Diffusion, Inspiration And The Deli

So, another week has passed an I find myself sat up late instead of going to bed early like my wife. Here's what I have to say.

Two weeks ago myself and closest hombres drearily wandered around Cardiff fuelled by coffee and "strong banter" to check out "Diffusion Festival - Looking For America". Let me start the cursing with this,


The images hanging on every wall were nothing short than awe inspiring. I'm never one to really read what things are about. I just take them on face value and decide whether I like it or not when I'm done. Like building flat pack furniture minus the instructions. But below is what the festival was about.

"Diffusion 2015’s chosen theme is Looking for America, a cross-disciplinary investigation of the status and meaning of the ‘American Dream’ in relation to experience in Wales, contemporary America and the rest of the world."

You can check out the official stuff here: http://diffusionfestival.org

I've often moaned at my wife Abi that I've not enjoyed going to an exhibition because I don't get it. Not because of the work on show more because of a certain type of people who attend. The people who openly discuss things in a voice thats volume is a little to close for comfort. Standing staring at the image until they "see" what was meant to be portrayed, discussing the emotions and supposed meanings behind the pieces of work. Getting into petty debates about who's theory is better matched for the work. Getting so politely angry but being too tame to risk offending someone by sticking to their opinions. A kind of middle classed, arty ballet of non offensive, shit hurling, latte swiggers.

Not this time. Oh no. 

This is the first exhibition I've been to where my mind has been truly engaged by something in various white walled rooms. Some of the images the photographers had put out instantly triggered the feeling of "fuck me thats satisfying". Like breaking wind when someone has finally left the room. Plus as a bonus, all the usual arty-farty-shit-hurlers were nowhere to be seen. Just sound, like minded people out for the day enjoying a good exhibition. No pretentiousness.

Knowing my luck I was probably seen as the pretentious, latte swigging yuppie twat at this exhibition. Grrrrreat!

There were a few that stood out throughout and these are the ones that blew my shit away the most.

Jeff Brouws

Jeff Brouws

Jack Latham

Jack Latham

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson

These three images alone instantly made me think of how I need to step up my photography game. Spend more time exploring new places. Looking at the ones I'm so used to in a different perspective. Looking at people, telling stories through photographs. Giving the yuppie culture a reason to get offended by each other over.

I get it now.

I get why people go to these things and chat shit over coffee now. Its fuckin fun. Its fuckin inspiring! 

The guys above have inspired me to shoot the following. Trying to re create that gritty mid state vibe... Kinda.

All my life I have never really wanted to go to America. The idea of roughing it in Alaska has appealed to me but never central America. These images and this style of photography is slowly changing my mind. Two close friends  have buddies in the states with a place to stay. The talk of cheap flights and adventure has been discussed but only briefly. The obsessive compulsive in me is saying go. Immediately. A fortune teller told me I needed to travel America a few years back. Maybe now I have a reason to heed his advice.

Anyway, enough of that. My other American link is THE NEW YORK DELI. I can safely say after four years the feeling of working there hasn't changed. The routines are pretty much the same, the regulars are the same and the passion for making big ass fuckin sandwiched is pretty much still there. The only difference is that I've grown up a bit... It used to be just a cool job where i could earn money and blow it all on the weekend. Now its a full blown passion. I've pulled  a few late ones with owner and friend Mike. We've made only minor changes so far but they seem like much needed big steps for the future. The more we do, the more it feels like our dreams are slowly becoming a reality. Like the line leading to the final stop has finally been cleared of debris. 

Home sweet home.

Home sweet home.


Deli life is pretty amazing. Its a solid routine of early start, prep, pop master, smoke, service, break, bank, some more service and then finally close. Oh and coffee. SO MUCH FUCKIN COFFEE! During this routine you feel like your part of a big community. Everyone stops by for a coffee and a chat. Some for advice, some for gossip but, what remains constant is at the heart of this little community at Castle end of Cardiff when people need anything, they come to The Deli. Its something that all my jobs since leaving there have lacked. Only now have I realised that I crave being around something that feels important and valued.

I've been lucky as fuck to be given the opportunity to fall back into this life style. Still wave to the same faces in the morning, still chat to the same smokers on break and still crack the same old jokes. The new team feel very similar to how I was when I first started working there. Extremely creative and talkative. I work with two talented photographers and a filmographer?! I think? I've not gotten to know what makes everyone truly tick yet. I'm still an outsider returning to a familiar territory that is now theirs. I hope that in time I get to know them all inside out and make changes along with Mike that will not only benefit the business, but better our work lifestyles. 

Any way thats enough of that for now. I sound like a politician. 

I'll finish up on this. A few weeks ago I started this blog to record a journey. A journey towards feeling confident. Towards making up my own mind on things and throwing a few pinches of salt towards Ted talks and other "motivational" videos on the internet. I know this is only the beginning but I already feel completely different. I'm four weeks deep so far and I can't wait to see where I am after the next few weeks. Can't wait to catch up with more old faces, hang out, shoot the shit and take photos all whilst working at The Deli.