Eight American Photographers
Hank O’Neal (b. 1940)
Railroad Station Platform, Cardiff, Wales, UK, 1978
Gelatin Silver Print, 11"x14"
Gift of Elsie Hillman
© The Artist
Hank O’Neal established himself in photography and music. Since 1968, he has produced hundreds of records; since the age of thirteen, when he won a Brownie Hawkeye in a contest, he has involved himself in photography, working dexterously with 35mm, mediumformat and large-format cameras. In 1972, he met Berenice Abbott, who agreed to instruct him in the use of a large-format camera, a lesson fulfilled in a single half-hour. Walker Evans and Andre Kertesz, a friend and neighbor were also of great influence. O’Neal graduated from Syracuse University in 1962; while working on his master’s degree, he was recruited by the CIA and worked for the Agency until 1976.
In mid-1978, I went to England for a short holiday with Gigi Wimmer. I had no assignments of any sort, except to try and take one photograph for a record I was then producing with the marvelous Welsh pianist, Dillwyn Jones. The album was tentatively titled There Are No Flowers in Tiger Bay, Tiger Bay being a particularly rough part of the city of Cardiff.
I was determined to go to Cardiff and take a good picture of Tiger Bay for the album cover,
but Gigi was uninterested, I went to Paddington Station alone, booked a round-trip to Cardiff,
arrived around noon, and made my way to Tiger Bay. Once there, I discovered the largest
mud puddle I’d ever seen (the tide was out – way out), and I was told the tide wouldn’t be
back in for many hours. I took a few pictures, and, somewhat dejected, made my way back to
the station. I was early and wandered around, killing time. At one point I walked to the very
end of a platform and came upon and old wall with an empty window frame. I took two pho -
tographs, one with the woman, and one without.
Copyright 2002 Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art