Living in south Wales, Paul Cabuts (b.1956) works in the constantly evolving field of documentary photography with a practice grounded in the Valleys of the region. His work celebrates contemporary manifestations of the culturally less dominant histories, and explores notions of transition, identity and place. His survey, which has extended over two decades, explores the residual, emergent and oppositional cultural elements relating to a society radically shaped by the systems and processes of expanding free market economies.
A recipient of a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 2002, Cabuts has been commissioned to work on numerous photography projects. His photographs are held in public and private collections. He gained a BA (Hons) Documentary Photography at the University of Wales College Newport and a MA in Fine Art at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. He completed his PhD at the European Centre for Photographic Research where he examined the factors shaping the development of the photographic arts in Wales during the second-half of the twentieth century.
In 1925 Sir T. H. Parry Williams lamented the fact that he had neglected to mention telegraph poles when writing about wires some years earlier. First published in Ysgrifau in 1928, his essay ‘Telegraph Poles’ redressed this omission with a celebration of the former trees that had for him “reached the perfect state, which is death, and have commenced a new, static life, which is some kind of death enlivened”. They were “modern in the extreme”, yet holding “the memory of a monastic Middle Age melancholy in their brutal stance”.
The poles in contemporary Wales support new and rapidly evolving communication technologies that carry significantly more private traffic than in the past. Accessibility to the digital transfer of knowledge and information has not only benefitted developments in commerce, but also challenged the stasis of inclusion and exclusion, continuity and change, emancipation and oppression – in short; it has potentially enhanced the capacity for political and social change. Whilst responding to the political, economic and cultural significance of these utilitarian objects, they are clearly placed in a context with its own culturally specific points of reference. These relations therefore suggest a particular place and time whilst referencing both local and universal concerns.
2014 Poles. In: In Our Own Image? Treforest: USW
2013 Transmissions. In: It Was Never Going To Be Straightforward. Cardiff: g39 Gallery.
2012 Creative Photography and Wales (monograph). Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
2010 End of the Row. In: Planet – The Welsh Internationalist. Aberystwyth: Berw Cyf.
2003 Powerlines. In: Source – The Photographic Review. Belfast: Photoworks North.
2013 The Valleys Re-presented – Cardiff International Festival of Photography, UK
2013 What's New/ UK Photography #2 - RizHoma.gallery, Milan, Italy
2000 Just Another Day - Ffotogallery, Cardiff, UK (Touring)
1999 The Heritage of Coal - Treffpunkt Rotebuhlplatz, Stuttgart, Germany
1998 In the Habit of Dwelling - Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney