Sunday, 15 December 2013


There is absolutely no doubt about it our previous Government fell asleep at the wheel and allowed their belief in themselves and their place in the world order to allow them to lose sight of reality.
When the international banking crisis came knocking on their door the Government of Brian Cowen made the biggest mistake in the history of our country. The bank guarantee  which strapped us with billions of debt and left us in need of a Bailout. This was provided by the Troika of the E.C.B.  the I.M.F and the E.C.(The European Central Bank,the International Monetary fund,and the European Comission.)
Shortly after the bailout the government collapsed forcing an election.
Quite a few senior Fianna fail ministers did not even run for re election opting for a new life free from worry, whilst those who could not bow out on health or other reasons fell at the polls.

The current government swept to power and promised to shepherd us through the difficult times whilst protecting  the vulnerable.
For the last two and a half years plus they have been working carefully to see us out of our program
and back to a limited financial independence.

Today marks the final day of that program. Our government Is now committed to a SIX YEAR financial Program  but there is no way the Irish people will vote to return the current Government to power in two and a half years time. The electorate never responds well to being bashed down by blow after blow. With more austerity promised and water tax yet to bite in one neutral budget is not going to do it for these boys. Obviously they have not taken this into account in framing the way forward. Once more delusion reigns and no lessons were learned from the  recent lost referendum.
The reality of life on the ground is far from that which would fill the ordinary voter with the fervor to
vote return the same parties to office.The reasons for this are clear and many.
But on top of it all there is the spin!
Since the get go this Government have smothered  all debate on the basis that negativity was not a way forward, As a result of this the government did not do bad news only good news, and unfortunately our media still blindly read out press release after press release without challenging each and every action.
For example, today a minister said on radio that not only did the Irish government meet the targets set by the troika program,they beat them.NO QUESTIONS WERE ASKED!Like, surely beating the targets means that some sectors of our society suffered cutbacks that they should not have needed to endure?

No, the statement was let go and allowed to colour the case the minister was making for our Government.
For Example,Less than a month after a major study from impartial scientific researchers in  University College Cork with the Title, Emigration in the age of austerity we get reporting of the latest jobless figures from the C.S.O. with no mention of the amount of young that have fled since the cruel welfare cuts designed to get them off the dole and out the door.

The spinning of good news stories out of proportion is rubbing salt in the wounds of those suffering from a range of issues on the ground.
It's not a good time to be sick and dependent on the health service.
It's not a good time to be unemployed and/or in debt.
It's not a good time  to be self employed,a retailer,caterer,a small business.
It's not a good time to be a charity.
It's not a good time to be alone with your family scattered to the four winds.
It's not a good time to  rent a house or flat with rents spiraling.
It's not a good time to want to buy a house as banks are not lending.
It's a great time to be a volunteer, and although it helps, feeding your soul is not the only food needed.

A counter point to stories running in the Irish press like the one linked to above is this article in the New York Times which rings out the sentiments I allude to in the lines above,see it here
These are all serious issues,serious for those affected but when the  live line is the only forum for  local/national outpourings the debates of the disaffected then become boxed off and the subject of parody.Our media really need to challenge all government announcements, ask the hard questions, and put the brakes the spin!
I would class myself as an  optimist I like to smile  and laugh, I strive for happiness for me and those around me. So with the onset of our current regressive climate which hit me personally like so many others in late 2009 I redoubled my efforts to work my way through the malaise as it presented itself to me, inventing opportunities through innovative application of my profession.

I know I and many like me have difficult times still ahead but still we slog on, my latest offering is a counter to all of the over spin, my own effort to make something out of nothing, like so many empty headlines that have spun out of Kildare street and Merrion Street I too have been combing my own neighbourhood for SIGNS OF RECOVERY, they are as plausible as any good news story I have seen recently and today I present 5 of them for your entertainment and analysis.I suppose they are 5 mini satires, and I hope they bring a smile to your faces but  deepen your thoughts about our reality and make you ponder what you can do to help change society for all and move us forward and out of the grips of the worlds markets in which we are just another commodity
whose price goes up and down over time.

Thanks (and I really hope the cat gets home)Please share and comment we love the banter!

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Its Hard to believe that its four years into the life cycle of this blog.
November 26th of November 2009 was the day I took the decisive action to post online and to develop some online projects.
135 posts later and a modest 85,000 page views I suppose it can be said that things have worked out for the best and my online life has spilled over into my reality and kept me very busy with exhibitions,making new work,planning for the future and coping with the trials and travails of trying to push work to the people!
Global Irish found me thanks to Jacolette,that led the wall street journal to my door,quickly followed by C.B.S.News and on it went till my work hit the walls in Dublin,Donegal,and than off to Melbourne.Siamse Tíre then Hosted a new show On Leaving which draws on all of my work on this subject and that was a greatest challenge and buzz to put together. Just arrived home the work now rests in large crates as it draws breath for its next big adventure as I try to push it across the atlantic.
In fact I have just launched a new website to help things along at

Just arrived home for a four week whirlwind  is Leaving Dublin Sitter Sarah Griffin who is here to launch a book penned in direct response to the experiences of moving.
The Fantastic Not Lost was Launched on November the 20th at The Gutter Bookshop Dublin and it was a delight to be there for a few minutes on my way to work.See Sarah pictured above and in  previous posts on my blogger pages here and here.
It was great to see the tears of joy and pride welling up as Sarah prepared to take the mike and get into the zone that she is so comfy in,the performance.
I hope to get a private audience before she flies off.
So much has happened in her life but I am not going to mention anything at all about that here.
You should read all about it in her book NOT LOST
Dug out the RZ for the shots above and devved up this morning before a stroll downtown to  see what gives.
Thanks Sarah for sharing the journey

Monday, 30 September 2013


Back in April last I made a trip to London.Just a weekend,to try and catch up on some of the people I had worked with prior to their departure.On the second day of the trip I met with Bernard Tyers.
We sat out in the sun and had a pint by the canal.Just the way it should be on a sunny spring day.
Bernard was shot very early on in the series and so he ahas been in London for  over 2 years.
On the week end in question I met with several people in an orcestrated dance around  the city on tube ,train,bus,and Philippe Sibelly's Multipla!   I even got to spend some time in the country side in Surrey.
(Some of the works from this trip appears on the walls of my current exhibition at Siamse Tiré in Tralee co Kerry)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Planning and executing the show On Leaving at SiamseTíre has been a revelation for me.
I am a bigger braver person after this fantastic experience.It is the most comprehensive and meaningful expression of the project to date and I look forward to presenting it to as many as is possible over the next year or so.Thanks to all at the venue who facilitated its realisation.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


  In July 2011 I went to London to drop off some entries for a competition.
I had been shooting parting shots for 15 months and had completed about 50 images by that time.
As the months moved on I kept in touch with a number of sitters one of them Being Conor Mc Mahon who I had photographed a year previous in his own  back garden.
Conor  who now lived close to London invited me to stay over with him on my trip and suggested we meet in Victoria railway station after I had done my work up at Elephant and Castle.
Just before this time I was gifted a 6x6 camera by an old friend Brendan Doyle(retired  photographer at the National Museum of Ireland). It occurred to me that the 6x6 with a wide angle lens and waist level finder was a way back to a style of shooting I had used in the past that could provide a nice counterpoint to the very stylised colour heavily lit parting shots.
I endeavored therefor to try out a roll of black and white TMAX400 in this format and see how it worked.
The results were published on my blog on what was one of the most important days of the project to date december the 2nd 2011(see it here)(it will become obvios why if you read the post)
I continued to hone this technique through making photographs of sitters who returned(see here)
And I was delighted with the results. I made a trip to France and photographed another sitter in Quimper,Brittany Happy that my technique was good and the chance of sucess was high I set off to Australia in Late October with 3 boxes of Tmax and my 6x6 camera.To date I have shot over 30 rolls of film making this piece of the project and I will endeavor to meet as many of my sitters for this very exciting part of the process before complete the project proper.
Other works in this mode I have published on the blog where the following, Claire Weir and Brian Maxwell,Sarah Griffin,Aoife O Donnell,and Marie Carroll
All of these follow on visits have been extremely helpful to me in resolving questions asked of me by the project and for me this has been a key element of the process as it has given great meaning to the preceding work, adding depth to the stories of the individuals and reinforcing the multifarious motivations that bring about the act of migration.I say once more. It's not a lifestyle choice its a complex mix of desire,nescessity and desperation. This holds true for most of those I have met on this journey.
The Shot on top which features in the current show on in Siamse Tíre is of a great character who's company I really enjoyed on my visit to Byron Bay. A man who was watching his working life as a trucker in Ireland shrink and did something about it!Alan Pentony.
The shot was made at Bruswick heads just outside Byron A great location on beautiful day.

 Another I share with you on this post was one of the most memorable of the Australia trip.
On visiting Rockhampton, Quensland  I was brought up Mount Archer and made some shots Of Clay Crighten looking out over the Fitzroy river and his home town Rockhampton.Clay worked as a storeman in Ireland for some years before he and his Irish wife Rae Green decided to give Australia a go.
I am honoured to have met these people again in their new homes and I will endeavor to get over to the Americas to continue this process. I will also,in a future post,  fill in some more details about the show in Siamse Tíre and how a heartbeat  served as a worthy metaphor to pull two shows together (a visual ON LEAVING and a theatrical IMIGÉIN (The Scattering)both which launched on the same night)
 This post contains several back links to previous posts which in turn flesh out the story of the monochrome images in this exhibition please click through and enjoy.
Also please share and comment as both actions bring me nothing but joy!

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Claire Weir and Brian Maxwell returned home, in love, from London together some months ago.
Having evaluated the situation here and the difficulties involved in finding meaningful employment
they have decided to move to Perth.Western Australia.
Claire has lived there twice before as a child and when she finished college some years ago she spent over a year there before moving home, and then moving to London.
Indeed I first made contact with Claire when she was living in Freemantle just outside Perth. She had seen and liked my work on the net and started a conversation about it and photography in general. Little did i know then that I would photograph her for my series, when she returned home with Brian, and now as she is about to leave with only a few days left in Ireland.
Not a voluntary parting as Claire and Brian would be happy to stay here if work was plenty and they could have a comfortable life.But its not to be.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


 with this post I hope to catch up  as I draw closer to the end of the first series of leaving Dublin images. 84 will be the final total(83 published here to date) after three years and three months of shooting.
As with any large body of work there are anomalies when following a stringent M.O.and these two images fell out of sync with the blog because of other pressing issues with the work.
Exhibition preparation for example may have got in the way or a lack of fulfilment re release papers.
All is good now and I offer my apologies to all concerned.

Juan Miguel Gonzalez was photographed outside his apartment in Malahide before leaving after years working as an economist in a business in the town.He had been there for several years but now with his parents getting older,and the economy getting tighter, he felt it was time  to trip back to home.The beautiful city of Valladolid, Spain.

Friday, 28 June 2013


Today marks the final day of Irelands E.U. Presidency  and the flow of people from this place has not subsided.Hundreds of thousands have left to date since the financial down turn.
Putting ones political head in the sand has always been the order of the day.
If we don't talk about it it will go away.
Lets tell a different story!!the good news!

That seems to be the approach.
The motto for our Irish governments term was the following Jobs,Stability and Growth.
If you take a very optimistic view the only area we seem to have made an impact would be on the stability front as we are still in the same sorry position as we were  at the start of the year when the presidency commenced!
Todays other news sees us slipping into recession after 6 months of negative growth.(That probably negates my previously over-optimistic stability point)Also after the appearance of the anglo tapes those who see the real architects of this realignment want to put duped, moneydrunk,gombeen Irish financial ex-wizards and retired alchemists,all into a big sack and beat them senseless. fantastic!!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


About a month and a half ago I got  a call from Claudi Nir.
She was wondering if I was still looking for subjects for my project Leaving Dublin.
I told her although I was nearing the end of the first phase of the project(the parting shots), I was still shooting.
Of course I assumed that there was a friend of hers or a fellow graduate about to leave and she was making the inquiry on their behalf.
As the conversation continued on it turned out that the person leaving was Claudi. After 13 years she was about to go!

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Claire Weir and I first met online she was living in Perth. After finishing college in Dublin  she pretty quickly figured out there was no work for her here,so she moved(move 1).
She had seen my leaving Dublin work and liked it and  so we started a conversation.
Some months Later Claire was home in Ireland preparing to follow work to London which she did.(move 2 (this is when i photographed her for the project))
Whilst there Claire met her partner  Brian Maxwell and so they started to plan as a couple,thinking of the future and wanting a life together which involved full time work,love and happiness.Working towards this aim they moved back to Ireland.(move 3)
this now is a three year old story and last week I caught up with Brian and Claire and took a trip to the Pheonix Park tea rooms.We talked about her picture which is hanging in the Immigration Museum in Melbourne as I type.
Claire and Brian there explained to me the route they where taking and I was not surprised to hear that Brian had just got a visa to travel for work to Australia(Claire has Australian papers after spending some years there as a child),and they were about to take off again perhaps around the summer to Perth in search of their dreams(move 4)
Claire is strong.She is not going to stop and let the  reality of life in Ireland repress her.All she wants is to get out there work and make a life for herself and now with Brian there is a new dimension to it all.
In our conversation on friday last we resolved to make another parting shot before they leave for Perth.
She will be the first  of my sitters to make it onto the case twice,but this time she will not be alone.
She knows where she is going,and she is going there in love.Fantastic!
Claire,Brian,and those like her are the people who can make hope from a desperate situation and find a way forward.Claire has an irrepressible spirit the type we desperately need to rebuild this ailing country. Lets hope Brian and her make it back here again to give all they can when our misguided government  realize who they are, the embodiment of the  spirit of our time.

Friday, 26 April 2013


Serendipitous,the only word I can use to describe the free treat passed out at the opening of the ALTERNATE VOICES exhibition yesterday evening.   "STARMIX"a mighty metaphor for the work hanging on the freshly painted walls of Moxie Studios exhibition space.
Again I am blown away by the level of diversity,execution,finish and presentation of the work.
Moxie studios is a very large space to start of with and to fill it you need a lot of work,to do it effectively the work needs to be engaging!
Again as with last years show this is a  flawless project from start to finish which also adds a perfect web package to the mix. The space is full of the energy given off by the work which was shot specifically for this show,an exercise in preparing an exhibition.Again the show way exceeds this brief and provides viewers with some real entertaining,engaging and well crafted works.
On strolling through  the space one was treated to a diverse array of shooting styles and presentation methods,hung together in a way that leads to a very enjoyable experience some of the works framed some glassless, some pinned or clipped,some large,some small,but nothing that jarred and upset the flow and again  that is a real achievement.
Another great Group of photographers  are close to launch themselves on the world and I would really like to warmly congratulate them not only on the work,but how they also managed to fill the brief and provide another flawless example of how to present and exhibition both on the walls and as social media and website presentation.Kudos to to the tutors who framed the project and oversaw the project but the true stars of this mix are,Helen,Julia,Hannah,Leanne,Stephen,Paul,Clare,Kelsey,Elizabeth,Sarah,Paudie,Laura,Kevin,Svetlana,
Keith,Laura-jean,Niall,Laoise,Hue,Vera,Fergal,Hannah and Eliot,My hats off to you all.
As a group please dont loose the spirit of this fantastic endeavour it will power you throught the rest of your journey together!
 For those around Dublin the show is on till May 2nd  so please make an effort to see it,it will reward!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013


I met Ronan McHugh for the first time  about 15 years ago when I was a student of photography.
His mother Louise was in my class and we have remained friends ever since.Ronan himself graduated from uni a few years ago just in time to experience the slow down of a nation and our huge financial crash.His Girlfriend Grethe Chhristensen has found it difficult to find work here in Dublin and so as new parents to their young son Aiden they are off to Denmark,the homeplace of Grethe,to forge a life together.
Lets hope all goes smoothly and as the colder winter of Denmark subsides they are warmed in the light of their new home close to good friends and Family.

Back home there have been mixed messages coming from the media in Dublin,as to where we are right now.Mr Mody claims that reliance on austerity only to correct our woes, was a mistake.Who is mr Mody I here you say,see the link above for insight into the mind of an I.M.F. negotiator.
So should we continue down this route,well yes!!(say our blinkered government)
We will still continue on down this route rewarding talent with the exit door to success in another country. Ronan and his family have made it outside the hampered Eurozone and lucky for them they are only a couple of hours away if there is the need of a trip home.
Yes! the talent that is going to save our country is elsewhere now and we stand no chance of growing our way out of this hole with our vigor residing somewhere else whilst all the signs on the Euro front pointing towards a flat lining economy for some years to come.
We have nothing special,we have lost our edge,they are still leaving.
It spares our Government in the very short term, but in the long term its going to be a hard climb, without the ceasing of austerity, to build our selves up again with all our talent doing it elsewhere!

On the night of the shoot it was bitter with a biting wind on Howth Harbour ,co Dublin. We had to stay in close by the wall to give little Aiden any level of comfort.Lets hope as the temperature here and in Denmark rises,and the days grow longer Aiden and all of us in fact, can take down our hoods and enjoy the heat, the fresh air,and  the light This should give us the strength  to bight our lip and wait for the time to come to remove our current government,Heaven knows we have a couple of years to make up our minds as to the best way forward lets hope when the time comes there is some alternative and lots of innovative thinking (by the opposition) in the meantime(God knows we need it!)
On the night Artur and Ronans mother Louise Roden helped to make it all work out.
 Comments appreciated

Monday, 4 March 2013


Sarah Griffin writes from San Francisco after a meeting with me  in town on a trip home!

The last time I met David Monahan was three nights before I emigrated: here, we sat in the Metro Cafe off Grafton Street, nine months later. I was at home for two weeks to have Christmas with my family: breaking the first year away down the middle with the familiarity of Dublin in winter. He called to see if I was around for a catch-up. In the myriad of pints and family gatherings, I knew I had to talk to him again - I remembered how I had almost gone and poured all my anxieties about leaving home out to him in his car after the photoshoot, on my way to my going away party. Here is my story, I am terrified because I am not terrified, I am ready to go, I think, I think, I hope – I'm pretty sure that was how it went, all the way from the Bayside graveyard to Hartcourt Street. He'd met so many people on the same path as I was: sort of like the ferryman folks met on their way down the River Styx, you meet David before you emigrate. Thing is, he doesn't take the pennies from your eyes, but instead snaps your image on film: with that exchange, you are one of the people who slipped away to see the world, leaving Ireland on the other side.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Life in modern Ireland certainly is tough,no doubt about.
And it gets harder!
The next round of cuts to pay are all lined up,add a dose of propery tax,a liberal amout of watercharges,remove a couple of Billion from next 3 years budget and there you have it things getting tougher for a few years to come.
Truth is things have not bottomed out just yet.Our  downward spiral continues!!

Monday, 11 February 2013


All the euphoria and happy happy slappy,snappy communications coming out of Leinster house last week was a little to late for loads of restless spirits who find it a little bit of a grind to keep pushing,pushing,pushing against the relentless pressure to try something different.
So the tide of Emigration has not turned and people continue to leave apace.
It was finally and euphorically displayed as a victory last week that the Irish taxpayer will  bear the full extent of the losses at Anglo Irish Bank and Nationwide Building Society,No write down will occur and all of private investors will be paid in full after they should have lost their shirts!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013


This is Jose Carlos Lorenzo it was a pleasure to sit and pause  a while with him before he set off on an adventure. I first met Jose about 2 years ago when I did some prints for a college project he was doing. Now he has graduated with a degree he has decided to change it all around again and he is off to the Caribean.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Sitting across a table from Marie Carroll in Paddington, Brisbane it all seemed so different from the last time we met on the south wall walk, just beside the Half moon swimming club in Dublin.
Both of us had in more ways than one travelled a long distance since that moonlit night.
Life in Dublin became unviable for Marie after the financial crash. She worked in I.T. recruitment and that business just shrank and disappeared right in front of her eyes. So she had to travel to work

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Its been a while, so before I launch myself into a new phase of posting I have something to put right.
Due to some confusion re release forms I was unable to publish this shot as it happened.
It was made last march outside the central bank of Ireland (a few weeks after the dis-assembly of the occupy Dame street protest)