Last week Daniel Meadows, photographer and creator of Capture Wales, came to talk about his photographic career. I met local photographer Dan Green yesterday, whose work centres on capturing the city of Cardiff. Dan has staged two exhibitions, BigLittleCity and Cardiff Characters, which focus on the local characters who make up the city. Here’s what he had to say:
Dan Green, 33, photographer, Cardiff
I came up with the idea for Cardiff Characters with a friend. We thought it would be great to document and photograph these people who make up everyday life in Cardiff. They are basically the landscape of the city.
My very first photograph was of ‘Toy Mic Trev’. He used to be on Queen Street singing into a toy microphone. It was done with a lot of admiration.
One of the most interesting people I’ve ever photographed is Ninja, the guy who drums on bins in the city centre. He’s a bit of madness mixed with genius. Marcello the Italian chef was also an absolute legend. He’s really funny, he always hums to opera and he’s a great cook.
A lot of people are dubious when you approach them for a photo. Eye contact and a smile can go a long way.
What made my first exhibition so rich was the connection between people. This was the first time all these characters had been together in one room at one time.
My photographs of Cardiff are very positive because I am genuinely enthusiastic about this city. I adore it and I’m learning more about it all the time. I love that the water’s only ten minutes away and that twenty minutes away there’s so much luscious greenery. A good friend once said to me, “You can travel around the world and you’re always as proud as punch to say you’re from Cardiff.”
I’m really embracing the rejuvenation of the city but some of the new architecture has no identity – it could be anywhere. It doesn’t say: “That’s Cardiff”.
I’ve been a photographer since I was 16. I got the bug after doing a course at a local school when I was 15. I learned the old formula – there were no digitals back then.
Last week I lost my digital camera and I picked up my film camera again. It’s been such a godsend. I got 16 or 17 films developed. I’m keen to go back to the dark room and see the image emerge on the paper again.
Yes, the digital age is taking over and everyone’s got a camera phone but there’s still an art form to taking a photograph.
Social networking sites are really handy, but the misuse of them I don’t appreciate at all. I’m sick to death of hearing “I’m eating cheese on toast” or “I’m combing my hair”.
Ideally I would like to take the BigLittleCity ethos and apply it to other cities in the world. I’d love to do the twin towns of Cardiff and make a connection, but also do other Cardiffs of the world. As a photographer it’s great to travel and live it, breathe it, feel it.
Tbilisi in Georgia is phenomenal. My photographs there are some of the best I’ve ever taken. It’s a harsh place but with very warm people. They’ve got nothing but they keep on giving.
I would like to eventually open up the idea to other people and collaborate with other people’s photos.