Alecio Ferrari and Alex Fleming
A sensitive exploration of the relationship between people and place in industrial Britain.
Alecio Ferrari and Alex Fleming were both studying at Falmouth University when they happened to meet in a pub. “We liked each other at first sight,” remembers Alecio as they got chatting about an idea for a photography project he’d been sitting on. The idea — to tell the story of Port Talbot and its people — caught Alex’s imagination immediately as someone with keen interest in “challenging audiences to reconsider individuals, places and objects that they may initially overlook.” “I have a car, I have a camera,” he said, “let’s do it.”
What began as a chance conversation resulted in a rich project seeking to understand and document the lives of the people of Port Talbot, an industrial town facing a precarious future as the destiny of its large steelworks remains under threat. It’s a sensitive portrait of a town and its people which also speaks to a broader narrative of industrial communities across Britain. As they put it: “Port Talbot is the industry, and industry is Port Talbot.. [so] our aim was to explore the connection between people and place, between the town and the industry.”
Having lived and studied in Falmouth, both Alecio and Alex note the importance of the breathing space they found out on the tip of the UK’s south-west coast. “Time slowed and gave room for creative vision and idea generation,” Alex remembers. It’s a sentiment Alecio shares too, identifying the immensely positive effect of being away from a big city: “living in the city is stressful, it’s hard to concentrate on something specific because you are bombarded with inputs.” This influence certainly rings true in ‘Port Talbot’, which feels unflinchingly attentive to its subject, refusing to look away or to be distracted.
In May, Alex is spending a month in Norway to work on a personal project about the country of his birth, exploring his upbringing and its impact on his life. Aside from commercial jobs, Alecio is busy in the initial stages of developing an independent publishing platform for emerging photographers as well as finalising work for the completion of his degree. With plenty in the pipeline for these two brilliant photographers we can’t wait to see the results of their endeavours sometime soon.