I spent today in Merthyr Tidfil, Wales - for a piece on youth unemployment for the Times. Merthyr is a town built on iron, steel and coal, sits at the head of a South Wales valley close to the Brecon Beacons.
The last iron foundries and coal mines had all closed down by the begining of the 1990's and the other large scale employer the 'Hoover' factory closed it's doors in 2009. Merthyr has some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the country, with 34.2 per cent of 16-24 year olds currently out of work (DWP statistics). Primary employment for that age group is mostly low-grade service jobs which are themselves hard to come by.
I met and photographed 22 year old Ashley Gray (featured image) who'd lost his job at the Hoover factory in 2009.
I photographed Ashley on the grounds of the Forsythia Youth Centre and made the most of the overcast grey ambient light to help illustrate the article.
Ashley Evans who works with the youths at the Forsythia centre on the Gurnos estate in Merthyr Tidfil