JURY'S CHOICE

 

Schneidermann Clementine

Lives and works in France

 

www.clementineschneider.com

 

 

 

The unbearable, the sadness and the rest (2016)! !!

 

A 24-year-old French photographer, I have been living in the UK for four years, and have developed several personal series there. Inspired by documentary photographers such as Martin Parr, Tom Wood, and Paul Graham, I am interested in social conditions in the UK, and particularly in Wales, where I have resided since 2013. It is where I met the Elvis fans who come together every year in Porthcawl, a small working-class seaside town on the Welsh coast, and I followed them to Memphis, their pilgrimage place. That series, entitled “I Called Her Lisa-Marie”, was a winner of the SFR Jeunes Talents/Paris Photo award in 2014 and was also shown at the Unseen Art Fair in Amsterdam and published on the Lens blog of The New York Times.

 

Following that series, I was commissioned by Tai Calon, the most important builder of social housing in the mining region of Wales (The Valleys) to photograph the residents of Blaenau Gwent. The region has endured very high unemployment since the mines were shut down in the 1980s. I wanted to work with young people who grow up in an environment that is often described by the media as tragically futile, without opportunity, and isolated. Working with a designer, I wanted to stage the children of Blaenau Gwent in its dark and damp landscapes.

 

When you search for “South Wales Valleys” on the internet, the first result that comes up is a BBC article entitled “The Unbearable Sadness of the Welsh Valleys”, which led me to wonder if it was possible to represent this social reality in a more poetic and less excluding way. Inspired by fashion photography, I wanted to play with the codes of documentary photography. This project was published for the residents as a supplement to a free local newspaper (The Dynamic) that is distributed throughout Blaenau Gwent.