MIR: 4am Project

The alarm went off at half three in the morning, I woke up got dressed, grabbed my camera and took to the streets to Cardiff to take photographs with strangers.


As part of 2012’s community arts festival Made in Roath I decided to take part in a photography exercise called ‘The 4am Project’.

Taking some photos on Albany Road

This project led to an interesting night and eventually viewing my photographs in an exhibition.

The basic remit of this was to get up early in the morning to capture the magical hour of 4am.

I was keen to go out and photograph a time at night that people don’t often pay a huge amount of attention to.

On waking at half three in the morning I dressed up especially warm, and headed out bleary-eyed to meet up with other night-time photographers outside The Pear Tree on Albany road.

I was the first to arrive but was soon joined by Matt, who runs an excellent hyper-local news blog around Roath called roathcardiff.net. Next we were joined by Huw and then finally Jon and his son Guy turned up.

At five past four we realised that no-one else was coming, worked out a quick route and headed off to snap the night.

Graffiti on Plasnewydd Road

As we walked I asked Huw why he was dragging himself out of bed to take photos in the dark. He told me that he had done some similar photo tours in New York and wanted try one out in the city where he lived. He added: “It’s good to do something weird every once in a while.”

We walked up Wellfield Road and past the Roath Recreational Ground towards the park.

Every once in a while one of us would peel off from the pack to photograph a bottle on the floor, a street sign, rubbish bins or traffic cones. We kept on ambling around and capturing Cardiff at night.

Once past the recreational ground we reached the top of the park and went to photograph RoathParkLake.

A bottle by Roath recreational ground.

I wish my camera was good enough for my photos to do the lake at 4am justice. The eccentric miniature lighthouse in the middle of lake was lit up blue and illuminated the mist gathering on the surface of the water. Above the lake the stars were shining brightly and looked incredible reflected on the still water.

We then headed back towards town, taking photographs of taxis on Albany Road and bins overflowing with beer cans and take-away.

The best shot I could get of the lighthouse.

After the church bell chimed 5 o’clock we called it a night. I waved goodbye to my fellow photographers and headed back to my warm bed.

One week later and I am stood in the Skittle Alley of The Albany pub on Dalcross street looking at my mounted photographs.

I’ve loved the Made in Roath festival and I’m glad that my photographic forage into the night helped me to become a part of this fantastic community festival.

Huw was right; it is great to do something a little weird sometimes.

My full set of photographs can be found on flickr.

One Response to “MIR: 4am Project”
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  1. […] took part in our 4am Project for Made in Roath, blogging about this Festival event and others at offbeatcardiff, and Henry has taken an artistic theme for his blog thepickcardiff, getting involved with Made in […]

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