United Kingdom

Paul Cabuts



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 work has been exhibited at venues in the UK and beyond including the Australian Centre for Photography, Treffpunkt Stuttgart, Germany and Kaunas Photography Gallery, Lithuania. A recipient of a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales, Cabuts has been commissioned to work on numerous photography projects including the BBC’s BAFTA Cymru Award-winning Capture Wales project. His photographs are held in a number of collections including those at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru - National Library of Wales and Ffotogallery.

He was awarded a PhD at the European Centre for Photographic Research and completed an MA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University and a BA (Hons) Documentary Photography at the Newport School of Art & Design. The University of Wales Press published his monograph Creative Photography and Wales. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.



Contemporary nonconformist chapels in Wales continue to play an important role within their respective communities. Despite a decline in worship over many decades, a significant number of these buildings can still be found in hamlets, villages and towns across Wales.

Chapels with names such as Zion, Nazareth and Tabernacle evoke their biblical referents whilst summoning visions of the great religious revivals in Wales. Other chapels with names such as Harmony, Rock and Gospel are more suggestive of oral traditions that include charismatic preaching and earnest congregational hymn singing. Not least, it is recognised that many nonconformist chapels played a key role in the survival of the Welsh language and were important in the continuity of Welsh cultural life.

Today, some chapels continue their religious ritual and funerary activities, whilst others have been converted for non-religious use. Excellent acoustics make chapels ideal as musical performance venues, recording studios and locations for choral practice. Their uncomplicated architecture also makes them popular for commercial use and conversion into private dwellings.



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.