Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 14:48 UK

City nightlife brought into focus

Pink Hat by Maciej Dakowicz
Mr Dakowicz's pictures document the lighter side of the city's drinking culture

The antics of Cardiff's pubbers and clubbers have been brought into focus as part of an online look at the city's nightlife through a lens.

Maciej Dakowicz, 32, has lived in the capital for four years and spent three documenting its revellers in his Cardiff at Night photographic project.

He started snapping drinkers in action after discovering the city's "crazy" Saturday party atmosphere.

He is now hoping his photos will help him become a full-time photographer.

There are more than 50 candid camera shots in Mr Dakowicz's after hours archive of the city which takes in the lighter side of Cardiff's drinking culture.

Most of his pictures were taken along St Mary Street and Caroline Street, locally known as Chip Alley, showcasing what people get up to once they've had one too many.

I moved to Cardiff four years ago and just after moving here I found out about its crazy nightlife so it was quite a natural thing for me to photograph
Maciej Dakowicz

From butch-looking beefcakes dressed in pink cowboy hats and slinky dresses to couples sharing cheeky caresses under the cover of darkness, the arty snaps have attracted thousands of visitors to his online exhibition on the Flickr website.

Taken over a series of weekends across the course of three years, Mr Dakowicz explained how he had taken literally thousands of pictures to get the results which everyone is now raving about.

"I've taken thousands of pictures and on any one night I'd take about 200 pictures and out of them maybe five would be good," said the PHD student who hails from Bialystok in his homeland of Poland.

"I moved to Cardiff four years ago and just after moving here I found out about its crazy nightlife so it was quite a natural thing for me to photograph.

"I've never seen nightlife like it in other places. In Cardiff the nightlife is quite concentrated as everything's in the centre of the city.

Kissing High by Maciej Dakowicz
Mr Dakowicz's shots show the lighter side of the city's drinking culture

"If you go to places like London then the pubs and clubs are scattered around the place and it's not the same.

"But while I was taking the photos I was having a good time myself as I realised that I needed to be a bit like the people in the pictures.

"Having a couple of drinks helped otherwise you get too scared and too stiff to take the photos properly.

"If you don't have a drink then you start to wonder what's going on and it can all pass you by and you can miss things."

The most amazing thing about Mr Dakowicz's work is that he only picked up a camera for the first time in 2003, finishing his first project in 2005.

Hot shot

Since then he has put together a collection of photos which have attracted attention from all over the world via the internet.

His pictures of people take a snapshot of their lives in places as near to Cardiff as Barry and the valleys and as far-flung as Bangladesh and China.

He currently classes himself as a semi-professional photographer, whilst he finishes his postgrad in computing at the University of Glamorgan but, after the online accolades he has received, plans to go full-time next year.

"I'd never been interested in photography before but now it's something new and fresh for me," he said.

"I find photography fascinating and I got completely into it and now I've got a real passion for it.

"The plan is for me to become a full-time photographer next year after I finish my PHD and I hope I can get into photojournalism or travel photography but I'll just do whatever comes along and see where it takes me."


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