Graduation Tales | Elliw documents how family mealtimes have changed

Elliw Higham Feast 1_web

An image from Elliw's final year project, Feast

This week, the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport will once again see thousands of our graduates cross the stage in their cap and gown. To celebrate, we are sharing the stories of some of our inspirational students.

Elliw Higham Graduation 2022Elliw Higham, from Cardiff, is graduating from USW with a first-class honours BA in Photography. The 21-year-old decided to focus her final year project on the ways in which family mealtimes have changed in recent years.

Her degree sparked an interest in food photography, which led her to explore how busy lifestyles have contributed to the breakdown of traditional meals eaten around the table with family, especially when people choose different meals and opt for more fast-food options.

“I created a series of images which show that, even though the family is together in the same room, they are disconnected,” said Elliw, who is a fluent Welsh speaker and studied at Ysgol Glantaf.

“I looked at how society has changed so much, and life is so busy that we often forget the importance of family mealtimes; whether that’s from people choosing their own fast food, using their phones or tablets instead of engaging in conversation – just living separate lives.”

Elliw decided to study at USW after being drawn to the Photography course and having a great experience at an Open Day. She said: “The lecturers were fantastic, and I loved being able to study in such a great location. Cardiff is at the heart of the Welsh creative industries and there are so many opportunities to collaborate with students on different courses on a range of projects.”

As the degree covers all aspects of photography, Elliw was introduced to food imagery and was able to shadow a photographer in the industry, when Covid-19 restrictions allowed.

“I learned so much about studio photography – the lighting, setting up props and all that’s involved in getting the right image,” she said. “The whole process really interested me; understanding exactly what goes into the perfect shots you see every day.”

Elliw hopes to one day set up her own photography business, incorporating the Welsh language into her work wherever she can. She added: “I’m excited for the future, breaking into the industry and experiencing the variety of what it can offer.”

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