In 19th Century Wales, over 70 % of the population spoke only Welsh, and the London government of the day saw this as a major threat, so concerned were they that they undertook cultural genocide. And one sad consequence of the 1847 education report was that all education was to be in English only.
Any child that was caught speaking Welsh in school was forced to wear a wooden plaque around their necks, with W. N. carved on it, they were made to stand in front of the class and be humiliated and belittled by the teachers, the last child of the day to wear the plaque was given a severe beating.
Whole families left the country for America, Canada, Patagonia and Australia to get away from this and other tyrannies, as these countries, gave them the freedom they sought.
This wicked practice died a death after a few years, as the teachers themselves refused to continue with this barbarous act.
Gwenno my six year old Granddaughter was the model here, and this image is part of an exhibition that will be touring the country this year, it's about this part of our history that a lot of people have never heard of, or wish to forget.
To get her to look like this, I photographed her first thing in the morning before she brushed her hair. The light came from a north-facing window, with a reflector to her right.
The hardest part was hiding her smiling face, as she thought it was all great fun.
F3.5, 1/40 sec, Lens @ 55 mm, ISO 250. No filter.
Toned it in Photoshop, and used the blur tool around the edges.
…if you can.
P.S. If you Google “Welsh Not” images, you’ll see the original shot that I took three years ago for a web page.
Hope you like it, and many thanks for your comments and clicks on my last upload.
Hope you have a great weekend, Regards Tony
Tags: Photo journalism
Black and white
Portraits and people
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