Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Time for Text

Here is another of my contact sheets . It's interesting how different shoots end up on the same sheet of film and what happens when you show one frame and its companion frame together.
The contact sheet is a valuable part of the process of photography and undervalued in my opinion.
Most photographers will agree that you often find interesting images on your contact sheet that in the initial edit were ignored. I wish I had more time to write about photography.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

projects 2012

Apart from my commissions I tend to work on a number of projects at once over a long period of time.
The more work I get the longer these projects take to complete.

2012 Photographic Projects
Family Album
2012 to present
A broad take on my extended family that aims to make portraits of all the customers of our family shop that closed in the last recession. Black and white film.

The Sky And The Ground
2012 to present
Artistic response into food production in Ireland using photography and video. More details to come.

Going Down The Town
2007 to present
On going project with Irish Teenagers in Rural Irish Villages and Towns, shot on 120 film colour negative stock.

The Shrinking Horizons Of Childhood
2007 to 2012
Photographic project about childhood and how children spend most of their time indoors. 30x 40 " Digital C Types from colour negatives shot on a Mamiya RZ67.

2006 to 2010
Personal project : A disjointed series of photographs that displays a passion for image making and the interior life . Digital and film, small book project.
I will also direct a short film and be cinematographer on a short this year as well. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Alternative Advent Feast

Its All Here :
Food styling Anne Marie Tobin, Art Direction Scott Burnett


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ghost Estate Photography Projects

All this focus on decay and despair in many Irish photography projects got me wondering why ?

As Fintan O’Toole writes today in the Irish Times “Contemporary photography has revived this melancholia” I wonder if we are set to create a despondent photography culture with all these projects on the gloom and decay in Ireland today.
For example Anthony Haughey’s Ghost Estates project concentrates on the ‘concrete in the landscape’ and reinforces the idea that the recession has been a disaster in property and economic terms only. The recession has been more than just about the failure of private property but of real human suffering, “A living misery’ as Fintan O’Toole says in the article.The absence of people suggests that they are separate to the housing issues, or not important at all. We have to move on from this focus on the material and the real and not forget to capture the spirit, the indefinable, the joy, the innocence, lyrical beauty, dreams, light and life. There are other photographers who are doing projects on similar subject matter but some actually capture a transient spirit, ambience and psychological feeling where this project does not approach that feeling for me at all.
Photographers love to concentrate on “reality” on the sociological aspects of war, moments of history or the idea of photographer as ‘reporter.' They use the absence, the silence, the death mask, the time frozen aspects of the medium as these photographers seem to think that photography is best at showing absence rather than presence. 

The Russian film maker Tarkovosky wrote “Wherever it expresses-even destruction and ruin-the artistic image is by definition an embodiment of hope it is inspired by faith. Artistic creation is by definition a denial of death.” I am aware of the concrete realities of empty estates, despair and death but life goes on and life is everywhere and photography should be about wonder and discovery, finding the joy to care and live in the everyday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slavoj Zizek

I was recently sent to spent three days photographing the Slovenian philosopher, writer and social activist Slavoj Zizek. Slavoj , the man the New Yorker called “An academic rock star” and the chronicle of higher education called The Elvis of cultural Theory!

I was introduced and he seemed occupied with a conversation that jumped from film Theory to politics to what was happening in China and America . He was here to film The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, a follow up to his last film, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, that uses Zizek's theoretical matrix to explore what psychoanalysis and film can tell us about our beliefs.
I waited and waited and listened to random lectures on Marx, Stalin and Freud plus thoughts on the church, child rearing, Kant , Hegel and bad art films.
The first day I tried to do a sitting down portrait but it was nothing great. I noticed how lots of people who are at ease with the movie and TV camera are frightened to death by the still camera. Most of us are the same when someone pulls out a still camera out and wants to take our image.
Each day I made a bit more progress, chats at the coffee machine helped and the fact that he engaged each person he spoke to with a rigid attention, talking with a directness and non stop. My patience paid off when he appeared with a cool t -shirt of Marx and Freud for the photo shoot.
I photographed him on the set of Taxi Driver and Full Metal Jacket and The Sound of Music. I photographed him as Stalin and as a priest but the photos that I lit with flash and added a hospital green hue and shadow, worked best. Slavoj was warm and funny and very engaging if a little hyper, so he did not sit still for long. He claimed not to care for still photos especially his early childhood ones.
He had a real interest in Irish affairs and understood the history of the Irish Media, he spoke of DeValera , Yeats, Wilde, Joyce, Beckett he said, was a true hero. From global locations to Irish studio interiors, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology will examine the prevailing ideologies at work in our world and no more engaging man to do it.
Since then I noticed Slavoj Zizek was at the centre of the recent Wall Street protests in New York.
Like Elvis, he never stops gyrating.