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.
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