Welcome to the Mike Collier Archive

Welcome to the Mike Collier Archive. Mike sadly passed away shortly after his 72nd Birthday in August of 2015. His incredible photography lives on however, and I will be adding content and will update this website as it becomes available.

My name is Neil Collier. I am Mike's son. In life he was incredibly good humored, talented though modest, knowledgeable, kind but above all a wonderful Father and my best friend. His wealth of lifetime experience and vast knowledge of the subject was second to none, and I have been fortunate enough to have gained solid understanding of the subject in general and continue the family Photographic business in the Uplands of Swansea. Looking back I now realise that I have only gained a fraction of his photographic insight, but I will continue to learn from him even now, as I work through his collection of notes and his favourite books. I hope you will visit this website from time to time and see new content which will be posted as I come across it.

To start things off please Click HERE to visit the BBC Radio Wales feature on my Father's photography.

Mike was born in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley in 1943 and started taking pictures at about seven years of age. Film was dish developed and negatives were contact printed in his blacked out kitchen at Avon Terrace. Mike's interest in photography grew from that time and he photographed everything and everyone in sight, pocket money permitting.

One of the photographs in this collection is of a little boy standing on a doorstep with his cat. This was a picture taken with his first good camera purchased for Mike's fourteenth birthday. The picture was made from a scanned print, the negative was one of the casualties mentioned below.

The photographs contained within this website formed part of an exhibition called "Fragments & Memories".

"Fragments" because hundreds of negatives depicting life in the valleys were accidentally destroyed. "Memories" were part of Mike's 'jottings' about life in the Rhondda.

This archive was started following that Exhibition. In the late sixties and through the seventies Mike had photographed people and places of the valleys for submissions to the Royal Photographic Society. He took prints of his efforts to some of the people in the pictures, not to all of them though and unfortunately he didn't take their names. He regretted that very much when he started constructing this Archive.

These pictures are the only ones to have survived.

Progress however was made with the identities of some of the people and through the BBC Homepage. Some people had even made contact with Mike from as far afield Australia to offer Mike some insight into the identities of some of the people contained within this website.

BBC Radio Wales kindly took Mike to Blaenrhondda where he was aided in interviewing some wonderful people and sampled that heart warming 'Valleys' hospitality of which he so fondly recalled from his childhood, and which still remains.

This is an ongoing project so please feel free to visit the website again as you will find more images will be added periodically.

All images contained within this website are Copyright protected ┬ęThe Mike Collier Archive