Monthly Archives: July 2012

PhotoIreland Festival 2012

While taking the first steps to recovery, the one thing I really can’t bear at the moment is looking at other people’s work. Well, every photograph is “other people’s work”, really, but I just can’t bring myself to go and have a look at what is on offer at PhotoIreland. And that is a fluffing shame, really. Because when it comes to photography, I actually think that Dublin is quite spoilt for choice and activities. And never more than in the month of July. 
For a couple of years now the summer month has seen PhotoIreland  -a festival of national and international photography, this year centering on the theme of “migrations”. The festival is set in numerous galleries and venues all over Dublin and other major towns in Ireland and showcases artists, groups etc. Alongside, there are events for emerging artists who can have their portfolios critiqued and study the work of established photographers. For a lot of people, of course, it is also a networking event, where you can hob-knob with the eminent figures of the local photography scene.
Our own collective was a little bit too late in getting into gear for this year’s event. Migrations is a suitably vague theme, I suppose, I am sure we could’ve rustled something up if we hadn’t been in the middle of our final semester in college. 
Well, here is my interpretation of “migrations”: The great big Barbarian Invasions aka Migration of the Peoples:
Dublin

Baby Steps

No, I am not talking about baby photography. Not really my cup of tea, although I have done some of it for practice and for friends. The baby steps in the blog title refer to my journey back into photography’s arms. Yes, it’s another self-referential blog post – so shut up or get out now 😉
Still here? Ok. You’ll be pleased to hear that I have decided to stop wallowing and finally get my arse into gear. If the heart isn’t in it, the mind has to push. And so I chose to bring marky Mark out from his coffin and against better worse judgment took him out at the weekend. We were off to a family event, but had a couple of hours to spare which we spent at a favourite holiday haunt of ours, just over the Wicklow-Wexford border.
Grumblingly I lugged marky Mark in my Crumbler bag from the car. Le BF set off on his own, obviously not in the mood for yet another moody walk with the “Disenchanted Photographer”. First I managed to get my trainers soaked in the mud and my mood sank down below sea level. And then I looked up and saw what was around me. And for a split second that old impulse was there, the automatic reach for the camera. To document and to archive the moment. 
What clinched it, however, was the “Episode of the Moving Rock”. Having caught up with the uncooperative BF, we were staring at a grey rock about 30 meters away from us in the water. Rather depressing really. And I thought I had definitely lost it, when the rock started moving. I mean, you kinda have heard of “artists” losing their mind over their art á la van Gogh or Francis Bacon. But I didn’t really expect to lose the plot this early on. A little more suffering, please, before the creativity is replenished. Alas – it wasn’t just me who saw moving rocks. The camera saw it, too:
And thus the first little step has been taken. I have touched him. I have even imported the images. Who knows – maybe I will be able to think of a project next week? In the mean time – if anyone has a happy pill, I’ll take that, too!

Riptide

I have talked about it a lot. I have thought about it non-stop. The inner monologue never stops. I can hardly believe that this is me. At this point in time. All creative urge has been washed away by a massive riptide of disinterestedness. A barren state of inactivity. A sensation of utter helplessness in the face of disconnectedness. And nothing that you can actually fight with your mind’s own rationality. Like depression really.
Nausea sweeps over me even when I just *contemplate* taking marky Mark from his coffin. Apart from holiday snapping, I do not see myself handling a camera in the near future.
It’s not even that I do not like photography anymore. I still love looking at images and enjoy critiqueing them. In fact I am critiqueing more than ever before – but strictly incognito and in an altogether different context which has got little to with photography.

Don’t try to argue with me that the above constitutes photography. These days I merely fingertip release the shutter of my iPhone and choose a digital gimmick filter from Instagram. It could be the drop that tides me over, though, as could be the three photo books I picked up in a second-hand bookstore today. At € 2.00 each I give this a shot for inspiration. Blumenfeld for his wide range of early photographiy experimentation. Seymore for powerful documentary. McCartney for sun printing recipes. Now where do you buy silver nitrate these days?
Posted on Tour, using BlogPress from my iPhone

Block Island

Is there such a thing as photographer’s block? 
Judging from my own current total disinterest in photography there must be. It is tragic, really. Here I am, just finished three years of total photo immersion. And I hate the thought of touching marky Mark. I have actually been contemplating putting him onto the market and selling him off. 
It is probably just that point where you have reached a goal that you have worked for for a long time. And now that you are there, you don’t know how to proceed. A bit like reaching the summit after a long, arduous climb. And then heaving feet of lead that will not take you down to the valley again.
Spitzkoppe, Namibia
The only photography-related thing that gives me any joy these days is looking at images and writing elaborate critiques of them. I suspect that is not due to the magnificent photography, but rather the sitter who features in all of them. Plus, I get feedback for what I write from other fangrrls enthusiasts – which works as an incentive to go on.
In my current self-pitying state there is nothing but to wait and sit it out. My hopes are all on my holidays which are coming up soon. Maybe being in a foreign place will make me peer through the viewfinder again?
Meanwhile, morose greetings from Block Island.

Invigilating

What a strange, funny word, invigilating. It sounds slightly aggressive, like “violating”. Or maybe it reminds me of the word “vigorous”. In any case, it somehow has rather unpleasant connotations for me. Memories of past exams with the invigilating dragons walking through the narrow aisles, breathing down our necks and the principal invigilator announcing sternly over the loudspeakers “NO talking!” 
And invigilating yourself is not much better than being invigilated. While Relentless Melt is being hosted in Farmleigh’s Motorhouse, the participating photographers are taking turns to watch the exhibition at the weekends. It was my turn on Sunday. And while I was undecided between blending into the background in order to let the visitors have the freedom to enjoy the photography and on the other hand exuding strict authority to make sure everyone behaves properly while in the space, it gave me the opportunity to make some social observations.
It is quite interesting how some people behave in public spaces where art is shown. While the youngest visitors obviously do not feel any restraint, some grown-ups seem to perceive it as a “Temple of Art” in which you may not raise your voice and where you can only whisper. Some people walked into the door with obvious curiosity – only to turn directly back. Is our photography not good enough for you??? 
Others, again, feel no barrier between themselves and the artwork at all – which manifests itself in plenty of greasy fingerprints on frames and prints. Big no-no, people! And the perpetrators are not necessarily the children. Even some adults do not seem to feel any boundary – or at least a sense of respectful distance that might keep you from touching everything that you see.
Oh *sigh*, I come across a bit high-brow here. I am all for art coming to the masses. But please respect that there may be other people interested in seeing an exhibition after you and hence would appreciate looking at the exhibits in acceptable condition…
Sermon over. Sorry.

Success Stories

Barely out of college and I can already report a few success stories. It seems that the class of 2012 is busy trying to put GCD on the map. Well, not all the class, but there is a few of my mates whose work is of such quality that it has been chosen for collections, competitions and exhibitions. 
For a start, both Ray Hegarty‘s portrait project and Alan Bennett‘s graduation submission “Over the Wall” were chosen for a special feature in photo magazine Source. The projects and the rest of the class’s submission can be viewed on the Source graduate showcase Graduate Photography Online 2012.
My classmate Karen Tierney‘s project KAQ was also selected as one of the ten finalists of the Propeller Awards – and award sponsored by Dublin fine arts printers Fire. She is also represented in the Peripheries show in inspirational arts.
Jurga Rakau has been exhibiting her graduate work in the Ceramics Ireland exhibition in Farmleigh.
All the four aforementioned graduates are also currently exhibiting in the Relentless Melt show in Farmleigh (and more). But these four and also Bobby Barbour have already made a sale from their project on opening night. What a great achievement! Congrats to that, lads, and I hope this is only the beginning!
 
They are going with the flow – let’s hope it’ll keep pushing them.

Installation Check

Welcome to Relentless Melt!
The door is open, please come in. Well, tomorrow that is. When we open the exhibition at
    6.30 pm in the Motorhouse, Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin
Wine and photographers on hand. Opening speech by Dave Monahan. Lots of interesting images to see – and buy, if you so fancy.
Before we got there, the whole hanging process had to be survived. Three hours of measuring, drilling, hammering and adjusting. But then we finally got it. The pictures are on the wall and the room is ready to welcome you all in. 
I give you the official Relentless Melt-poster, too, which will give you a glimpse of one of the projects on show. But besides intimate family portraits, there are also landscapes, visions of the future of food engineering and large-format-originated architectural shots.
Would love to see you there!