Welcome to Cardiff a few years ago. It’s a Saturday night and in Chippy Lane the takeaway containers start to pile up. Later on they’ll be miniature skyscrapers. Just around the corner is St Mary street, a half of a mile strip of nineteenth century buildings filled with clubs and pubs. R&B filtered through thick stone walls is drowned by the shouts and laughter of thousands of people heading for the next drink. It gets so messy that on weekends police close the street to traffic. The boys are out in their droves, in jeans and short sleeve shirts, no matter whether is a rainy August or a snowy March. Groups of giggly girls in their weekend best, which most often implies very short, lead their path. All around, the sheer mass of people keeps constantly moving, briefly pausing on the curb of the road, chatting, and doing all those strange things that only happen after midnight.
Cardiff After Dark is an incredible document of night life in Britain. Photographed over seven years by Polish documentary photographer Maciej Dakowicz, it focuses on the alcohol fuelled nights of just one tiny patch of Cardiff – a city like any other British city. At night, Cardiff becomes a large white canvas for the surreal and humorous, laced with some grit and sadness. Men dressed as women, women dressed as policemen. Superman walking off into a dark alley. A man at a ninety degree angle being blown away by an imaginary tornado. The longest continuous stream of vomit you will ever see. Together with giant human tapestries, it is these unique, decisive moments that bring us clear memories of a hazy night.
This series of photographs ran around almost the whole world, has sparked a social debate about the lifestyle of contemporary British. Dakowicz’s pictures were discussed on British TV and radio and published in major journals. At the end of 2012 “Thames & Hudson” released Maciek’s first photobook from this series.
Maciej Dakowicz is a London based photojournalist and documentary photographer born in Bialystok, Poland, in 1976. He obtained Ph. D. in computer sciences, but he devoted himself to photograsphy soon after it. He has been widely exhibited and published across the world. He is a co-founder of The Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff and a member of the collectiva of photographers Un-Posed www.un-posed.com.