Days in difficult lives from late photographer to go on display
AWARD-WINNING Welsh photographer Gareth Kingdon was just 30 years old when he died of the incurable condition cystic fibrosis.
Despite his life-limiting illness, he continued to travel across the globe and capture the lives of people in African and Indian townships through his camera lens.
Now, striking photos of the Cardiff man’s everyday experiences of cystic fibrosis are being put on display as part of a new exhibition.
The images reveal Gareth’s typical daily routine, from using his oxygen mask to undergoing chest exercises to eating 4,000 calories a day.
Internationally acclaimed pictures from his time in Africa and India, which have appeared across the world, will also form part of the exhibition.
Others with the condition, along with their families and friends, are being encouraged to submit their artwork to go alongside Gareth’s pieces. His widow, Clare Kingdon, says the Just Breathe exhibition, which will raise money for the All Wales Cystic Fibrosis Unit’s Better Life Appeal, will serve as a fitting tribute to Gareth’s talent.
“Gareth was an inspirational, kind-hearted, fearless and selfless man with a vision,” she said.
“He was an extremely talented photographer. He was never about turning up and simply taking photos.
“He wanted to travel places, often living in dire conditions, to give people living there a voice.
“Being told he probably wouldn’t live past his thirties, he decided to live each day to its fullest.”
Gareth, from Rumney, was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
The inherited condition, caused by a faulty gene, makes it hard for sufferers to breathe and digest food.
Clare said Gareth received “excellent care” at the All Wales Cystic Fibrosis Unit at University Hospital Llandough until his death in March 2013. But the Better Life Appeal is aiming to raise £1m so the unit can be expanded to accommodate more patients.
The centre cares for around 250 people with CF from across the country, but that figure is on the rise.
Clare added: “The average life expectancy for individuals with cystic fibrosis is continually rising, and more than half will now live past 41 years. This means there is a need to expand the current cystic fibrosis unit at Llandough.
“My husband and I spent many weeks on this unit in the seven years we were together and I am so incredibly thankful it was available to us.”
The Just Breathe exhibition will be taking place throughout November and December at the three Waterloo Tea Gardens in Penylan, Penarth and Cardiff city centre.
If you would like to be a part of the exhibition, email Justbreathe.email@example.com by June 15.