Category Archives: News and Commentary

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

I’m starting to panic! In another six months or so, I’ll be an OAP! A ’Senior Citizen!’ Now, I’m not in any way thinking that on my 65th birthday I’ll be locking the studio door and throwing away the key! That’s not going to happen – not in this day and age, – but I’m curious as to how I’m going to practice photography with the same drive and enthusiasm when it’s no longer my source of income! A recent read through a photography degree course curriculum confirmed my own thoughts. One of the modules was ‘Developing a Strategy for Personal Progress’ So what’s MY strategy – for when retirement finally kicks in?

Continue reading Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

Cluan Place, Belfast – 15 years on.

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.

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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!

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#Randalstown 12th Day Photos

Tuesday, 12th July 2016

Even if you’re not a big fan of marching bands, orange lodges, banners , big crowds and noise, the annual 12th July parades in Northern Ireland are a fertile hunting ground for a photographer with a love for photographing people in reportage style environmental portraits. I always advise avoiding the Belfast parade, – too much ‘in your face’ politics, – so seek out a nice wee country walk, find a quiet spot where there’s not too many people, and aim for the quirky hats, the puffed-out fluters, pipe majors, the big drummers, the colour and the spectacle – try to get the walk home from the demonstration field, – by that time the bandsmen will be letting their hair down a bit, the rules are not so rigid, and funny walks, painted faces and daft headwear make for a more carnival like atmosphere, rather than the stricter, more regimental atmosphere of the outward processions. Continue reading #Randalstown 12th Day Photos

Helping Preserve Memories

Today I had the privilege of attending the funeral of Pastor Israel Ojo in the Covenant of Love Church in Belfast, and photographing the event for his loved ones, – a lasting tribute, and memorial.  Pastor Ojo has many friends and relations abroad, and the on-line gallery can be accessed from all over the world, so that they will see around 200 images made through the day, all over the world.

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Many thanks to Pastor Ojo’s family, for allowing me to share in their day, and for commissioning me for this event, to Pastor Kevin Sambrooke for his patience and for permission to make images throughout the service, and to James Brown and Son, whose staff were very helpful and friendly.

It’s being able to share in people’s lives like this that makes professional photography a very special vocation indeed.

More iPhone Photo-Journalism

Photo-journalism may be nothing more than capturing an instant in time, and preserving it, and in these days of instant digital communications, that may simply involve lifting an iPhone or similar device.  As I passed the end of the Carrickmannon Cross-Roads on Friday morning, I noticed that one of our church members had been out with a sledge hammer – doing a bit of impromptu advertising (probably illegal too! – but then the government here in NI can’t even afford to cut the grass at the roadsides, so its unlikely anyone will care about an extra sign for a week or so)

An image was called for – so out came the iPhone, and I have an instant record, to be used later in a presentation on church work in the area.

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And, don’t you think our beautiful, undulating Co. Down countryside is totally beautiful?

Folicularly-enhanced Orangemen!

I couldn’t resist this shot.

Walking away from a parade I noticed this gentleman walking in front of me.  The look (even from behind) is so incongruous, that it was begging for a photograph.  The media and popular perception of members of the Orange Order is as stuffy, staid, conservative, old men.  This man just blows those impressions right out of the water!

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Here’s the techie stuff:

Nikon D700, 1/250th sec @ f/2.8 on ISO400.  Lens at 70mm

 

Brownlow House, Lurgan

Brownlow House

Browlow House in Lurgan, CoArmagh is the headquarters of the Royal Black Institution. Also known as Lurgan Castle, it was built as the home of the Brownlow family – once owners of the celebrated greyhound Master McGrath.

Today it is a popular venue for weddings and it was in that context I visited it today. Rain prevented a photograph of the building itself, but here’s a few other images from the visit.