A Hardy Breed

Bruce Cardwell

A Hardy Breed is a collection of 120 photographs, mainly black and white, celebrating shepherding and sheep farming in Wales. It records a way of life under pressure for the past couple of centuries, and more than ever today. The book is an important social document, of reportage, portraiture and documentary photography of an industry threatened by the outcomes of Brexit and other issues, like climate change, biodiversity, agricultural developments. Importantly, many of the communities featured are centres of Welsh language and culture, also under pressure.

Above all though, it is a book with heart. Cardwell’s text discusses the many issues facing farmers and includes interviews with the subjects of some of the images. His photographs offer stunning landscapes and intimate peeks into the distinctive work and lives of sheep farmers, shepherds and their dogs. Here is an insight into a singular society, of farming, shearing, shows, markets and mountains.

The photographs are from Bruce Cardwell’s ‘Calon Wlan’ exhibition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, which was purchased in its entirety by the National Library of Wales.