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From May to Eta and to the Future

It started with a £5 purchase of a bundle of printed photographs during the 1970s by the Glamorgan Archives. Over the years the photographs have been released numerous times to try and reunite them with their families, to little avail. Fast forward 50 years and the pictures have been dusted off yet again, and brought back to life with the help of Fin Kennedy of Applied Stories and two local talented actor/writers, Danielle Fahiya and Kyle Lima and a dedicated team of researches, film crew, professional and local voice over actors, and sound and visual editors.

They took a selection of the old images and created new audio dramas, perfectly captured the sounds and the atmosphere of the time, recreating the voice of the photographer and clients in this interesting step back in history collection.

A man and woman stood by a Victorian portrait of a lady smiling
Fin Kennedy and Danielle Fahiya

The origin of the photographs takes us back to the Butetown, docks area of Cardiff (now know as Cardiff Bay and also previous know as Tiger Bay) circa 1910-20. The photographer's name was Fred Petersen and was believed to be of Dutch origin and his studio was based at 232 Bute Street Cardiff. As well as being a photographer, information came to light of Fred also trading as a tattooist.

Around that time, photography studios at the Bay were booming due to the bustling trade and the large visiting numbers of people off the boats, that made Cardiff an affluent trading port. Fred depicted the lives of these people in his portraiture. It's an interesting insight into family dynamics and the fashions of the day.

Two photographers holding their cameras stood by a portrait of themselves
Helen Cooper and Jonanthan Moss-Vernon

Fin then took this story one step further and commissioned us (Dixon and Dixon Photography and Jonathan Moss-Vernon) to create a series of portraits in today's time, which run along side Fred Peterson's work retrospectively. Also, we were surprised and delighted to be photographed, interviewed and added to the collection's archive for future generations.

If you love looking at old photographs and are interested in the history of Cardiff Bay, read the full story and listen to the audios HERE

The portraits are also on permanent display at the Glamorgan Archive Cardiff. Each portrait has its own audio QR code that can be scanned and listened to on your phone. Watch the BBC Wales report HERE presented by Danielle Fahiya.

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