Not Still

Essay featured in Not Still, Spring 2020

Although it was in itself fleeting, it took some time for me to work it out.

I had spent many years looking at photographs of the Valleys and never thought there could be one that would move me. But here it was, an unexceptional image produced to show the completed installation of an electricity substation. Like many other students of photography, I had read Roland Barthes’s story of the photograph of his mother, and how he had difficulty in finding a ‘just’ image of her after her death. In the photograph of the electricity substation it seemed that I had found my ‘just’ image of the Valleys. It had been taken in May 1954, at the site of the former Britannia Colliery in the Rhondda. The photograph captioned “Lantern Slide L. 438”, showed a Valley landscape two years before I was born. It stopped me in my tracks and set my mind racing.

The sensation was a product of a past and present working together. It somehow melded with all I had experienced both directly and indirectly throughout my life. My experiences suddenly became sharply focused rather than the usual diffuse nature of their recollection. Somehow this was no longer part of the continual dispersal of my memory, but rather its restoration...

Not Still offers a geographical slice through twenty-five years of photography, recording the lived places of a changing society. This collection presents photographs taken in the Rhondda where Paul Cabuts grew up, lived and worked. Selected from the many works he has made across the wider Valleys region, Not Still provides a contemplation on the evolution of a distinctive society and place.


Paul Cabuts

80 pp / 250 x 200mm
Hardback, natural cloth cover
Litho, 4-colour process
170gsm Symbol Matt Plus paper
Edition of 300
Tirnod Press
ISBN 978-1-9163896-0-1