August 7, 2015

PORTMEIRION PHOTOGRAPHY

Jason from Spy Vibe escapes from The Village with a new series of photographs! Try to imagine me as a child following The Prisoner on PBS, and sitting over my little typewriter at the end of each broadcast struggling to tap out my own episode guide. Yes, I was that kind of kid! And The Village presented in the series was one of the main ingredients to the whole surreal vibe of the show. For those who haven't seen it, Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man) resigns from the secret service, only to find himself whisked away to a new life in a strange, remote village. While the community plays mind games with him, he struggles to figure out if the operation is run by the enemy, hoping to get his secrets, or his own side testing his loyalty. Known as one of the great visionary shows in television, The Prisoner really was a psychological, pop art masterpiece. Keys to its success was the inclusion of Sci-Fi elements (a futuristic lair, a mysterious guardian sphere) and the mysterious village itself. Filming took place in north Wales at an architectural project by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis called Portmeirion. There was a kind of Alice in Wonderland feel to the place, as colorful, somewhat small-scale buildings nestled in among lush gardens down to the water line. And subtle facades and moody statues added to the dream-like vibe. There is an aesthetic principle of mystery in Japanese gardens, called yugen, where one never quite sees what is around the next corner. Portmeirion made great use of this idea, where I found my view often obstructed by figures, trees, archways, and the contours of the coastline itself  It was a place I never thought I'd see in person. I mean, The Prisoner didn't even know where it was! I was transfixed by the place and had a memorable morning running down the many trails and up whimsical steps to see what I could find. Those who have seen the TV series will no doubt remember scenes when McGoohan seemed to explore the many nooks and crannies of The Village, disoriented and trying to get his bearings. Well, it was rather like that in real life! But it was all quite wonderful and playful, and I never worried about finding the exit. In fact, it was hard to pull myself away. Wales itself is so beautiful, with dynamic valleys, mountains, and stone villages. Moss-covered stone walls and sheep fill the landscape. I started to wonder about staying on there. A bonus was meeting Briony Clarke, who has been spending the year under the village Dome as an artist-in-residence. Except for the frequent rain, it seemed like a great gig! I had about two hours to photograph on my own when I first arrived. Here is a series of images from what I hope will be the first of many trips. Photographs are copyright JWhiton. Please contact me at spyvibe[at]gmail.com if you are interested in re-posting an image or ordering a print. My portrait is by Peter Lorenz of illustrated 007. Related Spy Vibe photo series: Doctor WhoSherlock Holmes. Enjoy! 































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3 comments:

  1. you don't want to live in the UK, you want to live in the VILLAGE! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha! I'd love to be in Wales there. I believe the local cinema is in need of rescuing...

    ReplyDelete

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