In 2002, I visited Cluan Place in East Belfast for the first time. I was visiting a couple of homes in the street, – people who were parishioners of a church that I belonged to at the time. The reason for my visit was to see if their homes had been damaged in the rioting that was taking place at that time. Cluan Place lies right on one of the Belfast interface lines, ‘peace-walls’ seperating two communities. In the case of Cluan Place, it interfaced with the largely republican Short Strand area. In 2002 friction between the two communities was at a height, and there was a constant police presence to keep the warring factions apart. One of my friends in the street was an ederly man who had found a pipe bomb in his garden; it had been lobbed over the wall from the other side.
In August this year I had occasion to visit the street again. It’s fifteen years from my first visit, and I havent been there since, and I wondered how the community and the atmosphere had changed. was there still that fearfullness, that alertness of suuden attack? was there a constant police landrover sitting at the single entrance to the cul de sac?
Needless to say, I had a film camera with me. I never go anywhere without one, so after my visit with one of the residents I did some photographs. I hope they paint a small picture of life in Cluan Place 15 years on.
The other side of the wall is Short Strand, equally smitten in 2002, – here’s some pictures of the wall from the Short Strand side, and a lovely new building, on the site where the old ‘Picturedrome’ cinema once stood.
If I had to choose my ‘image of the day’ – it would probably be this one, for after all, like life the summer barbecues go on!
Botanic Avenue Belfast, known locally as part of ‘The Golden Mile’ – comes alive at night, with hotels, classy restaurants, coffee shops, bars, music venues all serving their visitors and clients. This image was made at 9pm in October 2008, using the full frame Nikon D700 Camera, on a monopod, with 24mm lens, 1/20th second @ f/4, on ISO1250.
Family is important. It’s good to make memories and record family relationships on a regular basis, and to capture images that will be good enough to frame and hang in the family home. Traditionally, this is the work of the professional photographer, who has the proper training, equipment and experience to produce fantastic images.
So, we always welcome families to the studio at Dundonald – like these three happy sisters…
Sometimes it’s a good practice to look back at image one has made over the years, – with a critical eye! Here’s a few I’ve been mulling over recently:-
This image of the Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry was part of a commercial commission. The brief was to show the effect of the lights on the wall opposite the Theatre.
This simple image of Slieve Bunion, in Co Down, part of the ‘Mountains of Mourne’ range has been one of my very best sellers! I’ve sold this image in framed prints, magnets, even mugs!
This image of Ballycopeland Windmill in Co. Down is a real quirk, as anyone who knows it would realise! It is of course, heavily photoshopped, to show the sun rising in the North! Just for a wee change.
And finally, for this selection, an image that’s just a little more personal…
This image of Janette’s parent’s old kitchen, after they’d moved out of the farmhouse, was part of an exhibition at the Curve Gallery, Belfast. I called it ‘Dereliction.’
Excitement! Just in time for the Christmas Gift Season, Bob has introduced a series of Black and White Giclee Prints, high quality, Black and White Images featuring iconic but lesser known Irish Scenes and Landscapes – available as Mounted Prints – ideal for shipping abroad – or as Framed Prints.
Limited Editions – there are only 120 of each of these prints available for sale, each one signed, numbered and dated by the photographer. Check out the order page here:
A visit to the cafe at Dundonald Old Mill is an opportunity to make an image of the historic mill waterwheel at the building. I photographed it from several angles, using the Nikon F100, and a role of Ilford Delta ISO100. Here’s one of the resulting images…
Driving in the lovely Autumn sunshine today, near Purdysburn, outside Belfast, I came across this old, isolated gatepost, just begging to be photographed! Observe the texture in the old post, and the background and foreground interest in the image, giving it a sense of depth and distance.
At a funeral on the Shankill Road in Belfast this morning, we had a horse-drawn hearse! But what a surprise when a second horse-drawn hearse came down the road, from another funeral director’s office! These black horses and ornate carriages are very beautiful indeed, which contrasts greatly with their environment for this solemn task they must perform, for they are standing in a grubby unlived-in side street in Belfast, with graffiti-strewn walls and grimy murals.
On Friday 12th September 2015, between appointments, I took a stroll through Alexandra Park, in north Belfast. It was a poignant, nostalgic break in an otherwise mundane day, for I hadn’t gone to this park to exercise my legs, but to exercise my memory. My grandparents, Bob and Jeannie Kirk had lived in this park, in the gardener’s house, in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Bob Kirk had been the foreman gardener at Glenbank Park in Ligoneil (where I was born) and his move to Alexandra Park as forman gardener would have been seen as a promotion. He took up residence in the Park Lodge, and remained there until retirement in 1965. While they lived there, I spent many happy days and evenings with them, travelling over by bus, down the Falls Road, and catching the No.77 Belfast Corporation Bus, (That famous bus route that wound through the streets of Belfast from the Gasworks to the Waterworks) alighting at the Waterworks.