Hasidic Holiday: The Annual Trip to Aberystwyth

My memory for work I admire isn’t brilliant but something that stuck and I return to is these 20 pictures by Chloe Mathews. They are of a group of Hasidic families who take holidays in Aberystwyth every August. Mathews photographed them some years ago and the pictures can still be seen on her website here. She wrote in reply to some comments in Burn, a photography magazine:

The project was shot over a couple of 2 week periods, during the summers of 2008 and 2009. For those of you who mention that the piece was not in depth enough, I agree. I only had a two week window, so I had to work very hard to even get what you see here.

Yes, I acknowledge what some people have said about the novelty of seeing these “unusual” people in close proximity, but in engaging with them on holiday, I was trying to get behind that novelty, and break the usual cliches of a community often misconstrued as austere and formal.

But it’s the unusualness that breaks the other clichés, the ones about seaside holidays. I love the fully-dressed men lying on the pebbled beach, for instance. If it’s not raining it’s going to start at any moment, and yet they’re having way more fun than the tawdry holidaymakers (*is this still a word?) in a Martin Parr seaside picture.

My favourite photograph is this one, I think the reasons are obvious:
Hasidic Holiday: The Annual Trip to Aberystwyth
but I also love the Lartigue-like number 8 with the flying diver in the red outfit.

There’s further explanation of her project on its second page.