A few weeks ago when I uploaded my post on the beautiful stationery haven that is the Pen and Paper in the Royal Arcade, the more astute amongst you may have noticed a distinct lack of er… pens.
The title of this post perhaps isn’t obvious. Well, colour is – you only have to look at the rows and rows of beautiful pencils, oil pastels, inks and paints to see what I mean there [continues].
A couple of weeks ago I had the fortune of photographing UWIC students who were putting on a degree show in an empty shop in the Morgan Arcade.
As part of a guided tour I was giving to a visiting friend (people be warned, if you visit me I will no doubt enforce a walking tour of the arcades on you) I noticed that a new show had started this week!
I can’t emphasise enough how important I think it is for the empty shops to be used for something, and art exhibitions are a particularly brilliant way to make use of them.
We wandered into the shop and I got chatting to one of the artists exhibiting, Christine Marfleet, who very kindly took some time out to explain more about her piece and the others on show and encouraged me to take photos. A photoshoot like this is always a lot of fun as just 5 minutes before I didn’t know I’d be doing one!
Her piece, one of the most striking in the show, thanks to its size, tells the story of coat manufacture in a recently closed factory in Pontypridd. Each of the pieces represents the different person that was required to make it, with nobody ever having the knowledge to make an entire coat.
This exhibition is over 3 floors, with both the basement and the upper level of the shop available for exploration. The show feels particularly suited to an empty shop as its aim is to critique aspects of consumer culture.
Chris was extremely excited about the space and is hoping to use the space again in the future for more shows, and further, would love to be the curator of it should it be a permanent exhibition space – something that would surely be a very welcome addition to the arcades, adding “exhibition venue” to fantastic architectural interest, independent niche shops, boutiques and fantastic coffee house would be, to my mind, another great tick in the box.
You can read more about the show on the University of Glamorgan website. Nothing to Declare runs until Saturday 26th February 2011, and is open between 10 o’clock and 5 o’clock. A few more photos of the exhibition can be found in the Nothing to Declare set on Flickr.
More pictures can be seen from the exhibition in the Nothing to Declare Flickr set, as usual, any feedback very gratefully received in the comments box.
Big thanks to Eleanor over at the Illustration Wales blog for posting a couple of pictures from my Eccentricities and Oddities post back on Saturday. Don’t forget, the show continues until mid-day Saturday in the Morgan Arcade if you want to get down there and have a look.
Today was an extremely fun shoot with a group of great students from the Cardiff School of Art and Design. The show, ‘Eccentricities and Obsessions‘ features works of “whatever we liked” according to Lucy, who had contacted me earlier in the week asking if I’d like to shoot the exhibition for the project.
It’s fantastic to see empty spaces being used in a positive way here, and Lucy told me (very interestingly) that they don’t have to pay rent on the shop, just the electricity bill – very generous of the landlords who presumably would rather see the shop being used for something than sitting there empty.
I also met Jasmine, Emma, James, Ellen and Lauren who all, after some cajoling and I’m sure initial feelings of weirdness, very kindly agreed to pose for me next to their artworks. The artworks, by the way, are amazing. I can’t think how incredible they are going to be when they’re older if this is what they’re capable of right now.
I have always been jealous of people who can draw and create – it’s what I’ve always used photography as a substitute for.
I’ve also learned a bit more about portrait shooting today. These portraits were a lot quicker than those shot in Garlands. There were 6 of them and I think I spent a total of about an hour in the shop, so I really had to whiz through everybody. I learned that if you can relax the person just by talking to them while you’re shooting, they begin to act naturally and start to forget about the camera – and that’s the kind of shots I want.
If this was a portrait shoot then obviously I’d be keen for the ‘models’ to look heavily stylised, and for me to tell them what to do. But this isn’t about that, this is about real people, in real environments, so I want them to act real.
Below you’ll find portraits mixed in with works from the show – I do hope you like them – please, please do leave any feedback (good and bad!) to let me know what you think. By the way, although the above poster has 5th Feb as the last day – the students told me that it was continuing next week, so please visit if you can.
Once again thanks to Lucy, James, Jas, Emma, Lauren and Ellen – you were great!