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!
Please share this post using the share buttons below or follow using the follow button on the top right.
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!!


  1. here we are :) lots of interesting information about square and the area itself. great!
    and the main part - photographs. both of them looks great but having them side by side i would rather choose the Meeting house square one. hard to explain why however it works for me slightly better...maybe its stronger urban background...i don't know. well done anyway!

  2. it is a close call Artur
    they are 2 great images and no doubt.
    The interesting thing for me was the draw to the square.

    It would not let me pass by and ignore it!
    It to needed to be celebrated!!

  3. I'm drawn to the first one too.... I find the blue shop too distracting. Funny but I walked by the night that Polar Express was on and stopped and looked in..... and I have connections with the square too. I was one of the first students to do the Design for Digital Media MA (Now Creative Digital Media) when Temple Bar Properties gave the space to DIT and later did a wonderful Portraiture course with David Monahan in the Gallery of Photography :)

  4. Thanks Jeanette,that square means a lot to many.
    Happy new year

  5. Dave, I completely agree that the draw of the square/archive/gallery of photography/ifi was too much to pass on! This area obviously has deep personal meaning to me, however, as the heart of the Dublin's cultural quarter, it's significance to all the photography and film lovers who pass through this area daily, will no doubt become evident as the image circulates. This image is compelling in that it not only celebrates the adventure the subject is about to embark on, but also highlights the creative force at work within our beloved city. This is most certainly the silver lining in an otherwise uncertain era.

  6. very well put Aoife,there is nothing as strong as a gut feeling!
    when its there you have got to go with it,
    thanks for following me with this one.
    We have both been rewarded for our faith in Meeting house square.
    Thats for sure.
    If only we could get the Archive to move back!!

  7. Shame, Dave. A bit out of touch over here for sure but still. I think that's a little lame on the part of the Library. They just did'nt try hard enough. Nice site though, even if I may say so myself ;0) - Conor!

  8. Yes its a shame ,Conor. Thats for sure.
    I am sure you enjoyed working on the site!!
    They have a great bunch of people on the ground

  9. Did they share the shoes?

  10. they did indeed they are the same person!!