“Ely’s Tony”, 2019 | Rhys Davies

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Rhys Davies is a twenty year old Documentary Photography student at the University of South Wales. His style of photography focuses on social concerns such as homelessness , political and environmental concerns. Rhys strongly believes in building a good rapport with his subjects as their story is the core of what he captures and relationships with his subjects continue on past the completion of a project. His work has been displayed at several exhibitions such as Guernsey Photo Festival and the Fit For Heros exhibition in Ely. Rhys collaborates with several brands and is a brand ambassador of Analogue Wonderland .

We spoke to Rhys about his series “Ely’s Tony”.

When choosing an area to work in I wanted to focus on a community that is renowned for high crime rates and controversial behaviour. However, I wanted to find a small story within that area that juxtaposed the stereotypes.

According to Crimestatistics.co.uk there were over 900 reported crimes in Ely ranging from sexual assaults, violent hate crimes, theft, robbery and drug use/distribution.

‘Ely’s Tony’ focuses on Richard Breen, a 78 year old man born and raised in Ely known as Tony by the locals. Regardless of the negative stereotypes surrounding the area Tony had no hesitation on inviting me into his house after knocking on his door to find information on the area. The project focuses on his daily routine that has not changed for several years, everything has a time to be done and is never missed. With his free time, Tony collects stamps and has been collecting for nearly 65 Years.

During the 12 weeks of shooting I found a friend in Tony which made shooting every week very easy and rewarding, we would frequently drive around Ely listening to country western songs, categories stamps, watch rugby or listen to him ready his poetry. The project is nearly a year old from being completed and we still talk most weeks.

To see more of Rhys’ work, visit his Instagram @rhys_jdavies