A young photographer has opened a new gallery in the centre of Newport and is hoping the project can return the city to its artistic past.

Ieuan Berry, aged 24, has just opened Ffoto Newport – a gallery which aims to showcase the best Newport’s snappers have to offer.

The gallery at Market Arcade in High Street opened on November 26 with its first exhibition called Carrot Fly by Newport’s Ron McCormick.

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Ieuan says he hopes the gallery will help renew Newport’s “long association with photography going back over 100 years with an international reputation for its School of Documentary Photography established by Magnum photographer David Hurn”.

A good turnout at the first exhibition at Ffoto Newport in Newport's Market Arcade
Inside Newport's latest addition Ffoto Newport

Ieuan, who “started taking photography seriously” when he was 14 and whose work has led him to 10 Downing Street and the Nato Summit, explained: “Newport has more than 100 years of history in really brilliant photography. So many great photographers are from Newport. It all got taken away from Newport when they got rid of the Caerleon campus. It’s very sad because we have so much to offer as a city.

“My main aim with all of this was to bring photography back home really, giving people at grassroots level in particular a chance to exhibit their work. I want to give amateurs a chance as well.

“We want to engage with local people and for them to come to enjoy and engage with the photos.

“At our first event we made every piece of food carrot-based because that was the theme running through the pieces. It created a sensation as though the people who visited us were really immersed in the photos.”

The first exhibition went down brilliantly and has given Ieuan hope of restoring Newport to former photography glories

The challenges facing Newport city centre with the impact of the pandemic and Brexit combined with continued high rates have been well-documented. You can see an analysis of the state of the city centre here. But Ieuan says Market Arcade can flourish.

“We looked at loads of places before this but when the opportunity came up to come to the arcade we really wanted to do it. The council has recently put more than £1m into this arcade and this part of town I feel has a unique character – full of independent traders. It’s amazing to know we’re now part of that.” You can read more about the new-look market here.

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David Hurn posted on his Instagram page about Ieuan’s efforts: “Last Friday evening I was at the opening of a new gallery located in Newport, Wales. Its young director, Ieuan Berry, is to be congratulated for his initiative. It's a very small gallery but that’s irrelevant, good photographers will find a way of adapting. The atmosphere was delightfully positive.

“The biggest potential saving grace for photography in Wales is the small gallery – at the moment this is where activity is at.

“Wales has the, sadly, insurmountable problem of the difficulty of travel from one area to another.

“Aberystwyth has a wonderful arts centre and library but its staggeringly difficult to get to. North Wales is accessible from Liverpool etc but four hours from the populations in the south. It means that so much [sic] centres are in Swansea, Cardiff, and Newport and as far as I can see they don’t talk to each other.

“Thus the small local community gallery must survive. A good start would be a coming together of minds and monies being given to each of them to guarantee them at least a two-year functioning leeway.

“Those in photography most respected by their peers should be leading the revival.”

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