As a photographer and artist I’m working with the concept of loss, loss inside the frame of the photograph, there might only be space to think or a landscape that needs words, If there are individuals filling the frames, they are moving or waiting to catch up with their loved ones or distant dreams.
Any city that has gone through changes or the loss of liberties or the basic needs that keep us all together I think can show in these moments. Hopefully it helps to remember that what we deserve will eventually come around to us and taking snapshots of the world around myself is my way of finding what I deserve.
Mainly practicing in street photography I combine a media element via text and double exposure to add a narrative that extends the idea of missing parts of a scape or atmosphere to the story. There is a also work that is purely remembrance in the guise of portraiture, so that I can say I have met some brilliant people, worked with brilliant people and this again hopefully helps me find my way.
Working in photography and digitised handwriting, I wanted to sum up the changes over the last twenty years or even more, of both Dublin’s life and my own, in the process of getting older, Feeling dislocated sometimes, I personalised the city as men do ships or rivers and imagined a woman who co-incidentally didn’t love or want to talk to me anymore. Not unlike say a government representative that cares only for your concern if it’s election season.
In order to change ‘her’ mind I send her supportive and sometimes honest messages using the cityscapes as a backdrop to lettering in my own hand. There is also a subtext under the work that looks at these issues of a two-tier society, mental health, loneliness and displacement with the feeling that one doesn’t belong in big cities. That maybe we just fade into the crowd but we should not forget to speak up and renege against that be better at ourselves and help with the progress that we all know is fairly due to us.
Thisplace is about 5 years old with 70 plus works completed.
Visiting Japan raises conversation, how different it is, how considerate they are. The Japanese are fond of their proverbs "Entering the village, obey the village"
This tells one to obey the rules of where you are; it shows the strong value placed on rules in a collective society for the better of all people. (Nihon-no-Kotowaza)
Could images captured reveal this difference and consideration. Can photographs here resonate, that the eyes of those caught or the atmospheres captured show something more than a casual glimpse of this different world, far away, unattainable, but show us something of their ways, how to hold oneself. Are the Japanese really more courteous than ourselves? or have we sometimes just forgotten consideration in a busy world, a world for the few versus us all?
Remembering that the clock at Clerys was the only place in Dublin central enough in the city you could meet someone at, and yet not get lost, Everyone knew that place.
Now that the Spire has taken it’s prominence, it literally is the centre of the universe as people in hope, frustration and eventually joy meet their loved ones and those associated with the next part of their day.
At the place where Nelsons column used to be, If you wait long enough you’ll meet the world. There is an unspoken calm at this place in the busiest part of the city, You see those who want to be found saying nothing, shifting on their feet and hoping to be inconspicuous.
John Nolan’s [the owner of Sides dance club] legacy of committing a serious crime in travelling to New York and London to experience something other than the dark hand of an ever ominous catholic / Irish dancing regime, busy dealing in the fear of a silent deity from above, one watching in a disapproving glare in opulent gowns of silk etc. that nothing other than austerity of actions such as dancing too close to another, licking face, crying your eyes out to piano breaks or the acapellas of Martha Wash. Kym Sims, Rozella could fix. You where not allowed to wear black unless you fondled the ‘Lord of the Dance’ in the great houses all around the vicinities of the working class heartbroken.
It seemed two faced.
Fuck that. Seething at the edge of ceili dances, repression still being shoved down necks, some of us had moved on and into worlds like Voodoo Ray, British Knights, Fila, Abbey Discs, Moschino, Fred Perry, Casper and mixed cassettes. The tastes for the astral got more diverse too; everyone was in a whirlpool it seemed to me, Petulia oil, Acid, poppers, Ritz cider, Mitsubishis and the smell of artificial strawberry fog.
I was in the corner, I couldn’t get out because I couldn’t see anything for the longest time. All I could hear was Belfast and Chime by Orbital on the largest sound system of Liam Fitzpatricks Sides excursion. Smoking Major, lazy perfect sync mixing, the dances had a touch of soul to them with hands pumping down and the shoes not leaving the floor, Big Ivan was the king here, his gaze un-wavered by the sheer smells and sensory of it, too big to deal with, the only thing you could do was witness. How the fuck did I get into this place? I wore a red shirt with one white stripe down each arm and that was my emblem of speed through these times.
My heart really couldn’t take the wait. Anytime since and even recently waiting in line to get into a club or any music thing, I feel the pressure again like that initial night. The door was heavily guarded but not to let anyone or anything out but anything in. Challenge. Eyes down you think if you don’t see the disaster unfolding then it never happened. Getting past security. The history of refusals must be epic at the epic list of clubs across the modern world in the early 90’s and surely it’s New York, Chicago, London, Berlin where the music we craved came from, those where the highest casualties at front doors of all the desirable venues. But we had our troubles getting into Sides in Dublin.
“Stand behind me” Martin Clarke, said, a skinny longhaired redhead who had done this all before with panache. He was a friend from Cabra who had told me endless stories of the experience, the music, the sound system, the people…Protecting the young he was there in front and safely I used him to cover me as I glanced up to see if it was okay. We get to the door. A black door engrained in my heart as the best door I ever walked through. Maybe Warhol thought the same of the Silver Factory door. 231 East 47th or Spiro at Sankeys, Beehive Mill, Ancoats, Frankie Knuckles going through the tradesman’s entrance at The Continental baths. Belmont ave, Andos church, Drury Buildings.
It was going to be okay because I had been given a signal. Martin turns slowly back to me and he always had that evil smile, the end of something, the start of something. The sound was rumbling from the club below, later on Dame street someone from East wall had brought a boombox and it was a cassette recording from Tongs early essential selection on BBC and 200 people were dancing on the street after being pushed out onto the street, no cabs, just dancing. We were family.
The hinges and the paint off those edges of that door. If I could just reach out and place my hand on them, hold my fathers hand again and tell him how incredible that time was. But it faded on me, it all faded until I remembered I might have some photos of that time, of recently.
Door opens “No…stand back” door closes. Hanging in front of me is a pall of smoke vaguely red in colour and a distinctive strawberry scent that had escaped the security. It was not unlike being kissed on the neck by a Swedish princess. Jo Malone.
Mesmeric. Stunned. Hands in pockets, checking money for going home, it might be over before the start had come, but there’s 50 people behind me and 150 downstairs by the sound of it. Martin Clarke knows the guy, they look, and it looks like it’s a yes, sliding past I smell dentine chewing gum and see black stairs, red strip lights, moisture on the walls, wooden floorboards, Strawberries. Strawberries. Poppers, Petulia, Polish, Bleach,
Always There by Incognito. House music. 1992.
Nothing happens on Tuesdays. Wouldn’t you agree?