Aimless beginnings

Life can be funny sometimes, & things can have a habit of getting out of hand leading you in a different direction if your not careful. if you don’t have something to bring you back, the check’s & balance’s that are needed to remind you why you started what you did & reminds you who you are, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the flow & end up somewhere different indeed.

Now, if like a Douglas Adams character you find you are happy with where that flow takes you then happy days. Or if your original intention was to jump on in & see where the flow took you in the years ahead like a photographic form of Zen Navigation, and you’re willing to ride that wave then that’s OK too, it really is. On a macro scale that’s quite often how I run a shoot. You get an idea, you don’t always know if or how it will take you to your intended final product but you know that there is something about it that feels right and your gut tells you to follow the flow.

I like that way of working. The problem is, on the grander scale I have come to realize that its not how I am comfortable living my life. Not that I don’t need an end goal as such but I do want to feel as if I have had some hand in steering my course. Thus, my age old & trusted mantra, after many years of incessantly jumping up & down in my subconscious, has finally made its self heard.

Back to Basics.

This site is the beginning of my fight back. An attempt to see if I can indeed alter the course of that flow & make my photographic decisions for my own reasons. To make a return to the style of photography that, in hindsight, resonated most  strongly with me over the years and perhaps revisit some of my earlier work from a time before even I realized what I wanted to do creatively.

The image below is not one of my best, its not even technically great, but it represents to me a kind of subconscious beginning of understanding that there was more to this business than just point-shoot-sell. It was the first time I thought that perhaps, contrary to my own belief, there was after all a slightly artistically tainted bone in my left foot somewhere, and if I gave it a little room it might just grow a little.

Black & White hand print. Grade 5.

Grade 5 Tree

There is a bit more to this tree than just the image. When I look back at the process of producing this image, from the day it was shot, seeing the image, though not the finished product at that time, through to the exploration of my gut feeling that there was something else behind it, I started to see for the first time that the image was more than just the silver on the page.

Also, my Sister really loves this image and I’m sure saw more in me than I did, so its a good one to start with I think.



Day Two: Room With A View

Wow, a no strings ticket to any destination at the speed of light. That’s not an easy one to decide upon, there are so many places on this planet that are worthy of the honor & so many that I haven’t yet visited. Even restricting myself to the places I have seen the list is so long.

I guess the one location I feel I have left things unfinished on all levels would be New York, New York.

Home to nearly 20 Million people, it is almost overwhelming in its density & pace. So many people having so many things to do and an endless amount of other people willing to help them do it. It’s worth mentioning that I have never been a city boy, though born & bread on the north side of Dublin I have always considered myself more of a lover of open spaces & natural surroundings. So it might seem a little strange that I would want to use my powers to magic myself to one of the busiest places on the planet that’s just heaving with bodies. Here’s why….

There are an endless amount of stories to be uncovered in the city that never sleeps.I have been here 5 times now but never have had the chance to take more than a short time to just sit & watch the world move by. Sure, you can sit for a coffee in one of the many, many outlets and have no end of things to comment on or write about but I want to go deeper. Stay longer.

When you look at a city like New York you often see the surface detail, like the skin on a cooling cup of hot milk. But the longer you look the deeper you will see. Things that have always been there but have just now magically appeared. Like pulling a veil from your eyes.

All the surface activity you thought you were familiar with now starts to break down into their constituent parts. The mass of traffic starts to shift into focus & suddenly you’re wondering about the van on the other end of the block that has been there for 15 min already. Is there something sinister going on like in a Hollywood blockbuster or is it just a bunch of guys delivering boxes.

And What about the kid on the corner watching the truck just like you. You try not to judge someone by their clothes & look but you can’t help having even the slightest of flashes. Is he eying up something in the back of the truck or is he just waiting for someone. He could have been there before the truck but you weren’t paying attention that long.

So many stories to be found in such a small area, like sown grass seeds in the ground. The closer you look the more you see have started to grow.IMG_4440

As a photographer I want to tell as many of these stories as I can but it can’t be done by just wading on in & thrashing about. You have to take the time to see below the surface. First impressions are great & I’m a big believer in them but you have to take the time out to see below the surface of the pond, discover the hidden tales in every encounter.

Images will come with your first impressions & they can often be great. But I want to be able to sit & let the tales develop just like the image on a sheet of paper in the darkroom. There is more to see, you just have to open your eyes give it time.


Day One: The wandering pen meets the wandering eye.

Ok, so the first of the blogging 101 tasks is finally here. But how to approach it.

Well, I guess being a photo blog I suppose we should treat it as any aimless photo project designed to stretch the creative synapses: just take the first shot & see where it leads you.

Its often been the way when stuck for inspiration I would pack the camera in to the bag, hop in the car with no destination in mind other than just…over there somewhere…. Sometimes this pays off, other times you are left with nothing other than a long drive or a few quiet hours, which in its self is no bad thing. However, I usually prefer to have at least one reasonable image to show for my time.

On the days when all the inspiration seems to have been washed down the gutter with the rain, or has just been sidetracked by an incoming phone call & coffee invitation, you can end up with absolutely nothing to show, or just a bunch of images that don’t even see it past the processing stage.

On the other hand, when you have opened your mind & eyes to the idea of being creative then things just start to show themselves to you. In terms that would make sense to the non photographer I guess you could say that its like muscle memory. When you have been driving for a few years it becomes automatic for you to press down with your left foot on the clutch as soon as you need to change gears. You don’t think about it, it just happens. In the same way, you can train yourself to see images in everything around you. You might be having coffee & the window light throwing shadows across your table catch your eye & the image just becomes obvious.

When you create the habit of seeing images, it stops being hard work. Some of the time.

Other times, you just have to answer that phone & head for that coffee, you never know, there may be an image in there for you somewhere.