Category Archives: Ireland

Black and White Monday: Silver on the water

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, ​The Lord of the Rings​)

Silver on the water

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Black and White Monday

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THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Black and White Monday: Mercy

Trócaire - Mercy [shooting language]
Trocáire is an Irish word meaning ‘mercy’.


Scenes in search of characters

Visiting Dublin last December, I made sure to include a day at the National Gallery. There I made a new acquaintance – the paintings of Jack B. Yeats. Sure, I had seen some of his images gracing book covers and illustrating chapters on Irish history, but I had never taken the time to explore his images for themselves.

There were many different things that fascinated me about his images; fodder for far more than one blog post. What I want to share here is a series of Yeats’s paintings called Four Scenes in Search of Characters. I could only see one of them displayed in the gallery, and I’ve managed to find only one other online.

So unfortunately I have only seen two of the four paintings in this series, and yet I am very fascinated by the two I have seen.

According to the National Gallery online display linked to above, the images in this series were painted as stage sets. From that comes the name of the series – being intended for the theatre, they are backdrops waiting to be complemented by the characters of a play.

I live here now.I couldn’t help but see the similarity between Yeats’s images and my own experiences when travelling. What else is a hotel room but a blank canvas, a backdrop for the individual experiences of each traveller visiting?

Furthermore I began to wonder how to portray scenes in search of characters with my camera. My images feature people very rarely; my closest friends and family are very camera shy, and I am too shy myself to photograph strangers. So I wonder if I can turn the absence of characters into a photographic strength, into a storytelling feature, a trigger of the imagination?

One image that fits this idea is shown here. This is from my hotel room in Dublin, portraying the feeling I always have that I am more at home in a hotel when some of my things are scattered around, like a book on the nightstand, or, like here, a lipstick and some hairclips on the sink in the bathroom.

This image, then, holds strong memories for me of an interesting weekend spent in Dublin. However, I also see the absence of people and the seeds of a story in it, as if an unknown woman just exited the bathroom after applying her lipstick.

In sum, it all comes down to the ever-present desire to tell stories through photography, a desire I hope shall never leave me.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85057042@N00/5246741717/&#8221; title=”I live here now. by jennifée {busy but trying to catch up}, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5245/5246741717_74be2ebef8.jpg&#8221; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”I live here now.” /></a>

Shiny Season

Shiny necklace
I appreciate shiny baubles as much as the next girl. However, this necklace is so much more than a stylish accessory. Rather, it’s a reminder of what is the most important with Christmas for me – the reminder of how grateful I am for my family and friends.

A few weeks ago, Mum and I took a weekend trip to Dublin. Walking through Temple Bar, we came across a stall where Courtney Designs was selling the most wonderful jewellery. Both Mum and I were immediately entranced. Mum asked me what I thought of the necklace pictured above. I assumed she was asking me my opinion on whether or not she should buy it. I thought it was gorgeous and would fit her well, and said so. She bought the necklace, and I thought no more of it.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. I’m unwrapping a small present from Mum, and what do I find but a box containing the necklace! My thoughtful mother apparently intended for me to have it all along and I was truly touched – one of the many small Christmas moments that now shine in my memory.


Witching

Day 28: The Great Pumpkin

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business, as the day
Would quake to look on.
–William Shakespeare, Hamlet


The Otherworld

What if there is an Otherworld, parallel to but distinct from our own world, that we can only access if the conditions are right?

Halloween would be such a time, the old Samhain, when the veil between the worlds would thin.

Also, the two worlds meet in the between states, the times and places inbetween – doorways and gates, rivers, the solstices, staircases, and so on.

And we just might catch a glimpse of the Otherworld in the beauty of autumn, which shines out so strongly in between the lush life of summer and the stark death of winter.

I took this image today, but it has already become one of my personal favourites. It is a happy accident – I unintentionally overexposed it, and then I darkened it just a very little and added a white vignette in post processing. A touch of accidental magic that promises well for the rest of the week.

For Best Shot Monday.