The photographic series Jacob’s Ladder aims to capture the past movement of working people in the rural port of Fishguard and Goodwick, West Wales.
“The path slips down… The bay seems to rock the dormant string of lamp posts, missing only a casing and bulb or two, as if they’ll amber-awake at dusk.” *
The photographic series Jacob’s Ladder aims to capture the past movement of working people in the rural port of Fishguard and Goodwick, West Wales. It explores the emotional connection to and physical transformation of place: home and work, previously synonymous, have become increasingly detached due to industrial development, economic uncertainty and Brexit.
These images recreate former journeys to work on foot from the village to the harbour below, informed by the artist’s experiences with local people over a period of time. Jacob’s Ladder holds current losses such as work, community and the Welsh language in slowed moments, allowing suspension of an unknown future.
Directly above Fishguard Harbour, Harbour Village was built to accommodate railway workers during the construction of the harbour, which opened in 1906 for ferries to Ireland and then further afield. People relocated from other regions in Wales and beyond for work and descendants of the first residents still live in the village. On completion of the railway to London, the Cunard Line sailed between New York and Fishguard for a number of years. Today one ferry company operates, connecting Wales with Rosslare in Ireland.
The steps at the end of the path leading from Harbour Village down to the harbour are known locally as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. Now concrete, they were previously made of wood, accessed by an iron gate that still stands, opening out to Fishguard Bay.
*From the accompanying poem Jacob’s Ladder by Zillah Bowes