As a sort of counterpoint to Paul Graham’s Mother, here’s Huw Alden Davies‘ brilliant portrait of his father, Prince.

First off, is it really a fair fight? Paul Graham, the famous rockstar-type art/social justice photographer v. Huw Alden Davies, a generation younger and much less well known documentarian?

Well… Absolutely! Why not?

Prince is absolutely wonderful. It’s simultaneously clear that Davies loves and respects his father, and also paints a picture of the hilarious and maddening character of the man. Small groups of photographs, a few portraits of Prince, one of Mum, one of Mum and Dad, and one, I think, of brothers, interspersed with many of their home and environs, separated by short vignettes, stories told by Prince (Dad) and some about him by Mum and (I think) younger brother. I belly laugh at many of them. Prince is a total character, full of the wry British wit (I should say Welsh wit, probably), and who cares if he (probably) voted for Brexit?

With Prince, it’s obvious that Prince and Mum and bothers participated in the making. At minimum, they know they’re being photographed, and perhaps even helped with selection and editing. They definitely allowed some sort of recording of their stories. With Mother, it’s not so obvious that Graham’s dear old Mum had any participation in the making of the series. The only picture with her eyes open has her sort of looking shocked and curious. Prince, by contrast, glowers. Mum scowls. The brothers turn their backs and look away. They’re fully present in the pictures in ways that Graham’s Mum is not.

If Mother had me wanting to capture more family snaps while I could, Prince has me wishing I had some kind of relationship with my Dad. He’s not the character that Prince is, but he’s got something too, probably a story to tell. I just don’t know enough about him to ever hear it, and all my attempts to get closer to him are met with silence, noncommittal shrugs, and the like. Prince makes me despair in ways that I can’t explain, even though I’m laughing out loud at some of the antics and high jinks.

Oh to have a relationship with my father like Davies… He’s even got a blog featuring the old git called Prince Street. Good stuff. And you don’t see Graham doing that with his mum, now, do you.

Unrated. Highly recommended.

You can get Prince for cheap direct from Davies’ website, and whle you’re there, read up on the Prince Street blog and check out his Xennial project. As a fellow Xennial, I try to keep track of it and think about the differences between our experience, me coming from Texas and Davies hailing from Wales and all. It’s good stuff.

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  1. Lovely to find this James. Thanks for purchasing and for sharing your thoughts on my first publication, especially next to the much loved Paul Graham. I thought I’d let you know that all photographs and text are now available in my new publication Scaffold to the Moon, the complete monograph recently released through i-pigeon publishing. Best Wishes. Huw

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