Photographer Ben Blyth’s new project focuses on rough sleepers in Cardiff. We asked him to share his photographs and the story of the project here with us.
The project first came about when I was walking through Cardiff city centre at night and stopped to talk to a man who appeared to be sleeping rough. After speaking to him for a good 20 minutes, I had learnt so much about the harsh lifestyle the streets can offer, but I also learnt a lot about the other side, how the streets can make you a better person. I was intrigued to find out more and when I was set a project to produce a 10 photo story by my university lecturer, I knew that the two would work hand in hand. I decided to approach the project with the attitude to just carry my camera with me whenever I went out and see what stories I could uncover, this method seemed to work well.
The people I have spoken to that live on the streets are, genuinely, some of the most interesting people I have ever met. Being able to sit down next to them and see their view of Cardiff, especially at night has been truly moving.
The hardest thing about the project by far is walking away. Knowing that I’m going back to a warm room with food and water is a challenge in itself. I feel like I could sit there and talk to the subjects of my photos for hours, they really are that interesting.
Having never started a project like this before I was a little nervous, I didn’t know how people would react to having a camera placed just a few feet away from them in the middle of the night. However, as soon as I’d introduced myself to the first person I photographed I knew that the project would be more than just a set of photographs, it would be a heartwarming story. Since taking the photographs I have seen life a little different, I’ve appreciated things more and learnt that everyone has a story to tell, no matter what walk of life they come from.
More about me – I am a first year Photojournalism student at the University Of South Wales in Cardiff and enjoy taking portraits, shooting sports and many other types of photography. In my time before university I lived in Newark On Trent and worked as the official photographer for Notts County Ladies FC and also worked with the regional paper The Nottingham Post. I enjoy living in Cardiff with all the opportunities it offers both socially and photographically, I feel I’ve really made vast improvements in my photojournalistic work whilst studying here. I enjoy working with people, especially finding hidden stories and I aim to produce work that conveys those stories through the power of images.
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