For my first post, I feel like I should include a little introduction to the project. Basically this entire project is spun out of a whimsical thought I had just a couple of days ago – the thought being that it would be cool to do a photography project centred around the beautiful Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades that can be found in Cardiff’s City Centre. I’m completing a Project 365, and I wandered in there on the way home looking for inspiration on Tuesday night (the resulting photo you can see a bit further down the page…)
I assumed it must have been done a million times before, as it seems like such an obvious choice, and one filled with so many possibilities. I tweeted that I was half considering doing this and local website @yourcardiff (part of Media Wales) got in touch to tell me they’d love to feature a slideshow of images, and that, to their knowledge that nobody had undertaken a project like this, and if they had, it was high time another one was done.
Since no images actually existed, I asked them if they could help me get the ball rolling instead and they promised to be in touch the next day.
By the morning, I’d also been tweeted by @michelledavis, who owns the @garlandseatery cafe and the amazing @rulesofplaygame board-game shop, saying she’d be up for helping. Since I have a fear of going up to strangers to ask if I can photograph them, it struck me that my fear could be overcome by getting the strangers to come to me. Still a bit scary, yes, but not so terrifying anymore.
Fast forward just a few hours and Your Cardiff are letting me put out a post next week asking for people to come forward, and local arts group hack/flash are also hoping to get involved. Helia from hack/flash says all the best projects come from those that are based on a random thought one evening.
I sure hope she’s right. I can envisage so many sub-projects within this project, which is what I think will keep my interest piqued. For now, I’m really looking for shopkeepers and/or workers to get in touch if they would like me to swing by and take photos of them and their shop. I think that once I’ve done a few, I will get the courage up to ask the shops that haven’t come forward.
I love the arcades and I really want them to thrive in an undeniably difficult economic time and with increasing competition from shops on Queen Street and in St David’s. I don’t want to be evangelical but I know we will all be very disappointed if the arcades empty out and only relics are left.
If my project can help the arcades in any way (either through a tiny bit of publicity for individual shops and businesses or just through general intrigue) I will feel like I have done a good job, and of course, in return I’ll hopefully meet some awesome people and have some great photos.
I should probably say at this point that posts won’t always be as long as this, but I wanted to lay it all on the line for you to read, so you know the deal before signing up. I’m hoping that it will end up being a mixture of short blogposts, pictures, galleries, interviews and snippets of information about arcade history – maybe even the odd map. There’s probably some unanswered questions here, so if you have any please do get in contact, and please pass this message on to anyone who you think might have the smallest of interest and might be able to help.
Thankyou and wish me luck!
If you are a shopkeeper and would like me to come and take photos in your shop (and of you if you don’t mind) please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or stalk me on twitter (@amydavies) and we’ll arrange something as soon as possible!
Here’s the rather ordinary photo that started this all off… taken in the Morgan Arcade.