Writing about August on January 1st, 2015. Happy New Year! It is going to be a great year. Believe and achieve. That is my maxim for 2015. Everything will happen.
The first thing to happen is this continued review of last year’s photographs. In August, 54 photographs of mine went up on the two accounts. There was a mix of images from Cork, Dublin and Korea posted to the DSLR account. Photographs created on the iPhone followed the same pattern.
Looking back now, I see the short series of images I tend to present. There were these images taken in Korea of people with umbrellas.
But the ones that I love from August are those in this series taken in Daegu. These images are me getting close to my vision of how beautiful photography can be.
And my favourite image of the month: A Daegu delight.
With the iPhone, the one I love most is this taken of my brother in-law’s wife.
In June, I posted a total of 56 photos to Flickr; perfectly divided into 28 DSLR and 28 iPhone images. So many to choose from.
Beginning with the iPhone, I am torn between these images – to see them large click through
The man I used to be
Not only trees need to cheer the fuck up
The image I find myself looking at most is Empowerment. I remember I was on my way back to my hotel in Taipei when I came upon this gentleman who was standing still as he read a notice on the closed shutters of a shop. I was struck by his pose and rigidity and the shadow he cast on the shutters. There is something about that image which quietens me and sets me daydreaming.
Of the 28 DSLR images, again it is hard to make a choice between these images – to see them large click through
I sort of want you to stay
What is left is only leaving
because of the times when the last thing you say is the last thing I hear
Nunca sea la ultima, sino la penultima
In the end, the image I am most drawn to is I sort of want you to stay. This was taken in Seoul. With camera ready I was walking around on a cold early spring evening when I walked past this entrance to a bar. I had passed when I realised that the girl on the phone would make a nice shot. Without time to get the settings right I shot a few frames. As soon as I got the first one, she changed her pose and the scene changed. This photo has been my most popular on Flickr this past year.
Heading into autumn now and the month of September. Looking at the archives for that month, I see a number of images that I really like, especially the candid street shots I took. Seeing them now gives me the itch to get out and take more photographs. It is all about the next photograph.
To pick a favourite from September’s iPhone images is not so easy. There is this photograph I took on the way to the All-Ireland hurling final replay in Dublin of a muslim woman having an intense phone call on one of the city’s main streets. Her two-tone head scarf and the theatrical poster in the background really got my attention, and in mid-conversation with my brother, I stopped to snap the shot. I remember him saying to me that one day I would get into trouble for doing that.
Another I really like is this one of a man lost in his own thoughts and looking so sad on the streets of Cork. I like to think that the streak of sunlight behind him gives him hope. Similarly, there is this elegant, graceful but melancholic looking older woman who is also lots in her own thoughts. Then there is one of two young girls walking down Dublin’s main street, O’ Connell Street. This one hit Flickr’s Explore and got thousands of views. Crazy how many views you can get now if your photo hits Explore.
But the one I like most is this one of a child being carried in her mother’s arms. I was collecting my own little girl from school when we caught up with this mother and child ahead of us. The child, so beautiful with such piercing eyes, captivated me. I had to get that shot. It is something I struggled a little with, to be honest, afterwards. I was thinking would I like someone to take a photo like that of my own child. Had I intruded, invaded her privacy? I do not know. But the result is beautiful, I think.
And that is my favourite image taken with my iPhone in September. Hope you are enjoying the series.
Ireland had a heatwave in July. Three weeks! Ya, three whole weeks of sunshine! Three weeks of heat. We went crazy! Ireland is the land the sun abandoned and clouds stepped in to comfort us. Grey, slow-moving, gloomy clouds. So, imagine three weeks of sunshine. Wow!
These three weeks coincided with our family holiday in beautiful west Cork and its wonderful beaches. As you can imagine, the kids loved the beaches. My little girl began to learn to swim and my little boy learned that waves will knock him over, time and time again and that laughing as it happens means the wave will jump down his throat.
Choosing an iPhone shot from July is not that hard. The standout image is this one of my flip-flops on the beach taken from a low-down perspective to make the sea and sky large. I remember having to ensure the iPhone did not touch the wet sand and trying to balance myself to prevent this. Luckily, I did.
There is no place I know of that engenders excitement in me* like airports. They are a true marvel of the modern world. In the space of a few short hours you can, almost magically, be transported from one side of the world to the other. How truly brilliant. And then there is wonder of seeing people from the four corners of the world all in transit if you are in a big airport like Amsterdam’s Schipol, for example.
In April of this year, I was in transit on my way to Nuremberg via Amsterdam. Inspired by a Flickr contact’s ( Mimo) recent images from an airport, I had the idea to get a low-down perspective shot of people on those travelators they have. You know the ones you step on to and you do not even have to take a step; you are just carried along. Standing on this travelator in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, I was caught by the figure in front of me and how cool he looked travelling along this same travelator as I was on. I repositioned the bag I was carrying, so that it would not create an obstacle and got down on my knees, turned the iPhone upside, placed my finger on the button and snapped. Later, I ran it through Instagram and rotated. The result is a very low-down perspective. You can see more of these I posted on my iPhone Flickr account.
Funny how things can change. In August of last year, my good Flickr friend, Mark T Simmons asked me to do a feature of the photo I am most proud of for the excellent mobiography website and I chose this image. I still love that shot, but now a few months later, I would choose the shot below as my favourite for April. I love the feeling of losing control, of inevitability that the shot creates. Do you agree?
* To be honest, I must say that there is nothing to match the feeling of seeing the light appear through at the top of the steps from the tunnels of some of the very big GAA stadiums in Ireland. The wall of noise and sea of colour that meets you and the knowledge that in the next hour and half or so there will be a ferocious spectacle of skill and courage is unmatchable in terms of sheer excitement. Airports are a little more serene in comparison.
And on to November, my least favourite month of the year. It is when darkness settles in. Dark mornings when it seems as if the sun has forgotten us. And the images I posted in November reflect this absence of light.
Doing this end-of-year review makes me a little anxious. I am thinking what I can I photograph in the future. What style will I develop? What will get my interest? This happens each year when I do these reviews. Conversely, it excites me to think that I will find new things to explore and that I will probably be here in December 2014 writing about the twelve favourite images of that year. It is all about the next photograph, I believe.
November has a few images that I like and unusually, all but one are taken in Cork. The exception being this one from Hanoi. I realise I post too much to Flickr. Posting two photographs a day is a difficult task. If I do not post, I tend to feel guilty. The thing is I am not a very disciplined person. Very often I will start something and abandon it when something else gets my attention. Flickr has been the exception. Since 2009, I have posted regularly on my main Flickr account and for the past eighteen months I’ve been posting an iPhone photo on my other account. I am toying with the idea in reducing this. Addition is dilution as they say.
As I was saying, all but one of November’s photos were taken in Cork and unlike October there are a number of images I like and narrowing this down to one favourite is not so easy. I like this one of the reflection in the window of a coffee shop of the Grand Parade in Cork. I went back and got more shots of this later on. Another I like is the one of my little girl running among the fallen leaves on a sunny Sunday morning. She is six now and loves being with me when I go out shooting. It is very good for me as sometimes I will find her staring at things that I have not noticed, things that are worth noticing. As time goes by, I know I will enjoy photography more and more with her. The mirror is the only thing that should me is another photograph that resonates with me. And of course I love this one I took of my own reflection in a shop window. But the one that I keep coming back to is not a shot taken in November, but in late August – Germans. I like this because it took a while to get. I needed to be patient and focused (that word does not seem appropriate to my style of photography) for the moment to arrive. I wrote about the background to the image here.
Only one more month to choose. What will be the image for December?
Three more images to make up my selection of favourites over the past twelve months. On to October, a month that sees a lot of photographs taken on rainy evenings in Cork city centre. For me, there is no real stand-out image in this month. None that jump off the page for me, which makes choosing a favourite a little difficult. In fact, looking over the images of the past few months, I do not see a lot of colour or sunshine or brightness. There just seems to be a lot of gloomy, moody, dark photographs. Bring on the sun.
Anyway, the image I like most is this one. I took it on a quiet Sunday morning in the city centre when there were not a lot of people to be seen on the streets. A combination of rain and a need to rest, I imagine. On North Main Street, the shutters of a bicycle shop were down; bright, yellow shutters, which gave a great backdrop to a photo. All I had to do now was wait for a passerby. And I waited in the rain until this guy dressed in red and black and with an umbrella passed. Click! Shot got. I moved on. Maybe you prefer a different photograph; which one?