Ireland, Landscapes, Vernacular architecture

Visiting Clare Island

Two months has passed since visiting Clare Island in the west of Ireland: It seems like years. I first visited the island thirty years ago. My memories are vague, but I remember spending the night there after my great uncle – an island resident, and lighthouse keeper – insisted we spend the night.

Looking back to the mainland as we head towards the Island; the scenery was spectacular.

Local Architecture; new and old. If walls could talk!

Home, sweet (temporary) home. One thing I really loved about Clare Island was the fact that there were no manicured lawns anywhere. The small areas of land that were not in use for sheep grazing or agriculture were used to grow vegetables and herbs by, and for, the residents.

The younger kids didn’t appreciate the 3km walk we made – on more than one occasion – daily.

Amazing scenery: Original potato drills from the famine era are still visible.

The impressive Croagh Patrick across Clew Bay in the distance. 

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Traditional Currachs used for fishing in Clew Bay.

A few days before our arrival, a local man lost his life while using a currach similar to those in the photo. It was the first drowning on the island in 90 years, and the atmosphere was very solemn. The water was pretty choppy for August; I can only imagine how rough it gets during the stormy winter months.

We spent one full day on the beach – from low tide to high tide. It was possibly the best day we had all summer; 25C degrees, blue skies, no wind, and crystal clear waters. I swam more that day than I did during June and July.

Our point of departure/arrival on the mainland, with Clare Island’s distinct profile in the background.

I can’t wait to go back to Clare Island – ideally I would like to spend a full year there to experience the four seasons, and immerse myself in the islanders life. Until then, Clare Island, you remain in my thought and dreams.

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Photography, photojournalism, Vernacular architecture

Vernacular Unspectacular #2

Following on from my recent Vernacular Unpectacular posting, I was pointed – during a tutorial – in the direction of Raymond Moore, photographer; a man who in his own words tried to photograph “the magic that lies beneath the surface of things”.

The photographs below were taken prior to looking at Raymond Moore’s work, which is really interesting and challenging.

When I set out to document these rural vernacular buildings, I didn’t fully think about what exactly I was photographing. I guess there was some hidden desire to try and capture a sense of place, a sense of the history, some kind of resonant energy,  and its entirely probable that these images also reflect some inner state of being at the time of pushing the button.

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Photography, photojournalism

Kiln Firing, The Potters Yard

I can’t believe it’s almost one year since beginning the MA in photojournalism and Documentary Photography course. Where has the time gone? So far it has been a very positive experience and I have met many new people as a result.

One of our first assignments was to photograph a person at work. I approached a local potter, Patricia Howard, and she was very welcoming. That was January 2011. I have since been over to Patricia’s Potters Yard on a few occasions for different events.

Early in December she invited me over to experience and photograph the annual firing of her self-made kiln, or ‘The Dragon’ as she calls it. I have many photos from that evening which I will post in the coming week in some form of edit.

Until then, behold The Dragon….

 

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Photography

Vernacular Unspectacular

I recently started documenting the rural vernacular buildings of my locality. The long-term plan is to record these important records of our architectural and social heritage before they crumble, and merge with the landscape. Of course many of these are still in use, and it is great to see that people still find these worthy of preservation.

Many of these buildings are hundreds of years old, and are a testament to the coming together of communities of skilled people.

I have started taking thse pictures on a Leica M6 with 35mm Summicron lens in with black and white film. It seemed the logical thing to do. However, I will also be experimenting with digital colour, and medium format, before deciding on the most appropriate method of this documenting process.

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