Forbesfield Flowers: Beauty, colour and quirk in the Castle Arcade

Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of photographing the absolutely gorgeous Forbesfield Flowers, a beautiful florist in the Castle Arcade.

Anybody who reads this blog with any kind of regularity will know how infrequently I’m able to get my act together and post photos within a few photos of the shutter being released. However, Forbesfield, in its current incarnation, will cease to be in a short while, so I thought I better hurry it along so you can see it while it’s still around.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Brooklinde: treasure trove of gold, silver and platinum in the High Street Arcade

Happy New Year!

Alright, we’re quite a way into the new year, but this is the first post on the blog of 2013 so I thought I’d get that out of the way. When I started this project almost two years ago, I didn’t think I’d still be going all this time later. I’ve got some great new posts coming up soon, so watch this space!

Now back to the business of this post. A couple of weeks before Christmas I was invited to photograph the great Brooklinde Jewellery shop in the High Street Arcade. I’m a bit of a shiny things magpie so I was keen to get down there and have a look. I’d also been told there was a workshop downstairs, and I’m always intrigued by what happens away from the shopfront.

Continue reading

Arcades Portraits: Lucy from Catapult Vinyl

Catapult was one of the first shops that I photographed for the project. Since then, Lucy the owner, and Simon, the manager have been incredibly supportive of the project and always been very enthusiastic about the work.

They’re always good to pop round and say hello to, and recently you may remember they moved premises just round the corner to the Duke Street Arcade.

However, a massive oversight has always been that I haven’t photographed the beautiful and wonderful Lucy for the project. That had to change, and so, when I had the pleasure of helping to review a Nikon D800, I jumped at the chance to shoot some portraits at the new shop.

Continue reading

City Surf… Skate and Snow, in Cardiff since 1986

As one of the oldest arcades shops still trading, I’ve been hoping to shoot City Surf ever since the project began. Finally, over a year into it, I managed to pop by and take some photos of the new location for the shop.

Continue reading

Vintage Zizou: Beautiful, colourful, delicious clothes and jewellery in the Castle Arcade

It always thrills me to see a new shop opening up in the arcades, so full of hope and exciting spirit – and none possess this more so than the beautiful new vintage shop which can be found in the Castle Arcade.

Continue reading

Spillers Saturday Sessions No.6: Martyn Joseph

I don’t think I’ve seen Big Little City quite so packed as for today’s performance by Martyn Joseph. Roars of applause and cheering rippled through the weird acoustics of the exhibition space as once again people sat down, stood up and gathered around to enjoy another free performance courtesy of the Spillers Saturday Sessions.

As always, I won’t bother with too many words. Just enjoy the pictures.

And find out more about Martyn on the Martyn Joseph website. And obviously, you can buy his albums at Spillers.

Oh and we’re now officially halfway through the Spillers Saturday Sessions run… unbelievable!











A Vintage Affair: Cornucopia of retro delights in the Morgan Arcade

Unless you’re living under a pretty hefty rock, it can’t really have failed to escape your notice that vintage is BIG right now. Heard of little show called Mad Men, anyone? Anyway, I digress… A Vintage Affair in Morgan Arcade caters to those looking for their fill of lovely clothes, pretty teacups, gorgeous jewellery and pretty much everything else in between. There’s only one rule, ‘I usually only accept items from before the 1980s’, says owner Melanie King. So if you’re looking to offload any of your own items, bear that in mind.

The shop itself has been there only around a year or so, taking up the empty shop Rouge left behind (recognise the wallpaper?) and was originally run by 3 different sellers. Now the only Mel from the original trio is left, she is joined by Edwin Dyson, well-known in the city as the creator of the Blind Lemon Vintage Fair who supplies the line of men’s clothing which can be found upstairs.

It’s important to note the presence of menswear in the shop, undercatered as the sartorially sophisticated males of the city seem to be, especially in the vintage market. It’s nice to know that there are certain hotspots which they can find something to pick up (others include Looby Loos and Hobo’s, both in High Street Arcade).

Setting up the shop, owner Mel wanted it to be a little different from a traditional shop, with something to look at in every corner. Resulting in a pleasing ‘wow’ as you enter the door, I wager you could probably spend days in here and see something new with every glance. In short, a haven for those who like to rummage to find a hidden treasure or two.

Since its launch, Mel tells me its been popular. Indeed, when I visited it was pretty tricky to get any empty shop photos, having to sneak them in wherever possible. Obviously its wares are a popular subject, but it’s also helpful It’s situated in a pretty neat spot, next to the famous Plan and within a few metres of the infamous Spillers Records. It also benefits from being not too far from the regenerated Hayes/St David’s area, and is surely a welcome diversion from the more sterile environment of the bigger chain shops that surround it.

Way back when (that’s what people say when they don’t know the exact date, right?), Mel tells me it was a Sarsaparilla Bar. Still she gets older people popping their head round the door to tell her all about its former days selling it to the locals.

Sourcing her goods from a myriad of places including vintage fairs and customers bringing stuff in to sell, Mel tells me of the time she visited an Aladdin’s-cave of an old house packed to the rafters with (very) old magazines, clothes, accessories and crockery. Heaven for her shop, and my mind instantly wonders exactly how many photos I’d take in a place like that (rough estimate: 12 billion).

To me, the three (four if you count Folk Farm) vintage shops in the arcades complement each other perfectly, because they’re not really competing with each other. Looby Loo’s is the place to go for clothes, with its rails of elegant finery, whereas A Vintage Affair, although selling a few clothes, is probably more about the accessories, the jewellery, the ‘bits’ and Hobo’s, well that’s just a world of its own that really has nothing like it.

So next time you’re picking up a rare vinyl from Spillers, or treating yourself to a delicious brunch in The Plan, why not pop across to A Vintage Affair and see what you can find. Warning – I take no responsibility for any hours lost as you wander the rails/shelves/floor in amazement.

See below for some more pictures from A Vintage Affair. Predictably, the shutter button didn’t get much rest during this shoot so you can see a whole heap more over on this Vintage Affair Flickr set. Enjoy, share, tell me what you think in the comments box.

















‘Being’ at The Wardrobe, High Street Arcade: Opening night photos

Last night I popped along to the opening of a new art show taking place in one of the empty shops of the High Street Arcade. It’s fantastic to see the empty units being used for something positive, and it always brings a new sense of excitement to the arcades when this kind of thing happens.

Taking place at the site of The Wardrobe, the men’s clothes shop that closed down last year after nearly 20 years of trading in the arcade, the art exhibition is hosted by December Lab the same people who organise Vertical Cinema over at Gwdihw.

I spoke to one of the organisers, Lee, last night about why they chose to exhibit in the arcades. He told me that originally they’d originally tried to exhibit in the Morgan Arcade but were met with costs that weren’t there for the High Street Arcade. Although the space in the Morgan Arcade is bigger, it’s fair to say that The Wardrobe has a great amount of character, especially upstairs.

I met two of the artists who are exhibiting, Jonathan Thomas and Garrett Lynch. Also on display is Henrik Hedinge, Freeman & Fine, Daniel Jeczalik and Liam O’Conner. Unfortunately exhibitor Inga Burrows has pulled out. The show focuses on the idea of ‘Being’ and uses video installation and other artforms.

One of the organisers of the exhibition, Lee, who told me he was delighted to see so many people at the opening.

Speaking to Garrett about his work was fascinating. A lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, he puts on ‘performances’ through Second Life, the virtual reality online world. As you’ll see in his portrait, he wears a sandwich board, with the phrase “I AM GARRETT LYNCH (IRL)” on it. This is the same as his virtual avatar wears, a play on both his nationality (Irish) and the abbreviation for “In Real Life.” It would probably take me far too long to explain in this post exactly what the performances involve, so the best thing you can do is go along to the exhibition to see it for yourself! And you can find more information on Garrett Lynch’s website.

Jonathan, who wasn’t so keen on having his photo taken but let me anyway, is displaying a video projection upstairs and is, according to the information leaflet, ‘An investigation into/with/through frames (aesthetic, spatial, temporal, epistemological, ontological, ideological…), offscreen space and the imaginary object. Again, it’s probably better if you just pop along to see the show.

You can see more pictures from the show in this post, and it runs until the 28th May. For more information, you can visit the Facebook event page – or just call into the shop the next time you’re in the city centre!

Jonathan Thomas' projection, upstairs in the exhibition

Liam O'Conner's piece, an 11 minute film, watch as the ice melts to reveal the picture behind it - every time I walked past it was different.

Freeman and Fine's work, single frame animation.


Cardiff Arcades: fantastic backdrop for portraits

This week I had the pleasure of shooting a portrait of Helen for the We Are Cardiff project. As the story only allows for one photo, I thought I’d share the rest of the photos from the session.

The Arcades make a wonderful backdrop for portraits and there’s lots of little nooks and crannies you can explore.

So enjoy the photos, and more importantly, enjoy Helen’s story over on We Are Cardiff – it’s wonderful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.