Last week photographer Claire Kern and film-maker Jorden Williams opened up a shared exhibition titled 'Contra'. Housed in the gleaming white space of Arcade Cardiff, it feels a sober counterpoint to the Friday night hedonism that goes on a mere block away on St. Mary's Street. Many of Claire's photographs are disquieting little messages detailing the consequences of Chinese contraceptive policy - in particular the use of the 'Chinese ring' - and of the dangerous sterilisation being practised on Tibetan women living in India. Jorden's video covers the affluent West and highlights the side of contraception hidden by the glossy advertising and the triumphal parade of the sexual revolution - the potential medical side-effects.
It seems important to have work such as this to remind us that sexual liberation has a price, and that a basic freedom - the freedom to procreate - in some countries is denied others.
Claire is one of the driving forces behind the critically acclaimed Third Floor Gallery located in Cardiff Bay, her website can be found here.
Jorden Williams is a member of the Cargo Collective.
Man, that was a bit heavy. Great but heavy. Happily there was cheap drink at the opening, so it wasn't all sombre brow-furrowing. Claire's family had flown in from France too, so there was much merry-making. The X-Pro1 seemed to enjoy the black and white JPEGs I was making it take too. I've found that it really does beautiful black and white straight out of camera images, and whilst I love to tweak my X100 raw files for old style looks, I'm now increasingly tempted to shoot events like this in JPEG only, when I've got the X-Pro1 to hand. Click for biggy.
Following the exhibition soiree, we all dashed off to a new bar in town called Porters, who were hosting 'Bandeoke', a form of kareoke but in front of a live band. This augured hilarity, so I bust out my X100 for the decent built in flash and to get a little closer to the action. From here on in it's a mix of the two...
And then a pretty damn good trumpet player by the name of John Patrick came on. The fella deserves a splash of colour, I reckon...
Awlright, let's start this thing!
And then it was outside to the most awesome beer garden in Cardiff, located under a multi-story car park, which meant we weren't being rained on for once...
And the night ended with many hugs for Claire, as we celebrated her labour of love. I can't wait to see what she brings out next. I also can't wait to return to this cool noirish spy-thriller setting of a beer garden!