Friday, 31 December 2010


This post is a tad late. So apologies if you have been waiting around anticipating the third chapter in my three shots in a week post!!
I have to admit that right now I am awe struck at the pattern of events that have conspired to become this moment, when so many forces have pulled together to catapult my mind and my leaving Dublin project of into a higher dimension. Allow me to explain.

Aoife O Donnell is 'leaving Dublin', she is off to New York.A graduate of the D.I.T. photography school on Meeting house square,she shares with me a passion for photography and many happy memories of time spent on this square and in its environs.Aoife said "
I am leaving Ireland primarily for personal adventure but also to further my career in photography. I plan to take up a
photography related internship in New York City for a minimum of 14 months with a view to extending my stay or to then travel the world. Having lived in Chicago for a period in 2008 I found considerably more opportunity to train and work in photography than in Ireland. As a recent graduate I now have the opportunity to obtain a working visa for The States so I plan to return there in January 2011.It has been an ambition of mine to live for an extended period in New York since I was 15 and this potentially could be my one and only chance to do so."
She spent 3of the last 4 years here in the D.I.T. building ,In talking with her last night I realised that I had been associated with the Photographic archive ( the building at her back)for the last 12 to 13 years.
It is a sad truth that the three of us (Aoife,the archive,and I),are all leaving our pasts behind us in this Square and Moving on!

The Square was set up as a result of enlightened policy to pull film, art, and photography institutions together in one place and to allow them to synergise for the benefit of all involved in these complementary disciplins.On the square was The ark,the Gallery of Photography,the Irish Film Institute and cinemas,The National Film Archive,The National Photographic Archive,The Gaiety School of Acting,and The School.Close by there was a music venue (now called the button factory),Film base,Temple bar Galleries and Studios,And the Project Arts centre.
As far as photography is concerned I think the synergies kicked in last year when recent graduates of the D.I.T school and others,united all the strands of involvement in Photography and set up the
Photoireland festival.What a blast that was.It showed how Ireland was now ready to take its place and stand shoulder to shoulder with the rich photographic cultures that exist in Europe, the Americas,and the rest of the world.
Sadly the Photographic Archive for whatever reasons has chosen to retreat to its early nineties position and become once more
The photographic collections of the National Library of Ireland.
This Quiet retreat is reflected in the libraries website were all traces of the previous National Photographic Archive have been removed to be replaced by this Introduction to the photographic collections.
I am deeply saddened personally,and see this as a backward step culturally for Ireland in a European and worldwide context.The exhibition space remains open for the moment but soon enough the square could start to fragment with its loss.
However I suppose it is the reduction in work volumes in the last few years that has me chasing personal projects, so for this I suppose I will be eternally grateful.
Back to the images above!The reason we are here.
Aoife as I said earlier is off to New York,and was interested to make a story around my project.They saw it as a fresh way of showing the return of the age old Irish tradition of emigration,and they were also interested in talking to someone who was moving to the U.S.A.
So up to this point my project was free flowing governed only by its participants with no outside agencies timetabling shoots.
However once we had Arranged to hook up with C.B.S. a date was set for them to interview,Aoife,myself,and to record the goings on at a shoot.
The shoot was set up for friday dec 17th,and low and behold the polar express was being projected on the squares screens that night for an eager christmas audience.
It would have been cutting it to tight to wait till after the square was put back in order after the show so we decided to move the shoot to another part of temple bar(Essex street)
This proved to be crazy busy (as you may see when the video piece is aired later next week),
and as a result I was not totally satisfied with the result.
In consult with Aoife we decided to have a second go,but at the original site chosen by Aoife on meeting house square.
After looking at the final images I realised that the first shot is totally fine,and my dissatisfaction was actually caused by not making the shot at a site so sacred to me,And indeed to Aoife.
We both indeed have lived a lot of our life in this unique square,and now it is a part of my own portrait of a city left behind, and part of Aoife's past.
So many strands coming together at one time have left me a little phased,but on we go propelled by synergy!!
Thank you If you have managed to stay with this post from the start,its a long one!
Please let me know which image works best for you,via the comments box!
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Brian Daly,Artur Sikora,and James Lillis,covered the Essex street shoot.
Whilst Artur Sikora,and Hugh Mc Cabe,handled the rather slow,(due to a crappy mac issue), meeting house square shoot.Big thanks again to them!! And to Dan And Tanya at the Gallery of photography for enabling me to light up!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Having finished our shoot at the Guiness plant,myself,Artur,Gemma,and Agnes (CBS Wonderproducer)
All jumped into my car,and we headed to our next assignment.
East wall was our next destination and we were off to meet a friend of Gemmas who was Emigrating to New York.
Fiona O Keefe is a fine art graduate heading to the U.S. She is disillusioned with the lack of jobs available to her in Ireland within her field of study,and she is hoping to work in Gallery administration in New York.
She is a great talker and she chatted with me,Agnes ,and Gemma as we prepared to shoot.
She was talking to Gemma about this project and my heart just soared to hear one positive comment after another.
Had I mentioned in the last post that it was a cold night! aahemm! o.k.
Well the effect of the cold on my laptop had left me without an essential part of the kit.
In fact the battery charge had dropped off from fifty% to zero in minutes leaving me shooting direct to camera with only the nasty little preview on the back to check focus.
I have said here before that the quality of the files from the hasselblad h series camera are tops.
But its Auto focus system leaves a lot to be desired,so I like my full screen preview and a 100% magnification to check focus.This was denied to me and I had to feel my way around this one in a different way!!
East wall has been home to Fiona for some years and She liked the way the the old and the new fell together in this composition. Artur and Gemma were great here as always and we only drew the attention of one passer by who strangely wanted to know had somebody been shot!!
Well in fact somebody had,but in the nicest possible way!!
Big thanks for all the positive comments for the last post please keep them coming,it helps keep the ship straight.
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Thanks to all for sharing this content with there friends,and if you know of any one preparing to fly,please direct them to my work.
thanks again

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Wow Its still bitterly cold in Dublin and Iv'e been out working in it a couple of times this week.
The project gets stronger and stronger as more types of people come forward for inclusion.I met Anna Vareil at a class I give at the gallery of photography and when she told me she was leaving Dublin
I showed her my project and she was more than impressed . Quickly we found a location and we got on with it.I was anxious to shoot a lot this week as my project was singled out byCBS news as a story worth covering.From their perspective emigration stories where old news but infused with the magic of beautiful photographic imagery those same stories become little nuggets of light lighting up the night sky of a very very cold,but interesting nation.
They wanted to film me shooting a shot so I arranged three shots over 2 nights just incase anything went amiss.More about this in our next few posts!!
We shot on Rainsfort street dublin(thats the Guiness hop store in the background),Aplace chosen by Anna Vareil
as deeply significant in her stay in Dublin.Anna spent over 5 years in dublin and worked as a credit controller with Deloitte and Touche is returning home to Bordeaux for christmas before moving to Africa to work with medecins sans frontieres
here is what she had to say
"Am I sad to leave Ireland? I would say yes, I will miss the irish people, their laugh, sense of humor and the way they know how to enjoy life. They have something authentic and true, the nicest people I have ever met!
I think that once you have been in Ireland for several years, ireland gets into u and I know that I feel now a bit Irish. I will always carry a bit of Ireland with me wherever I go! I have fantastic memories here in Dublin, I have met great personalities, and I will definitely miss my friends and the evenings at the pub!!! .
for this shot Artur Sikora and Gemma Geraghty looked after lighting quite fantastically
and Agnes Reau caught it all on video for CBS
thankyou for all the positive feedback to date.
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Saturday, 11 December 2010


Its been a very strange week or two.Ice and snow covered dublin and our great dictator continued dictating as if his tenure was assured no matter who he alienated.
On Tuesday we had a budget and I was delighted to be busy for the day.
The other Brian was on his feet at 3.45, I was finishing preparations for a class I was to give at 6 o clock.
All went well and afterward I drove direct to grand canal dock ,waited in the cold and was joined first by Artur,then Brian Daly.Gemma then arrived with Martina a friend and the subject of the nights shoot.
When Hugh Arrived we set off across the canal and got on with our business of the day.
Celebrating the greatness of another leaving this city.
I Missed it all,Lost in the glory of photography for hours!!
Here is what Martina had to say
"I'm returning back home, to the north-east of Italy, and I've lived in Dublin for the last 6 months. I worked in an art gallery and I fell in love with Dublin again.
I first came here in 1999 for a holiday and I always wanted to return and live here for a while. After such a long time (more than 10 years) I made it happened and it's been the realisation of a dream.
I could say that my favourite thing here are the people.
Irish people are unbelievably warm when you have the opportunity to know them.
I had a great time here and I feel grown as a person and ready for new experiences like this one. Believe me or not, I'm really going to miss this city and the last 6 months spent trying to be a dubliner...this city really suited me."

The one thing that sustains me through this very difficult fabrication in which we now live is the work that I do for my love of people and their spirit.The vast majority of people here in ireland are trapped in a shrinking world whilst those who choose to leave slip into a bigger space filled with hope and expectation for a good life ahead.
I wish them all success and thank them all for pausing a while with me,someone who wishes to celebrate their brilliance as they move on to greater things.
Now lets commit this entire cabinet to history.
Comments appreciated!!
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thanks to all

Saturday, 20 November 2010


There is a larger version of the video available on my public folder just click here and hit the file and download buttons to receive, put it on your iphones, ipads or email it to friends you know who may be leaving. The soundtrack is by Charlotte Gainsbourg and although my participants my not be journeying to the centre of the light suggested by her lyric, there are some interesting travelling images and suggestion of launching off into the unknown.

I have to say I am absolutely delighted to have got this far with the leaving dublin project, but there is still a long way to go to capture the true breadth of the change in the dynamic of our population caused by this shift to being a net exporter of people. So far I have met with a fantastic group of people covering a very broad section of our society with different hopes, needs and aspirations. Some making a necessitous change others following their hearts desire for adventure and new experiences.
During the course of making this piece I have experienced nothing but good vibes from all around especially the general public who's space we have always occupied whilst making this work. There was the helpful and cheery roadie at the rear of Whelans on Liberty Lane, the free coffees and use of space at the Bistro on Casltle Market, to the curious security guard in the G.P.O. and of course the curious Garda detectives at St Michaels Estate, to name but a few!! Indeed we have been from pillar to post location wise as we have moved from deep city to suburbia to the coast and back again. The project is indeed becoming a portrait of a city and those that the city has chosen to do without.

But looking at the faces of all of the participants they carry their confidence to new cities with a steadiness of spirit which has impressed me greatly. It has been a pleasure for me with the aid of Artur, Brian, Hugh and Gemma to provide these participants and the nation they leave behind with a visual record of their greatness as they prepare to meet new challenges up ahead. I suppose one could say to an extent they are lucky to escape this place especially considering the sad state of affairs we are experiencing at present. And indeed it even looks like the legacy Bertie Ahern had written for himself (peace process hero) is about to be denied him by the Irish peoples final realisation that our Government through these 13 years has become totally deluded and incapable of leading.  Any good achieved through this time is about to evaporate as we give up our sovereignty to the E.C.B. and I.M.F. liquidity fund!! To those in Ireland,  I say write to your FF T.D. and ask them to resign!!! help them see they are not wanted anymore.Tell them to go away! Be done with them!!!!


All that to one side I have a little project to get on with here and the reason for this post is to present you with the work done so far and look for a pat on the back, but a slightly different pat on the back.
What I want you to do is to become active for me in spreading this post via your own contacts,(social netwoking,fb and twitter etc,)  Indeed by seeking out the most important element in this project
INHABITANTS OF DUBLIN WHO ARE LEAVING. It is my wish to take the number of shots up to 70 or there about and that will take a good bit of research. But this process can be greatly aided by you working on my behalf and I do promise full recognition of all help received. So please point those you know as people on the move to my blog and viewbook page, encourage them to email me if they like what they see and they too can become part of this historical documentation process!!
A clear picture by picture overview of the project is available at my viewbook page right here.
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thank you
David Monahan

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Storms were forecast on Saturday last as I made final preparations for another leaving dublin shot. I had taken calls from Gemma, one of the crew and from my subject Catherine Flynn who were both wondering if it was safe to proceed if rain was to disrupt the evening.
For some reason I was filled with optimism about the weather and felt all would be ok. Thats just how it turned out!
Not so the case with our little Nation as the two
Brian's (helped by a whole load of Mary's) feel hellbent on returning this little country of ours to the peripheral position it once held on the edge of europe. It looks like our faith in the European project to deliver us freedom from hard times is about to be dashed, and Ireland not long free is at danger of being classified once more a colony, but with a new master!!
Its no wonder so many are leaving, and I feel the best chances lie with those who are tripping outside the Eurozone. Such a person is Catherine Flynn, she has just left for London (home of sterling) and I wish her well.
We had a great shoot on B
aggott Street Bridge, just after eight on Saturday night.
Here is what she had to say
I’m originally from Co. Meath, living in Dublin since college (about 13 years

I’m probably in a lucky position as I didn’t ‘have’ to leave Dublin. I’m mainly leaving for career reasons and for a chance to experience living in a completely new city. After ten years working and living in Dublin, I felt I wanted to shake things up and challenge myself more – the industry I work in is small and while I’ve gained some great experience, I want to keep developing and learn from the best in the business internationally, not just locally. I’d been thinking about making the move abroad since earlier this year but it all happened kind of quickly in the end – during the summer I applied for a job with an agency in the UK that I had admired for a long time and was lucky enough to get it – so the move over the water then had to be made!
My new job is Account Director at We Are Social who are a ‘conversation agency’ specializing in social media communication, which has long been a huge interest of mine.
I was with the advertising agency Rothco in Dublin for 6 years. I started off as an Account Manager, spent a few years as an Account Director on some big advertising accounts such as AIB, and then was head of their digital team for about a year and a half till I left last month.My office for the past 2 years was based just off Baggot St and one of the things I'll miss is my daily hops over Baggot St bridge for my morning coffee from Coffee 2 Go, which still hasn't been beaten by any of Soho's many coffee shops.
I have mixed feelings about leaving Dublin and in many ways I’m a little in denial about the fact that I’m ‘emigrating’ or have left at all (even though I now officially live and work in London!). I loved living in Dublin – I had a great life and circle of friends there, so London versus more far flung places was preferable for me so that I would relatively easily be able to visit friends and family at weekends. I also met my boyfriend not long before the London opportunity came up for me, so it made what would otherwise have been a really easy decision a little bit more difficult. Thankfully he’s been great about it so there will be pretty frequent trips home for me – and also someone to explore a new city with when he comes to visit me here. Overall, I’m really excited about London and really enjoying life here so far (a whole 2 weeks in)… I guess I have the best of both places now. So long may that continue."
So there we are, a story we have heard before here at the Lilliputian the Irish seeking adventure and challenges abroad. I wish Catherine good fortune in all that she does in London, and thank her for getting in touch after seeing this blog 2 weeks ago.
Big thanks to Gemma Geraghty, Artur Sikora and Hugh Mc Cabe who were on hand to make it all happen.
If you are on your way out of town please drop me a line via email.
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Sunday, 24 October 2010


You may remember in a previous post I alluded to the fact that I was a very capable printer of all photographic and high end artistic projects. Recently I have been involved in 2 projects which have and will be the subject of much media coverage. So, I just wanted to get this off my chest and state it for the record that I did all of the printing for the current show in the National Photographic Archive in Meeting House Square Dublin and about 40 prints for the 20th anniversary show in IMMA also in Dublin

The show in the National Photo Archive is called Power and Privilege and documents the central position held by the big house in irish society from the early days of photography right up to the withdrawal of the British state from the 26 counties that now form the Republic of Ireland(1858-1922).
It is a fascinating collection of images and its power is greatly helped by the presentation.
During the preparation of the exhibition I worked very closely with the curatorial team in making key decisions about sizing, paper type and the means of production. Most of the work came straight from glass negatives and was processed by photographing the plate on a lightbox with the Amazing Hasselblad h3d 50 and the totally sharp Hasselblad H Series HC Macro 120mm f/4. The work was then optimised by pulling it through phocus (hasselblads capture software) then into photoshop for batch inversion from negative to positive, then into lightroom for fine tuning and on into silver fx pro for final adjustments and toning.

This all sounds fairly straight forward but there is one extra ingredient in the mix that some misguided individuals don't value too much these days! And that is the human touch of deep experience.You can't come to photo processing from a standing start and get it right just because you have the right gear, and the tools are only of real value to those who know and understand their true depth. I have worked with glass plates for some 14 years and I know what I am looking at and this has been a major contribution to the look and success of this show (but it is actually invisible and this is how it should be). If you want to see good reproductions from glass plates and small original prints this show is a must.

The Moderns is a huge undertaking by the Staff and Friends of IMMA at Kilmainham and draws from the core collections of IMMA but includes works from other collections like the National Museum, National Library and the Hugh Lane Gallery. Again I was delighted to be asked to shoot and print the works from the National Photographic Archive and some works from the archives of Dublin's various architectural practices. If you are considering hiring me to do your printing, the works in IMMA that I have printed are the following: Six photographs shot by Elinor Wiltshire, four by Fergus Bourke and five prints from the Roger Casement collection. Also in the design section I made some 25 prints from various architects back catalogue these include shots of RTE, Busaras, Ard Na Crusha. etc.

Bye the bye if you are into original vintage photographic prints there is a real treat for you in the Gallery of photography also on meeting house square.
The collectors Eye is an amazing exhibition which give great insight into one mans quest for the greatest
photographs of Irish interest and beyond.Sean Sexton(the collector in question) is a man with great passion for all the emotions a photograph can convey,I met him one night in the gallery a few nights before the opening,and I was blown away by his huge aura and enthusiasm for all things photographic.
It should be up for 3 more weeks or so,so don't miss it.

So to finish this post and get to the point,I am still trying to pull together a type 55 exhibition for next summer.See some of my here
I had a good response to an appeal for contributors but I am still waiting for work from all but one of those who showed an interest.
The Idea is to marry my skill in scanning and printing to put together a memorable show of the finest photographs in this medium,representing Ireland ,Europe and the U.S.A.All in homage to this fine and now,never to be revived films.Probably one of the best tools for expression in black and white photography
I am hoping this post will jog some memories or indeed catch some users of this film's attention and send them my way.
There is no structure or theme to this show save that of the beauty that exists within the frame of a sheet of type 55. If you feel you have some good examples of this please contact me at
I really want to get this post to a maximum amount of Artists using this medium so PLEASE,PLEASE
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Thank you!

Monday, 18 October 2010


Aside from those forced to leave Dublin in the recent months please bear a thought for those who have left in order to see another side to life. Only to find that things
have changed so much here since their departure that there would be no prospects of employment if they wished to return!
This weekend I met Trish O Gorman and Stephen Gill,A couple who left Ireland a year and a half ago,shortly after their wedding,to sample life in Sydney Australia.
It looks like they will be there for some time yet as things will not be good for a return home for some years to come.
Heres what Trish had to say about the experience,
"We had both spent time in Australia previously. I backpacked there for a year when I was 21 and Stephen had been there a couple of times to visit his brother who lives in Sydney. It's somewhere we both loved and we thought it would be nice to go and live somewhere new for a few years so Sydney was an easy choice!

I work in Public Relations and Stephen works for a Civil Engineering company

We left Dublin in January 2009 and have lived in Sydney since April 2009. We were happy to leave when we did as it was something we had planned. We do miss friends and family back home though. We've been back twice since we left and really enjoy visiting home again and spending time in Dublin catching up with old faces and places.We really love life in Sydney and the outdoorsy, fun and laid-back lifestyle that goes with it. That's not to say that Dublin isn't somewhere we'd consider living again in the future however as we both love the city. I had lived here for ten years before we left and could definitely see myself living here again."
thanks again to Artur Sikora and Hugh mc Cabe who lit up the night again and fought off the Stoneybatter foxes!!
Thanks to Jeannie Wenham for putting me in touch with Trish and Stephen.
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Friday, 15 October 2010


Before I start there are some thank you's I have got to say!!
Big thanks to Andy Jordan for being so kind to me with his video edit!
you can see his wall street journal online piece on Ireland here
Big thanks to Noreen Bowden of globalirish for putting my name out there
Big thanks to photoireland festival for the banner headline on their blog
Big thanks to Daniel Scully for connecting me with the people in IMMA last week (perfect timing)
Big thanks Johanne Mullan for taking time out in a very busy week to organise security clearance at IMMA for us.
Big thanks to Kim Haughton for putting Jonas my way.
And big thanks to Artur Sikora for shining the light so right!!

It was a pure delight to have to scout a location in the grounds of IMMA, at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Autumn was in the air and leaves and conkers were all around, the sun was low and every inch of the formal garden exuded beauty. So I made several shots thinking about the final composition and where my sitter Jonas Voss was going to sit within.
On my way back up from the garden I was drawn to a piece of limestone sculpture and noticed it position relative to a stairwell. Although very obvious and literal I saw this stairwell as a fitting route for the exit of the sitter after he had performed on the stage here in Dublin.
I shared this thought with Jonas and after reviewing my tests he agreed with me that it was the place to do this shot.
Jonas hails from Copenhagen capital city of Denmark, it was a pleasure meeting and working with him after our email banter!
He is moving to London one of the big destinations for departers of these shores. Google was his employer here and from the following I feel he is moving to the London office. So here is what he had to say..

"No one lives 5 years somewhere without getting it under your skin, and as you realize you are about to leave, you start noticing what you appreciate about the place, and the things you'll miss. I never planned on being here for 5 years, and initially arrived thinking I'd stay here for 11 months on a contract. My time here has always felt a bit temporary because of that I guess.

I'm moving to London, which is great, but I'll miss the compact nature of Dublin. Everything is around the corner here, which I really like. I'll also miss the laid back attitude, the optimism, and the friendliness of the citizens of Dublin, they certainly made my 5 years here worth it.

I've really enjoyed the musical and cultural scene in Dublin, I've never been to so many, and such diverse concerts in my life, and seen artists that would never come through Copenhagen, so that has been a treat.

I'm happy to call Dublin a place I know, and can feel comfortable in.

I'll be working in technical operations in sales, sort of a minor geek role you could call it.
I've always enjoyed coming to IMMA, I think it's a great exhibition space in the city, and not least for the garden outside. Few museums has great outdoor areas where you can sit before you take in the art inside, or where you can have a sit afterwards, and digest the impressions, while looking at symmetry of the place. The place has a certain tranquilizing effect on me".

As mentioned above Artur Sikora iluminated proceedings and Kim Haughton caught it all on camera!!
Once more I say Big thanks to all (especially all who have read till the end)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Oscar makes the arrangements by phone!

To start I have to say sorry to Jana Andrew,and especially to Oscar.
When I left them last tuesday night I told them I would be editing the next morning as I was expecting a call re work later that day!
Well I started to edit and the phone rang at about  eleven o'clock and i haven't had a minute to myself till now
Could this be the start of the recovery we have all being waiting for?
I don't think so,but its great to be busy again if only for a little while!
So its late sunday night/monday morning and I am delighted to say this edit has worked out well 
and shows Andrew Wilson, Jana Vourgourakis,and Oscar wilson,all of who are leaving any day now to return to Los Angeles.
For the adults of this party its a return home but for little Oscar its a trip into the unknown.
 Living in Dublin has been his longest stay in any city  so far,so Los angeles is going to have to show him parks at least as good as St Stephens green and the Ivy gardens,(both just across the road from where they have lived for the last year).
Jana picked Camden lane as the set for this shot as she enjoyed playing here with Oscar on their way to and from town.That said it has a different feel to it at night as it is right beside a couple of nightlubs and a large bar
Although they knew on arrival that they would be only here for 1 year both Jana and Andrew really enjoyed living and working in Dublin and are sad to leave it.
I wish them the best of luck back home and hope that their life journey takes them back here again so as Dublin can benefit once more from their company!!
Brian Daly,Artur Sikora,and Hugh McCabe lit up the night,whilst several happy dubliners passed us by on their way here and there!! 
Remember for the purely visual you can trip over to my viewbook portfolio site where I have a page dedicated to this project (among others)
Thanks for stopping by and please comment and share this page via the sociable buttons on the right!!

Friday, 8 October 2010


If you have stopped here before you may remember I was interviewed by a roving american reporter by the name of Andy Jordan.
Andy works for the Wall Street Journal online edition,and recently he took a tour of Europe to make a series of short films about the current European economic depression.
Last week he published the firs of these reports, a piece on Spain online click here to see it.
In the course of our interview we talked about my current leaving dublin project and how it relates to the current economic situation.Whilst here he also talked to trinity college economists the minister for finance,and amongst others, one of my portrait subject Bernard Tyeres.
After this experience my hopes are manifold.They are as follows
1 I make it past the first edit.
2.I did not misrepresent myself as a result of nerves
3.My images are used to illustrate the piece.and
4. my work receives a boost in traffic and this results in benefits including new work!!

 In preparation for this I have put together a view book site.
Its meant to be an online portfolio and I am hoping to use it as a bounce along with this blog.
The aim I suppose is to give readers a little bit more depth, and a way for me to show the purely visual side to work without all the text that comes with the here or on the main title above to access the site and enjoy.The shot above is featured on the site in a gallery called type 55.
Myself Artur,Brian,and Hugh were out on the street again last tuesday,but editing is slow due to work load.
I hope to post the final image over the weekend.
please comment on the site and let me know if there are weaknesses and /or strenghts
OH it all helps!! believe me!
thanks david

Friday, 1 October 2010


There is no doubt about it this country definitely shut down over two years ago.
Most in business believed it was a short term thing and all would be good again pretty soon.
But hey you and me, the guys trying to make it on a weekly basis, the fellow operating without a salary,
we know more than the average Bank or state employee about the real state of the economy.
For the moment its peaks and troughs all the time(or as the Dude put it gutters and strikes).
You just dont know what any given week is going to throw at you.
When the building boom finally stopped Lynn Murphy found herself out of work and moved to Australia.
She has been there for 18 months now and has found a life.
She returned to Dublin some weeks ago for a friends wedding and she found herself reflecting on the past life she had here.
Here is what she had to say
"I was home for a wedding of a good friend from school, the visit was long overdue. It has been an odd few weeks being back, cathartic in some ways as I was able to see for myself everything that is going on - as opposed to just hearing about the tales of horror from friends and family and the papers. In other ways though it has renewed my love for my home city - its beauty, the friendliness of the people, how they keep on kicking never losing their sense of humour despite all the doom and gloom. The visit has also been good as it has confirmed for me that I know I made the right decision in leaving. The experiences I have had since I left have for the most part only been positive - travel broadening the mind and all that malarkey. I know how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful place as Sydney. And as I said the other night being away has made me appreciate what I have at home - great friends and a wonderful family. No matter where I live, Dublin will always be my home.

I was working for the interior design store Haus in Temple Bar, it came to an end as it was just no longer possible to keep trading once the market went dead. Now, in Oz, I'm working for a similar company that carries alot of the same product but operates on a much bigger scale and the experience to date has only been positive. Professionally it has been fantastic to see variations between different consumer markets - how companies treat the same product so very differently."

She misses Dublin dearly! a feeling I believe that is shared by all the others I have photographed so far.
There is one and only one common thing that holds all of these people together and that is given the opportunity,and circumstances being right to provide them with what they needed,they would all willingly stay in this our great little town,Dublin.
It has always been my intention to show our city as a central part of this project ,and so far I think this has been the case and long may it continue.
I wish the best to Lynn in the future and I really hope she makes it back to Dublin if that is where she needs to be.But for the meantime Sydney beckons,and by now she has most likely left,and that could,but for the odd wedding,be for good!!
Artur Sikora,and Gemma Geraghty helped to reveal the beauty of Dun Laoighre harbour ,Its beauty like this that will hold us together.
It hurts me to think of Sean Fitzpatricks hidden €100 million loans,and how this and all the other hidden black business has left the ordinary citizen of Ireland Paying and Paralyzed unable to eject those clinging to the charred reigns of power.But Hey we have got to realise that some day maybe soon the dominoes will start to topple in our own Dáil and Ironically it might be someone like Michael Lowry who leads the revolt.
Big thanks again to Lynn and to Louise o Connor for alerting her to this project.Please keep looking and alerting friends on the move to this project I really want it to get BIG.
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Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Slowly but surely this blog is drawing people in,people from all over the world.
The reason for this seems to be recommendation.
So I would ask you now at the top of this post,if you like what you see please use the sociable tab
to tweet or share this url on facebook or any other services.
Today I had one hundred referrals out of nowhere after someone from RTE tweeted this url.
On Saturday last I was visited by wall street journal (online) video journalist
who is touring europe making a series of reports about the economic recession.
He had been referred to my blog by the good people over at
although his motive was to find and interview a person in mortgage difficulty he spent over an hour filming an interview with me about my leaving dublin project and the people I had met in the last 7 months.
SO heres hoping I make it through the edit,and if I do I am visually well presented!

Last sunday I had the pleasure of making work in the centre of town with with a young Chinese lady
who is about to leave this country.
She was a close neighbor of mine and I watched her mother tend to her baby daughter in the local park or near to her house.
Her name is Ruochon Guan And she is returning to China after 9 years in Dublin.
Her young child who is a year and a half old moved back ahead of her last april with her grandmother.
Needles to say she can't wait to hold her again,and although she will miss Dublin town nothing will take from the joy of this reunion.
We wish her a happy flight and it was Indeed a pleasure working with this gentle person.
Hugh,and Artur lit up the scene whilst Gemma Geraghty filled with a little metz.
Big thanks to you all and a special thanks to Ruochon Guan
I have 3 shots lined up for the next 2 weeks so it looks like this project is heating up.
Its really holding my interest and I hope its working for all of you.
last week I also contacted by Email those photographers who expressed an interest in my type 55 polaroid project so watch this space for further developments.
Please comment as it will help shape my destiny!!(and content)

Friday, 17 September 2010


Wow,what a busy week that was.
There is no doubt that most of the population wished they where leaving Dublin this week
after the babblings of our Taoiseach.
What a guy!!
but he wont go away without a big sloppy fight,thats for sure!!
For me it was 4 trips to the 40 foot in Sandycove, Dublin,to case the scene for our latest caper.
Leaving us was Bernard Tyeres, A telecoms expert on his way to better things in London.
Let us wish him well!
this is some of what he had to say about leaving Dublin.

"I'll miss the good things about
Dublin (tasty Guinness, rashers, sausages, the 40ft Foot), but it's time to
experience some more of the world.
There are plenty of things I won't miss, but overtime I'm sure I'll forget them.
I'll be sad to be moving a little further away from my family, but in the world of
modern communications, I will probably be closer in some ways. And London
is only 50 minutes on a plane.

For me I have always had a love/hate relationship
with Dublin. When I wasn't here, I enjoyed coming back, when I was here, I
always enjoyed leaving.
Dublin has changed immensely in the past 11 years, in some ways good,
(walk down Grafton street and listen to the languages spoken, more cultural
differences, a change in mentality),and alot of ways bad (ridiculous property
developments, the whole Celtic tiger “I deserve it” mentality, living on credit,
terrible wastage of public monies, politicians continuing with the small-minded
attitudes), but it still has along way to go."

The 40 ft is surely one of the most magical locations used so far on this project.
The constant stream of air craft on flight path to dublin airport,
the ferries arriving and departing,
the bailey lighthouse flashing you every minute,
all of these things are screamiing for your attention,
but very quickly you are absorbed into the the environment and you loose your self in the beauty of this ancient secluded bathing place.
Whilst there I met fellow photographer Barry Delaney see his work here
Artur,and Brian again played a stormer,with Louise Roden coming along out of curiosity!
Don Sheehan helped put the final part of this work together.
To all of them, Bernard included, I am very grateful.
Big thanks Again to Noreen Bowden of Global Irish who has helped to shine a light on this blog and especially the Leaving Dublin project.
Thanks also to Darragh Shanahan for the lead on this one.
And Finally, lets hope Mr Cowan finds his way home!!
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Sunday, 12 September 2010


Some time ago I alluded to a technical problem I was having re data storage and archiving.
Discs break down,they go faulty,you have to pay data recovery guys a small fortune to recover your stuff.
but all is not lost when its lost!!
Number one there is data rescue thats good for starters!!
Then there is a hard drive docking station,an invaluable device which allows you to mount an internal hard disk as an external device.
If you are buying an external drive please buy a unit which has a single drive inside.
If this goes faulty its most likely going to be the interface thats fried ,so you can break the case open and pop it into your docking station.
If its a unit with more than one drive
your fried electronics are the glue that holds this together as one device on your desktop and you cant
recover the drive unless you buy the same controller circuit(messy)
Raids,multiple disc arrays,are all the rage right now but with the advent of solid state drives we will all be changing our storage over in the next few years.
So right now we need a cheap and safe way of storing our data until the time comes to migrate it to the next standard.
my solution is the following.

Use Adobe lightroom as your file management system.

Store your files in one location on your home computer(a second internal 1tb or 500gb disc)

As a further backup plan you could also use a program such as disk tracker to record the contents of your disks for lightroom independent search purposes.

When the disk is full remove it from your machine.

clone the removed disc using a device such as the Integral copy station box it and label it and place it on a shelf.(Storing the copy in a safe location)

Install a fresh empty disk Name it and start over again following the same process.

If you need to revisit your archive to access a file Lightroom will tell you what disk the the file is on.
you then simply mount that disc in your desktop dock and hey presto you have access!!

With a1tb drive costing something like €60 this form of data archiving is pretty cheap relative to external raid devices,or other Archiving methods like the drobo or gtech gspeed.

To soften the blow of this techie posting I have included a beautiful picture from 1996 shot in a Dublin national school.
Its a shot of a simpler time when all photographic images could be put in a little sleeve and housed in a book.Again it shows the bravery of children when confronted with the unknown(in this case me!!)
It was shot on film,neopan 400 rated at 800 and processed in microphen.
the camera was a mamiya RZ using a wide angle lens(me and the subject were at fairly close quarters)
oh happier simpler days!!

To all my friends wishing to join me in the type 55 project now is the time to make your choices of images and to mail me your low res versions so I can see if we have a show(my gut feeling is we will have two!!)
get me at for this!!

I am back on the streets of Dublin next week for another Leaving dublin shot, so lets go!!
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Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Some days life throws you a ball and you have to run with it.
Up till now most of the "leaving Dublin" process has taken at least a week to a week and a half to get together. The final work really benefits from the process of planning and consultation with the sitter.
last weekend however,I picked up a lead form the Gallery of photography facebook page and followed it on to find that the persons involved where away for the weekend and leaving for Australia(via south Africa) two days after they returned to dublin.
So thanks to mobile phone email and facebook contact I was able to chat to Rae about location,
scout it on sat,post pics on monday,and make a decision that nigh on a location.
Last evening We met for the first time at the Suir rd luas stop on the Grand Canal.
Rae Green and Her husband,Clay Crighten are heading back to clay's home town of Rockhampton Australia,stopping off at South Africa for 5 weeks along the way,for one last adventure.Then Its back to find a new home and try to build a quality life.The type that is difficult to carve out in a slowly stagnating Ireland at the moment!
Good luck and good fortune to you both It was a pleasure to work with you on your last assignment before the flight!!
Techniccally we took a slightly different tack than usual because of the location.
we used on snooted bowens light as our main light, a barn doored (improvised by Brian and Artur) pair of metz 45's from behind to give depth to the sitters(you gan see some higlights on clay's neck and Rae's cheek,they are subtle yet significant).
All this was combined with a shutter speed of 1 second to allow some burn in from the ambient lights.
then we added some small sharp details from a 10 second exposure for a little more depth.
After the final edit a bleach bypass filter set to 30% opacity was applied on a layer.SO THERE!!
As always Artur Sikora,and Brian daly took it all in their stride And Hugh Mc Cabe Arrived ahead of us to welcome Ray and Clay on set.

Monday, 23 August 2010


Summer 2010 is not quite over yet, but its end has been signaled to me!
On Saturday last I arrived home from France after a two and a half week visit I was totally relaxed after a wonderful stress free time.
With only one week of the childrens summer holidays remaining I have set my self the goal
of completing several housekeeping tasks to set myself up to go at it again with renewed vigour!
I finally came up with a plan for cost effective data back-up which I must now implement
(more about this on completion)
I Need to finally take down the Dadofoto website and replace it with a David Monahan one.
I must physically tidy up my workspace after a hectic july.
And once more slap some order on my life.

I am quite delighted how things went this summer and it looks like things will be better next year for all involved in this fragile province of the photographic world.
The photoIreland festival has pledged itself to educate the Irish to understand and appreciate,the role of photography in our society.
Personally I was heartened to see some great works during its early july schedule
and I feel they will help to elevate photography to a similar level of appreciation it receives in other countries.
For Me the highlights of the summer where as follows,
The fantastic home exhibition in North great Georges street.
The Healthy and stimulating debates and discussions around the photoireland festival.
The fact that I was hired by the photographic archive to print their next exhibition(launching next week).
Getting three shots done in july for the Leaving Dublin series
The success of two of Students I had the pleasure of working with this year.
two of them Jeanete Lowe and Tom Scott made it into the R.H.A. summer show.
And to cap it all Jeanette then goes and gets into the London National Portrait Galleries,Taylor wessing prize show. Well done to you both!!
The fantastic series shot by Matthew Thompson for ulster bank, dublin theatre festival,pure magic!!

All of the above have done a lot to renew and elevate my enthusiasm for photography
so thanks to you all!!

So,now that I am home I have completed my postcard site of holiday photography.
As an added treat for those interested I have included a chronologically sequenced set on another page to counter the random splash effect of the postcard site,click here to go there.
and please tell me which works best for you!

Thank you for taking a seat and reading this post.Incidentally the chair above is part of my summer gallery,I bought two of these pink formica topped beauties and a table for €10 at the amazing Emmaus community warehouse in St Brieuc

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Friday, 30 July 2010


Its been a really busy couple of weeks and I seem to be working longer hours than ever. But that all draws to an end soon, and I am really looking forward to travelling back to Bretagne to join up with Carole and my own Little Gráinne(who is actually getting bigger)
I had great photographic fun there in june and I hope to find the same form when I return.
The main reason for my busyness was I managed to secure a job to prepare and print the next exhibition for the national photo archive. Its all done and away at the framers right now so please if you are around Dublin from early august please drop in have a look.The exhibition is called 'Power and Privilege " and takes a revealing look in and around Irish stately homes.

I was very Privileged myself to make a second trip to the home of Conor mcMahon,a man on the move,so to speak.
In a few short days Conor is Packing up and moving to England.
He is going to work for a company that he has done consultancy work for in the past,but as consultancy work is drying up slightly here ,he has decided to take a salaried job,and go where the work is and so Surry is his destination.

I was suprised at first with Conors assertion that his back garden was his favourite place in Dublin and that is where he wished to be photograph.But after a long chat I fully understood that he was very proud of the fact that he had bought and renovated and cared for his own living space and he was really going to miss it most of all when he left.this is what he said specifically about his house" The house is my home and the store of all my effort this last few years. A place to get together with the lads to work on the tunes, or other times where I might draw, conceive new ideas for my next exhibition. It is also my home in this cul-de-sac neighbourhood where I have found myself very much part of the extended neighbourhood family that I became part of 7 years ago now."
May good luck go with you Conor and thank you for this challenge which forced us into a corner from which we had to come out fighting!!
Once more Artur,brian and Gemma made the job not so lonely as I fumbled for a few minutes with a dud set of batteries.All those cool heads saw us right in the end and we where ready to shoot by 11.00..
As I said at the start of this post its been a busy few weeks but its been great to have the space to organise and to shoot three amazing people in three very different locations.
Please comment on this posting and indeed on the print quality in the archives next presentation (if you are so moved to) It really helps.
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Saturday, 24 July 2010


Good things come to those who wait!
or so the saying goes!
Last monday night,I arrived at Heuston station just after dark.
Only to find it open with a train arriving at 11.45 from cork.
I had been down the previous sunday on a look see and it was closed so i assumed this was the deal every night(not so)
As it happened The station being opened did not effect the shoot in any way.
A little later I was joined by Artur and then Brian and we waited in the car for our co-conspirator Soraya Beyer.
On ariving in Ireland 2 years Ago Soraya(from Dresden,Germany)was put to work by her new employer in the Zumo smoothie bar in Heuston station,hence her affinity with the building.

When myself and Soraya reviewed the test shots from my look see we both settled on the portico
as a good location to make this glorious parting shot.
Unlike any other part of this very well known dublin building,It had a fresh comforting,unfamiliar appeal at this particular perspective.

Soraya had come to Dublin after completing her studies,
she craved a break from academic life.
She wished to discover somewhere new,find an uncomplicated job,something to fund her through a long break,a kind of holiday from her actual life.

I know when she looks back at this photo in years to come she will understand everything about the reality of her stay here and how it actually filled in the Gaps for her as she progressed from student to teacher.
Her reason to return to Germany came all of a sudden as she was offered a teaching post she understood would not come her way.

As always this shot was powered by a bowens flash head and battery pack,2 pocket wizards,and of course Brian Dalyand Artur Sikora

It has taken me till friday to make a space to edit this work,
but the wait was worthwhile!
thank you Soraya,and good luck with your recently renewed actual life!!
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Comments as always are welcomed and replied to!!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Tales from the promised land

Last monday night I have to admit I was on a bit of a high.After a week of the amazing photoIreland photofest It was a delight to move on to another phase. The act of making,
Rather than looking.
(that said I am really looking forward to photoireland 2011)
I met Jacinta sheerin last year when a freind asked me to do a publicity photoshoot for an upcoming play.
It turned out Jacinta had co-written and played one of the lead roles.The play waiting for ikea.was a fringe hit and subsequently had successful runs in 2 other dublin theaters.
The same friend on hearing of my project suggested I contact Jacinta again as she was planning to move to London.
This i did last friday she was in Galway till sunday,and moving on tuesday.
Loving the work already shot she agreed to make her self free to shoot monday night.
Now thats painting yourself into a corner!!

She mentioned some grafitti that spoke to her in volumes about social reality in Dublin
and so I went to check out her suggestion!
Saturday and sunday afternoon were spent dodging showers and checking out the angels to find the perfect perspective.
Pinned that down then drew up a plan.
As always Artur Sikora,and Brian Daly were on hand to light up the night,Gemma Geraghty was charged with keeping us all invisible(a job completed with a little help from the Gardaí)
On a technical front we definitely pushed the gear as far as it could go and there was a part of the building we could not light because the little pocket wizards could not do the distance and pass thru walls as well.
To allude to the process of this and all of the leaving dublin shoots to date I have included a little video piece made up of the layers as they where seen on the ground.Leaving dublin is a documentary piece and is shot at night on location,the scene tripodded the set lit with one flash head ,a little bit at a time!
I hope it serves to add to the understanding of this a complex work.
My warmest thanks again to all who have sat for me at this a very emotionally charged time of their lives.
please comment,oh it helps!!
also if curious you can click the title at the top of the page for details of the social redevelopment that has never happened!!

Friday, 9 July 2010


I was delighted this week to travel by bicycle around the city from venue to venue
feasting on the treasure that has been the PHOTOIRELAND FESTIVAL
Real thought has gone into the program and i have to say all the diverse elements which make up the photographic spectrum were catered for.
That i feel is the real achievement of this the First photoireland festival and for this we have to applaud the team who put it all together,Heres to inclusion,here is to the PHOTOIRELAND FESTIVAL.
On a Personal note I will be contributing to a talk on photoblogging tomorrow at the back loft La Cathedral hope to see some of you there.

ON the top of the page there is an Image shot last week in an arichchoke field betweem stPol de Leon,and Roscof,bretagne,france
The shot is part of a sequence i have been working on and just incase you missed it on the last post i have created another link to it here please click!
My mission is to attract some other users of this medium in order to stage a small exhibition in homage to this now lost film type!!

Leaving Ireland steams on and I have 2 shots to set up for the next few weeks,lets hope the rain holds off as i am painted into a corner on the first one. It can only be done monday night and the person ships out tuesday!!

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Some times life can throw really strange things your way.
For example yesterday i made the journey from Rennes ,France,back home to Dublin.
On landing at Rennes our Aircraft experienced a birdstrike
which led to a very long delay of 7 hours to our flight.
The main reason was that there was no one available locally to certify the plane fit to fly at Rennes airport.
The answer to this was to fly in another Aer lingus craft
with a technician on board to certify, if possible, or to fly the passengers home if not.
As it turned out all was good and the plane took off around 9.30
7 hours after the scheduled departure time.
The Irony of the the night was that in compensation for the delay we where offered free refreshments on the flight
and for some reason the only item available from the extensive menu of sandwich's was chicken and Stuffing!!
Bird strike number 2!!
An hour and twenty minutes later we arrived in Dublin
So we jumped into a taxi to make the journey home and we where delighted to make it back to fontenoy street in less than 15 minutes.
And now for the weird bit!!
After a couple minutes I entered the main room of the house which had been closed up for most of the previous 2 weeks but
checked on friday afternoon by a friend( who confirmed to me since that it was an empty space)
Sitting on the couch was a Racing pigeon I scanned the room quickly, all the windows where closed, the fire place had a fireguard in place,and apart from the odd splattering of pigeon shite around the place all was sound.
I immediately worried about the health of the bird and tried to pick it up ass i closed in on it it bolted and it left four tail feathers in my hand (which i quickly dropped to the floor)
Bird strike number 3.
In the past I have had some photographic experience with racing pigeons and their owners and when i finally picked it up
its ring showed it was a bird born in 1996 so it was probably over 14 yeqrs old as most hatching happens in spring!!
Well the fact that a bird could make it to this ripe old age and find itself in my living space on "the night of the bird strike" is just mind blowing.
So as is so often the case in Irish Documentary photography, I decided to revisit the site of this final bird strike after the event and photograph the traces of what was left behind in an effort to capture the essence of a strange day.

Unfortunately I had cleaned the shit up immediately so all that was left to me was the tail feathers.


By the by I visited 3 photography exhibitions,all part of the photoireland festival,and I was most impressed at the breath and depht of the content of all, See the program for the remaining week here!I am planning to get as much of it covered as possible.

Finally I added 4 new images to my type 55 gallery shot in Bretagne over the last 2 weeks click here to view it
Also my holiday postcard page is getting bigger right here
I hope you enjoy it,please comment if you have anything to say about it or any other part of this post
its always a great help to me to recieve feedback

Monday, 21 June 2010


Made it to France early yesterday morning on a glorius day after a beautiful crossing from cork on the Pont Aven.
All was fine when we made it to our destination, a tiny cottage in the middle of farmland just outside the village of Ploeuc sur Lie.
As stated in my last post I am hoping to Shoot some type 55 film whilst I am here.
I travelled light and just brought the linhof technika and standard 150mm lens,polaroid back,and a bucket for holding wet negs.
As an aid to composition,and as a tool in its own right,
I brought my H3d50 hasselblad,with waist level finder and sekonic meter.( I thought it might be interesting to compose and shoot the old fashioned way to see what i got.)
So yesterday Afternoon after a morning nap(disembarked boat at 5A.M.)I took the camera for a stroll and came back with the picture you see above.It says a lot about how I feel right now,full of hope and expectation for the weeks ahead!!
for some pics of the crossing click here i will add to this gallery as the weeks tick by.
as always click on the image above for a full size view