors to Langland, Sketty Hall, Margam Orangery, Caswell and Penllergare Woods were aware they were being photographed, many of them won't have known why, so it may come as a surprise that's it was for a display that's now available to discover at the gallery. 

"Hundreds of people are included in the display, which was cleverly put together by Anna Fox by layering photos of different people taken at different times of the same day at these well-known locations.

"By using modern camera and computer technology in this way, it's a hugely appropriate response to our on-going exhibition about the early days of photographic pioneering in Swansea."

Alongside a rich collection of 19th century photography forming part of the exhibition, the Glynn Vivian has also commissioned works from eight other contemporary international artists: Greta Alfaro, Astrid Kruse Jensen, Neeta Madahar, Melanie Rose, Sharon Morris, Sophy Rickett, Helen Sear and Patricia Ziad.

Their works include photos, installations and moving images that explore memories, archives, time, family and industrialisation.

Running from Saturday March 4 to Sunday April 23, 'The Moon and a Smile' has come about through the gallery working in partnership with the National Museum of Wales, the National Library of Wales, the West Glamorgan Archive Service and the Penllergare Trust.

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