August. I have been on college break since May. College seems soooo loooong agooooo. Time to slowly ease myself back into learning mode. And especially so as I am now facing the final push: Year 3 of my BA. A scary thought, especially when considering that my classmates and myself are expected to turn up at the beginning of the semester with a number of project ideas. *eeeeek*
Last weekend I tackled one of my project ideas – which I have christened “Revisiting Dubliners”. The Dubliners in the title do not refer to actual people. It refers to the collection of short stories of the same name by James Joyce. Joyce published the book in 1914. Its focus is the city of his youth which he left forever in 1904 but immortalised in all of his works.
This is not the first time I have looked at Joyce’s Dubliners in an academic context. 15 years ago I wrote my university thesis on it. Wanna have the whole high-brow title of the bloody thing? “Dublin und die Dubliners – eine Betrachtung des topografischen Symbolgehalts der Kurzgeschichtensammlung sowie ihrer Klassenrepräsentation unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des landeskundlichen Aspekts“. Approximately translates into “Dublin and the Dubliners – a look at the symbolic value of topographical references and class representation in the short story collection with particular consideration of its cultural symbolism”. Or something like “I am a well-educated but pretentious and therefore insecure little git who thinks it’s a sign of intelligence if you use the inflated language of academia”. Anyhow, what it means is, I interpreted the names of the places in the context of the story.
Looking back now I can see that I was doing something else entirely, though – as part of the thesis I went around Dublin taking pictures of the various localities mentioned in the book. I spent a couple of months in Dublin, researching everything and walking around the city with a camera, attempting to catch all the mentioned places on film. Ha! Even then I was already interested in photography. I was just still on my pretentious journey to the academic ivory tower…
So that was 15 years ago. Times have changed. I do not live in an ivory tower. Dublin has risen in a boom and sharply fallen in the unavoidable, effing recession afterwards. And I don’t use sophisticated language anymore. But the pictures from back then remain – and even though that was not intended at the time, they have become a record of pre-boom Dublin. That is what I am interested in. I want to revisit Dublin – and compare 1996 with 2011. Much has changed – how will it translate in the images?
On a personal level it certainly will be interesting for myself to see how I have developed as a photographer since 1996. I was an interested amateur back then, shooting with a Pentax Espio compact camera. 15 years and two SLRs later I am on the way to getting a degree in photography. Progress? Hopefully so.
So there is the basis for a project, I hope. I will explore it the next few weeks, probably talking to myself here in the blog about it. But if you have any suggestions or ideas, please let me know!