There are some people in life who are impossible to compartmentalize, and Seimon Pugh-Jones is one of them.

Ask him to reel off his list of friends, and you’ll soon understand that this is a man whose life has taken the most obtuse series of turns.

Said friends include the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Tommy Harden, Peter Bailey and a myriad other eminent people from the land of film, music and everywhere else besides. 

“I’ve had such a rich and colourful exploration throughout my life, as well as some ups and downs, but and I’m just so fortunate to have been given those opportunities,” said Seimon, who also happens to be the founder of the Tin Shed Experience at Laugharne.

“Growing up in Carmarthenshire I was always desperate to get out of school because I was a bit dyslexic, and never very academic.”

So in 1983 Seimon cast the academia to one side and headed off to the Dyfed College of Art to begin a photography course.

“When I got to art college with a full portfolio of work, they couldn’t understand why I wanted to be a photographer. But I believed this was the cool option,” he laughs.

“And when college ended, I had this head on my shoulders that    wanted to get straight out there and take pictures.

“ I worked for a while with the Welsh magazine ‘Sgrech’ and then strangely enough a job came up with the MoD as a high speed photographer.

"So for the next 11 years, here I was, dyslexic and barely able to work out a shopping bill, suddenly dealing with 40,000 feet of film and going through 40,000 pictures per second.

“But this gave me the discipline behind the technical photography and what it meant to be prepared.”

Seimon then got a job with ‘Armchair General’ magazine, where he would devise historical reconstructions from scripts sent to him from California which he’d then interpret for photographic shoots.

“I’m the last person who wants to photograph war but the subject fascinates me. It creates a message that’s so important - I wanted to put the drama but also the tragedy into it as well.”

Whilst working on Armchair General, Seimon occasionally helped out in the costume department of 'Band of Brothers' which was an American war drama mini-series created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

“I decided to go down to the set on day and had with me a 16mm clockwork film so I’m standing there with the camera in my hand and I was asked if I had a film for it. I did, so they then asked me to shoot a few sequences.

"I did about an hours’ worth of footage and a few months later I was told that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg had both seen the footage and thought it was some undiscovered archive.

“So there’s a scene in episode 10 where I was given the job of being an actor dressed as a GI in the forest but I was actually filming at the same time with a 16mm filmo."

Ten years ago Seimon turned his hand to painting and, it goes without saying that given his skills as a photographer, his work is exceptionally strong.

This week, on the 70th anniversary of the death of Dylan Thomas, Seimon launched 'Titbits and Topsyturvies', which is an exhibition of portraits capturing some of the most revered characters from Under Milk Wood. These include the drowned, who were the sailors who went to sea with Captain Cat.

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“These have always had a special place for me as my great grandfather, Enoch Pugh-Jones, was a ship’s captain who sailed the same seas as Captain Cat.

“He was a nine times Cape Horner, a pearl diver in Australia and lost his boat on Brion Island. He managed to save his crew by walking on ice to survival.

"I first painted Captain Cat around ten years ago based on a friend of mine, John Bradshaw, who played the character with the Laugharne Players.  When I finished him, he looked a bit lonely so I painted Rosie Probert, inspired by Lorraine King who wrote the music for 'Save the Cinema'.

Western Telegraph:

"And when I finished her, I realised I'd been bitten by the Under Milk Wood bug and I just carried on painting more characters.

"I've listened to the script hundreds of times and wanted to create portraits based on the written word, rather than pilfer the visual characters."

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Other sitters for the current exhibition include Peter Bailey who made the large-scale model ships for the Pirate of the Caribbean movies, and Tommy Harden, the famous drummer who has played with all the Nashville greats and who is a massive Dylan fan. 

Also on show for the first time is a portrait by Seimon of Lee Miller, the famous war photographer, who in 1946 photographed Dylan Thomas for Vogue magazine as well as film memorabilia from the 1971 film version of the play for voices, including a film poster signed by the director Andrew Sinclair, an original autograph of Richard Burton obtained while he was filming in Fishguard and a painting by Nicholas Jones (Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers), based on Dylan. 

The exhibition was conceived and curated by Mark Lewis and takes place at the Narberth Museum.  It will run until March 31, 2024.