Behind the camera: Simon Ayre

You may have noticed that the We Are Cardiff website features some rather wonderful photography. We’ve decided to run a series of posts introducing you to our photographers, who volunteer their time to keep this website looking as amazing as possible. Please meet the lovely Simon Ayre!

One reason why Cardiff is an ace place to live

One of the things that makes Cardiff so good is one of the many reasons why people often leave: it’s such a small place. This means that you’re no more than a 15 minute walk (if you bump into friends along the way which you probably will) from one end of the town centre to the other. As a town centre it caters for all sorts of people, at daytime or night. Outside of the town centre there are so many things going on it’s just a case of finding what’s right for you. Or you can be a hermit.

Favourite place to eat out in Cardiff

Anywhere that isn’t my house, pretty much. Probably Wagamama, maybe.
“Ooh but it’s a chain.”
“Oooh but I don’t care.”

I don’t eat out that often and when I do it’s usually in the Rummer Tavern before a gig (despite their peas). I love their food but have no idea why.

Favourite shop in Cardiff

Well, I rarely shop. I never have any money, so pretty much the only shop I really go into is Spillers, if they’re REALLY lucky.

Favourite Cardiff venue

Clwb Ifor Bach. We’ve got some great venues in Cardiff with the likes of the Globe and Buffalo, but the gigs and nights out I’ve had at clwb are consistently great.

5. Best Cardiff memory (can be a gig or show or exhibition or anything you like)

Too many to mention. Actually, my friend Gareth drunkenly getting the members of Broken Social Scene to draw pictures of him in his passport instead of getting autographs will go with me to my grave.

Book/s you’re reading at the moment

Press Gang: 3. Checkmate

Yes, a book based on the kids ITV series. Following a conversation on Twitter (with someone I’ve only met for about 10 minutes) about the books/ series around 6 months ago, I got a message last week asking for my address. I had no idea what it was for but gave her my address as I occasionally like to live my life REALLY on the edge, and it came in the post yesterday with a really lovely note. Also, given that it’s essentially a book for kids, I’m kind of at roughly the right mental level.

Film/s you’ve recently seen and likes

I probably haven’t been to the cinema since Scott Pilgrim. I recently bought Submarine for some inspiration for an engagement shoot for friends and really liked it. I generally like Shane Meadows’ stuff, a bit of horror and some older classics… Singin’ in the Rain is the best film ever. North By Northwest, Blow Up, Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Bonnie and Clyde… er…… . My film degree is absolutely wasted on me though to be honest. No concentration for films – I always feel like I should be doing something.

Band/s you’re into atm

If I was asked this three years ago I could have reeled off countless names. Things have changed a lot for me since then and I’ve found myself so out of touch with music as a result. I always wondered at what point my parents stopped listening to new music and I think I’ve reached that point in the last couple of years, due to various circumstances. Having said that, the newer releases (as in bought in the last few months, not released last Monday) I’ve been enjoying recently include Howling Bells (The Loudest Engine), The Horrors (Skying) The Sons of Noel and Adrian (knots) , Evan Dando (The Hotel Sessions) and Neil Young (Live Cow Palace 1986) … that’s pretty much it I think.

Any projects you’re working on at the mo you want to big up…?

Got a music based photography one underway which will probably go live on a website in a couple of months, once momentum picks up with it, but I’m not saying any more as I want it to be associated with me and not some other copycat!

What camera do you use? Any favoured lenses for portrait photoshoots like the We Are Cardiff shoots?

Canon EOS 5D mk2 and a Canon EOS 7D. I don’t necessarily have a favourite lens for the shoots as all the portraits are different, so what is suitable for one story isn’t suitable for another. Generally I probably use a 50mm or 24-70 most, but If I get the chance I’ll get my 100mm out because it’s lovely.

Your favourite We Are Cardiff photoshoot

They’ve all been really good to do for one reason or another and it’s nice getting to find so much out about people while doing a shoot. The shoot with Zoe Howerska earlier this year was great for that reason, with the added bonus of an amazing dog!

Thanks Simon! Simon Ayre online: flickr / twitter

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