Daniel Harvey Gonzalez is a Cardiff-based documentary photographer studying on the acclaimed Documentary Photography degree at the University of South Wales. Born in Hackney, London and raised on the Five Links estate in Laindon, Essex, Gonzalez’s work focuses primarily on notions of identity and the self within broader social contexts. Focused on creating bodies of work that are driven by personal experience and background, Gonzalez seeks to make work that is engaging for both the audience and the subjects involved – with trust, collaboration, and understanding underpinning his approach to storytelling.
Gonzalez’s work has been shown nationally both in print and online in the U.K., including in Loose London, TRIP Magazine, Lost Generation Projects, DIY Youth, Blame Your Parents, the Guernsey Photography Festival 2018. As well as this, Gonzalez was commended in the culture category of the Sony World Photography Awards 2016.
Making Bacon is a visual exploration of identity made in Ely and Caerau, Cardiff. Using thirty-five-millimetre photography and scans from archival microfilm, the work aims to challenge the established media narrative around Caerau and Ely. The work acknowledges the stain left on Ely’s reputation as a consequence of irresponsible newspaper coverage of the ‘bread riots’ in 1991 and seeks to challenge that narrative by juxtaposing it against themes of individuality and expression displayed by its residents.
Although the media continually reported that the catalyst for the rioting in Ely was racial in motivation, more in-depth coverage and research pointed to an underlying socioeconomic cause: unemployment and political disenfranchisement sown by the conservative Thatcher administration, an 11-year reign that had only ended a year prior. In 1991, criminologist Dr. Michael Levy observed that “[the people of Ely felt] frustration at unemployment and poor life prospects” and that the troubles in Ely were a “form of collective bargaining by riot”.
In a 2005 BBC interview with Ely councilor Susan Goddard, she is quoted saying “the press seems to like slagging off Ely.” Goddard isn’t wrong. Stigmatizing headlines and stories that contribute to the pigeonholing of Ely’s residents as bad people are easy to come by.
Making Bacon offers a disruption of that narrative by focusing on community members as individuals, as opposed to them being an extension of the estate they live on. The images are displayed alongside blown-up and disjointed newspaper coverage of the rioting to contextualize the political background that frames not only these images, but the discourse around Ely and communities just like it up and down the United Kingdom.
With special thanks to Gwyn, Maria, Steve, Dave, Dave, Alan, Specky, and the United Kingdom’s best orthopedic shoemaker whose name I’ve forgotten for making me feel so welcome in their community, and for their understanding of the project’s goals.
To view more of Daniel Gonzalez’s work please visit his website.