We watched Andrew Telling as he followed artist Wordtomother during the sunny Italian summer, and now he brings us a short film that appropriately reflects the change in season. ARAF (a Welsh word for slow) is a collaborative short film by both Telling and Owen Richards that documents the work of photographer Robin Friend and his series ‘Slaughterhouse’.
Friend’s series of photographs explore the story of the abandoned Victorian mine at Cworthin deep beneath the hills of North Wales. The imagery within the film has a distinctly UK vibe and looks to explore both the natural and man-made elements of the Welsh background.
The most extraordinary element of ARAF is the diversity of the textures captured in Wales with all its gray and dreary glory. The vastness of the open hills and lake in comparison the constrained tunnels and the single photographer within the mines is highly poignant. Production in terms of both lighting and the score of the film build a tension and exacerbate the contrasts between the hillside and the human experience.
Despite great emphasis on the natural environment of this serene setting, the human element within the film is simultaneously palpable. Friend speaks of how the workers would have the spent the majority of their lives down underneath the hills with mere candlelight to illuminate their labyrinth of dark passages, steep crevasses and sheer drops. Ultimately, this short film powerfully captures the experience of the men that literally carved out their livelihoods from these intensely colored mineral walls.