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Finding Beauty In Blotto: Drunken Portraits Of Cardiff After Dark

Maciej Dakowicz’s new photo book casts an intimately voyeuristic eye on the late-night life of hard partiers.

For the hard-partying set, the details of the journey between a club’s last call and stumbling to bed is often lost in drink-addled haze. Which is probably for the best. The finely primped versions of guys and gals heading out for a night on the town become mangled messes by the end of it all. Thankfully, no one’s watching (or will remember in the morning). Or are they?

Rather than turn a blind eye to the binge-drinking culture that turns the streets of Cardiff, Wales (and much of Britain) into a veritable circus on Saturday nights, photographer Maciej Dakowicz decided to document the activity in all it’s gory, carnal, debauched and midnight-munchies glory.

This work is now featured in Dakowicz’s newly released book Cardiff After Dark. The power of Dakowicz’s photos is in how stripped bare his subjects seem. They’re passed out amid trash, copping a feel in the middle of the street, vomiting, in costume, or bloodied from some unseen fight moments before. Yet they convey sharp emotion and are often quite beautiful.

As Dakowicz notes in the intro to his book, the project started as a bit of a lark, shooting after going out with his friends. Soon, his focus became more serious and the series began to take shape. He credits the Canon 5D for the intimate quality of his images, which allowed him to capture the moment with available light. His previous cameras required flash, which drew attention to his activities, often resulting in the universal drunk pose. With available light, Dakowicz could become an observer and have little influence over the scene.

Still, the camera slung over his shoulder would often draw attention (as would his sobriety, one presumes) and Dakowicz admits he was often engaged by revelers. Some would ask questions, others would exact their veto powers over his digital images. And if things got hairier than desired, thankfully there was always a police officer nearby to oversee Cardiff’s regular public display of intoxication.

See some of his glorious drunks in the slide show above.

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