Portraits in Poverty, an experimental documentary was commissioned in 1997 by the Cardiff Anti-Poverty Network and Intervol Cardiff. Directed and Produced by Dane Gould, the original concept was to film a range of people from South Wales who would describe what poverty meant to them.
I wanted some ‘portraits’ to begin and end during the video, with others playing all the way through. Everyone was framed and lit in the same way (not all made the edit) and the footage was overexposed as it was shot, because we had no access to post-production video effects.
This was pre-internet so no Youtube and all the other fab things, so the video edit had to be linear. This was frustrating as I wanted the viewer to play any ‘portrait’ they wished to, in what ever order. Distributing the video was difficult. We made lots of copies and sent them out, not knowing if anyone ever watched it. There were two screenings that I know of; one for the people in the video and those involved in making it, and a screening at the 1998 European Anti-Poverty Network conference.
I always felt the video was never really complete and had wanted to do more with it for a number of years. Well, I think that’s finally happened. Since I have repurposed the video, you can view any portrait you like in whatever order you like, or watch it straight from number 1 to 61 if that’s your preference.
Shot in 1997, we are now nearing the end of 2012. Fifteen years later, in the grip of a global recession caused by the criminal 1% - has much changed? Big respect and thanks to all involved - Dane Gould September 2012.