A Vision Trail
through Merthyr Tydfil
Merthyr Tydfil is unique, with a great variety of artistic elements hidden in everyday places. Join Merthyr-born photographer Richard Jones on a short journey around the town centre identifying what catches his eye as a working photographer. Take photos as you go using nothing more than your mobile phone. Do you see what a photographer sees?
Enjoy the challenge of using your phone’s camera to capture some of Merthyr’s iconic images and unusual visual elements.
Merthyr’s Iron Heart
The start of our journey and the symbolic centre of Merthyr Tydfil, local people have really embraced this art installation, from the burnt orange colour to its compound curves, its smoothed off surfaces and the ability to frame Redhouse within the heart too! Look for the key angles and shapes in this wonderful piece by artist David Appleyard.
The Kinetic Tree, the work of artist Martin Smith, forms the archway entrance to Canolfan Soar. Enjoy the details in the mini kinetic turbines as they turn in the passing breeze, their bold yellow colour providing a strong contrast against the brick buildings of the High Street.
Now, make your way back to Penderyn Square, down Castle Street and cross the River Taff. Follow the brown tourism signs to Ynysfach Engine House.
Ynysfach Engine House
From its tall, narrow height to its plethora of windows and stonework, the Ynysfach Engine House is stunning. You can isolate individual details such as the old iron supports cut into the stone and the staggered stonework in the window reveals.
Return by the same route, go past the front of the striking new Merthyr College building to the pedestrian walkway and fish pass.
St Tydfil Shopping Centre Walkway
A 60s urban classic with a diagonally braced support structure, its prominent placing gives the walkway a dominance over the River Taff. Unlike its downstream cousin, the design is highly geometric with great lines, supporting beams and symmetry. You can also use the overflowing weir to frame your shot. In addition, look inside to reveal an opportunity to photograph pedestrians with a vanishing perspective.
Make your way south on College Boulevard towards the new bridge crossing the River Taff
River Taff Central Link
The latest addition to the Merthyr landscape, this EU funded bridge provides so many angles, curves and shapes to photograph and the sharp contrast between the arch and a blue sky with clouds is amazing. With a multitude of subjects, support wires and patterns, you can shoot this as an asymmetric subject or stand on the hills on either side to get a mirrored effect.
The flats are the only high rise accommodation in the town. The height, repeating patterns and windows provide a great starting point for photography with lead-in lines. A striking element is the iridescent panelling which if caught correctly with strong sunlight provides a vibrant rainbow effect over its entire height. Around its base are stainless steel panels with local landmarks and these too have a variation in colour which is great to catch in sunlight
Robert & Lucy Thomas Memorial Fountain
A stunning example of cast iron design, inlaid with gold detailing which provides for great close up detail shots. There are artefacts all over the fountain and St. Tydfil’s Parish Church provides a perfect backdrop for composition. Look for unique shapes of lion heads, gold rope, pit workers and more.
This large building stands proudly at the head of the town centre, visible even from the bottom of the High Street. Its brickwork, windows and clock tower demand close up photography to extrude its details. Each first floor window is framed with a stone arch and the centre front has carved decorative panels. Sunlight falls on the clock at all times of day and this allows for very detailed and clean shots of the face and tower.