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Paul Cabuts uses photography to examine the visual history of the Valleys of south Wales in the UK. He was initially motivated by the differences between his personal experiences of living and working in the Valleys, and the way in which the region had been represented in photography and other media.
His photography has been exhibited at venues in the UK and beyond including the Australian Centre for Photography, Germany’s Treffpunkt Stuttgart and Kaunas Photography Gallery, Lithuania. The Welsh dimension to Cabuts’s work has contributed to its visibility within Wales in exhibitions at a number of venues including Ffotogallery, the National Eisteddfod and the National Assembly for Wales. The work has also been published in catalogues, journals and other publications including Source, New Welsh Review, Taliesin and Planet and has featured on television both inside and outside Wales.
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 public collections including those at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales, Ffotogallery and the Groundwork Trust.
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 in 2012.
His career includes working as a photographer, artist, academic, writer and researcher. He was the Director of the Institute of Photography at Falmouth University, Associate Head of the School of Art & Design at the University of South Wales and Academic Leader for Photography at the Newport School of Art, Design and Media. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales.
Paul Cabuts's contemporary photographic work does not presume to capture the complexity of an ever-changing society and culture, but rather sets out to highlight photography’s inherent fallibility in representing multifaceted societies.
Specifically, the work draws on the distinctive culture, history and environment of a Wales that has been shaped by complex local and global forces. In many ways the work can be considered as providing photographs for the future as they show what designated landmarks looked like at a particular time in history. Why those particular landmarks have been designated provides further insight into the cultural dynamics of the time.
By shunning many of photography’s enduring conventions, the work sets out to encourage audiences to reflect upon what might best symbolise their own experiences of the people and places in their lives. Such reflection can lead to a realisation that our own individual experience is truly unique; it can also provide affirmation that the experience of what is both local and personal can be, at one and the same time, an experience of the universal.