Penarth View held an exclusive interview with Ffotogallery’s Director, David Drake and their Communications Officer, Phil Scully, to learn more about the gallery’s history, its thriving present, and exciting future.
|Words by Louisa de la Concha for Penarth View|
As soon as one heads out of the train station and walks towards Plymouth Road, a captivating construction emerges in the distance. It is quite difficult to ignore Turner House’s pink walls, and how they peculiarly contrast against its 1887 architecture, and it is even more challenging not to wonder what is going on inside.
The 1970s were an exciting time for photography; the contrasting aspects of British society, and the quick urban growth that transformed the country’s landscape gave emerging photographers a wide scope of stories to take inspiration from. In the middle of this fuss, the founders of Ffotogallery noticed that to be able to keep up with this fast-paced environment, Wales needed its own space dedicated to photography. In 1978, Ffotogallery first opened its doors in Cardiff, and it quickly became a stepping stone for emerging photographers, such as Martir Parr and David Hurn.
In 2003, Ffotogallery moved to Turner House, and since then, the gallery itself and Penarth’s community have mutually benefitted from this constantly evolving relationship. The gallery is always looking for new ways to transcend the walls of the medium. This means that they are not afraid of including the community and diverse visual elements, such as video installations, in their exhibitions. One of the projects developed under this idea was Penarth Heights, in which children from different schools were invited to tell the story of Billy Banks, allowing them to understand how creativity can have a social impact.
Since its foundation, Ffotogallery has been creating a space that helps Wales-based photographers promote and develop their vision, while building up the country’s national and international prominence in photography. Looking back, they have achieved this and much more. As a celebration of their 40-year anniversary, Ffotogallery is currently holding a temporal exhibition, Chronicle, which looks back at the evolution of photography and how the gallery has played an essential part in it.