Rules of Play, Castle Arcade and Garlands Eatery, Duke Street Arcade

Today was my first proper portrait and interior shoot as part of the project. The lovely Michelle from the Rules of Play game shop in the Castle Arcade and Garlands Eatery in Duke Street was the first shopowner to contact me last week when I first tweeted the idea of the project.

I’ve said before that I’m a bit nervous photographing strangers but I can honestly say today was a dream. I spent some time chatting with Michelle before getting the camera out (on the advice of my photographer friend Ed) and then took some interior shots of the Rules of Play shop.

It’s hard knowing what to tell people to do, but I think, with this kind of project at least, it’s easier because you want people to act naturally as they normally would in their own shop.

I also met Ian, Michelle’s husband, who works in their other business, Garland’s Eatery. Garland’s was just yesterday named best cafe in South Wales by the Echo. And it’s easy to tell why.

Named after a Welsh singer known as the Welsh Judy Garland, Ian and Michelle did little to the shop when they bought it nearly 4 years ago. The styling of the interior comes from its namesake, and there’s a theatrical theme running throughout backed up by an elegant chandelier in the middle of the ceiling, stage photographs adorning the walls and the classical music that is playing on the radio.

Serving real Welsh food and quality coffee, Michelle says that the business enjoys particularly good custom from bewildered stag and hen dos attempting to get over an epic hangover on the morning after a big one in the city centre.

Rules of Play is one of the newest shops in the arcade, having only opened last year. Spurred on by the closure of a games shop just down the road from Garland’s, Michelle thought there was definitely need for a dedicated shop and opened up Rules of Play.

Inside it’s fresh and airy and it’s the games that are the focus here. A friendly table set up with a board game (and a load more stashed underneath) means you can try before you buy and the shop regularly runs events to get people into traditional gaming and away from mega expensive consoles and the mega expensive, throwaway games that get played once and discarded… as a long time lover of Articulate, I can’t wait to get my hands on something myself once I’ve got a bit of spare cash.

I needn’t have worried about being nervous for this shoot, I spent a great couple of hours this morning, just chatting, getting to know Michelle and Ian, and learning interesting things. One of the most telling was Ian saying that he believed it was the roadworks on Castle Street and High Street that had lost them more business than the opening of St David’s 2 – I’ll be sure to ask other shopkeeper’s their opinion on this when I meet them.

Anyway, before I ramble on too much (and I’ve probably forgotten a million other things) I hope you enjoy the pictures – please, please do leave me any feedback you  have as I really want to learn from this for the next time – I know these aren’t the most fantastic portraits you will have ever seen, but I’m pretty happy for my first shoot, it’s onwards and upwards from here (and I’ll probably go back and shoot both Garlands and Rules of Play some more at some point too!)

If you want to see more pictures from today’s shoot, see my Flickr account here.


7 thoughts on “Rules of Play, Castle Arcade and Garlands Eatery, Duke Street Arcade

  1. Thought I’d comment since tweets are so limited! Definitely agree with the change, the archiving makes it more of a fluid project, i.e, people can see where you’ve come from and where you’re going with the project – if that makes any sense?? Am liking the black background too, it makes the blog a little bit more striking.

    Think it’s great that you’ve combined the two shops in one post because of the relationship between the owners and the shop/ cafe, gives human interest to the pictures.

    I think that’s maybe why I prefer the portrait of Ian a bit more, because he’s going about his daily business.

    I don’t know if any of that makes sense! I’m tired!

    Are you planning on doing any more portraits this week?

    • Thanks Loren,

      Really appreciate your comments.

      I think when I set up the Tumblr this project was only an idea, so having something quick to post with seemed like the ideal thing. It’s only in the days since that I’ve sat down and thought, ideally you need to be able to search through the project, have links to archived posts and it’s also really handy to have posts categorised, so for instance, all of the Castle Arcade posts can be quickly accessed too.

      It’s also easier to enable comments in wordpress, and for me to keep track of them and plus it’s always handy to know which posts are more popular than others. I think I might just do a quick post on why I’ve changed though just to make it clear.

      I’m glad you like the writing behind the posts – I’ll make sure to keep it pretty personal every time. On this occasion I was lucky in that I had a couple of hours to chat with Ian and Michelle, hopefully I’ll be able to do that every time, but we’ll see.

      My next shoot is on Saturday, I’m photographing a group of art students who are putting on a show in one of the empty shops in the Morgan Arcade, I think it will be heaps of fun – can’t wait!

  2. Good idea on the post, I think it’s useful to show how you’re progressing.

    Oh, that’ll be awesome, I love those kind of pop-up art initiatives. Plus really shows how much you can do with this as a project.

    I think you should carry on until the project comes to a natural finish and then display the best pictures in one of the empty arcade shops. That would be such a neat and effective end for the project. I have no idea how you’d go about doing that though!

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