Exhibition and Publication (2002)
HaHa: Margam Revisited – Chris Dyer, Peter Finnemore, Tatjana Hallbaum, Karen Ingham, Adam O’Meara, Richard Page, Matthew Pontin, Miranda Walker.
Margam Park was the ancestral home of the Talbots, of whom Henry Fox Talbot was a pioneering photographer. Some of the earliest photographic images were made there. Steel made Margam Park, whose gothic mansion looks down on the town of Margam and the works formerly owned by the Talbots. Today, it is Margam Country Park, owned by the local authority and a leisure facility open to the public – and to the workers of those steelworks. A feature of the old park was its ha-ha, a ditch which creates an invisible barrier between mansion and estate. Through stunningly produced images this book revisits Margam, so significant in the birth of photography, and portrays it afresh utilising contemporary Landscape idioms.
The photographers also explore past class distinctions and the changing social history of both town and estate, a subject addressed in words by contributor and co-editor, Karen Ingham, and at greater length by Hugh Adams, leading writer and cultural critic who returns to the scene of his childhood to discuss its artistic and social heritage. The result is a unique and beautiful journey through the history of a place of immense significance in industrial, social and photographic history.