It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Seán Ó Dálaigh and his beautiful wife Leia Uí Dhálaigh a couple of weeks ago.
Leia was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and found it tiring to make arrangements to move to Rotterdam in The Netherlands. They where going there because Seán, a web designer, who had gone through redundancy three times in the last year, was offered a job in HR & logistics for an engineering company. With no immediate prospect of work here Seán had been volunteering at the Gallery of Photography, in Temple Bar, which is how we were introduced.
He was enjoying the experience when the offer of full time work came through. These are the lengths you must go to in order to provide for a family, making decisions quickly when faced with the stark reality of how you survive into the future. Within six days of the offer being made they were packed up and gone!!
Sadly for Seán it was a case of history repeating itself as he had lived as a child in South Africa and later in Rotterdam, as his own family had to move from Ireland during the last mass exodus in the 1980’s. However Seán and Leia remained upbeat and optimistic, Leia said (apart from the bad timing with the pregnancy), that as she isn’t from Ireland and hadn’t been here long term, it’s not too difficult for her to move. Seán said that with a support structure already in Rotterdam from his previous time there, and the unparalleled support of his folks, that it should all hopefully be a relatively easy transition. It will be difficult to be away from their family, who they are very close to, but working abroad vs the dole at home makes the decision very black & white.
I wish them every success and thank them both for pausing a while with me to mark their transition to a new life both as a family and as emigrants. They are both very brave and show great resolve in a very difficult situation.
The location was a short walk from their home in Dún Laoghaire. There are a couple of these little shelters between the road and the railway tracks so I take it they where an early form of a travel shelter.
Both shelters and the surrounding area had just been redecorated and a fresh coat of glossy white paint had this one gleaming out into the night, and the surrounding works gave me the impression that the town was expecting a visitor to the nearby Victoria monument in the not too distant future.
The area itself was loaded with metaphor, the shelter itself being padlocked against any one seeking refuge (see an older padlock metaphor here!) This is one that will stick with me for a long time. There is also a lot more that can be read from the photograph and I invite you all to study it in detail, and although it has its similarities, it differs a lot from that which has gone before it.
Artur Sikora and Ray Hegarty where on hand to help light this one up so a big thanks to them and to the two pedestrians who recognized the work in progress, fantastic!!
As always the work was shot on a hasselblad h3d 50 and lit with the amazing bowens espiritlight and battery pack! all gear available at DML Dublin.Please use the share buttons above to alert others to this project it only takes a few clicks!!
Comments as always are treasured above all else as they let me see how the work connects!