Portfolio: Chloe Dewe Mathews


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The Independent Culture

For two weeks every summer the small Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth experiences an uncommon influx of tourists, as 1,000 orthodox Jewish Hasids descend, largely from north London, but also from Manchester, Europe and even New York, to rent houses vacated by university students off for the summer break.

Documenting this annual migration is the young British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews, whose project "Hasidic Holiday" captures scenes akin to a Victorian seaside trip: men in long, dark coats and brimmed hats wandering along the promenade; families playing in the seaside playground; and young men bathing fully clothed in the sea.

But perhaps most fascinating is what the Hasids bring with them: they don't simply arrive for a two-week holiday; they relocate wholesale. Arriving in large groups, with removal lorries in tow, the community bring all their possessions – and practices – from home, from children's bikes to cookers to fridges filled with kosher food.

And on the campus where they stay, a large marquee is erected as a temporary synagogue for the regular daily schedule of prayers and community meetings, demonstrating an unshakeable commitment to their way of life.

Chloe Dewe Mathews' 'Hasidic Holiday' will be showing at the inaugural Eye International Photography Festival, which runs from Friday to 1 July in Aberystwyth (aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theeye)