Matthew Eynon

Portrait of Matthew Eynon

I am a Welsh photographer living in Wales and have been developing a series of work that has been self-funded and in progress since 2018.

My photography work and interests involve documenting people, contemporary society and subculture and have been doing this for the last few years alongside a role in the earth sciences. My hope is to break through as a recognised photographer and contribute to a record of contemporary culture.

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The Faithful

There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the ‘thin places’ that distance is even smaller. The ancient Celtic people prized these places, where boundaries between spiritual and physical worlds were considered almost transparent. Thin places, those areas near mountains, rivers, meadows and the sea are, in fact, often places where people have worshipped in Wales for centuries.

Historical perceptions of Wales were of a nation of frugal, God-fearing, Welsh-speaking country dwellers; however, this was at odds with reality in the early 20th Century. Only half the population of Wales were Welsh-speaking in 1901, which declined to 43% in 1911 - a trend that continued for a century but is now reversing - and two thirds of Welsh people lived in urban and industrial areas. Despite the revival of 1904-1905, secularism was growing.

Based on 2011 census data, nearly one third of people in Wales have no religion. Most adherents to organised religion in Wales comprise Christian denominations; however, this has seen a 14% drop in numbers since 2011 (the Church in Wales has said that Christianity is ‘no longer the default setting’ for many people). By contrast, there has been an increase in numbers of people who are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Druid.

The international identity of Wales has shifted in the last century and will continue to in the future. The Faithful is an environmental documentary and portraiture series - the beginnings of a visual study into believers in modern Wales.