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foam magazine # 34 dummy

Why have you chosen to keep the Welsh name for Cardiff in the title, despite having found no Welsh identity there? On my long walks through Cardiff, only street names served as a constant reminder that I’m in some place that's not England. I took a hint from that and had the words Caerdydd Diary embossed on the dummy cover since very little else beyond that point in the book is visually Welsh.

Caerdyd is entire d Diary yet very ly truthful, truth m little of that ight be of any use to a nybody .

You spent the summer of 2011 as an artist-in-residence in the city of Cardiff in Wales. During that stay you kept a blog which resulted in your photobook dummy Caerdydd Diary. In the introduction you stated that you ‘set out with the best of intentions to document the Welsh identity as I perceived it’. But to your disappointment you found none. Did you, coming from India, a former British colony, perceive any kind of Welsh identity before coming to Cardiff? It wasn’t long before I landed in Cardiff did I know of Wales as a country in its own right. I went there with zero expectations. My point was to discover the contemporary character of Cardiff and its people. I was hoping to find something fresh, innocent, and visual. Sadly, nowadays the identity of Cardiff is dissolved into the British identity. Even the Prince of Wales isn’t Welsh! Long after the glorious era of coal mines and dockyard workers, redevelopment across Cardiff has made it a newly-scrubbed city in search of renewed purpose. 54

Did the absence of a Welsh identity lead you to photograph Cardiff differently than you had originally planned? You could instead have decided to explore Wales outside its capital to look for a distinguishable Welsh identity, yet you decided to document Cardiff. The resulting photographs show many generic places of a city in decline, but in your written comments you often give the sad look of it a humorous twist. The terms of the residency required me to work within a specific area that spanned three neighbourhoods of Cardiff, with which I developed an intimate relationship. I would walk the streets and back alleys for hours every day. What I found most surprising was the utter lack of street culture in the evenings. Everyone would either go home after work or go to the pub, and the streets would look perfectly empty. It gave me a unique opportunity to put a couple of hours of deep summer dusk light to good use in a city that looked as if it had been deserted by its own inhabitants. I briefly slipped in and out of depressions due to loneliness and had to struggle daily to fight it. I found my own melancholy reflected in the people I met and in the quiet streets I inhabited. The


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