Interview with a Vampire?

Portraits, Technical

 

First of all it would be unfair to assume that all persons originating from Transylvania are Vampires. I live with one and my neck is relatively bite-free. I do, however keep a large garland of the age-old pungent rose in our kitchen. Joking aside, the reason I am interviewing this interesting gentleman today is to show the determination he had to provide for his family through a really tough Communist regime. These were times without Facebook and camera-phones, where making a side-living from photography could have landed him in serious trouble with the Romanian Securitate resulting in substantial fines, and even Jail. I got to know Dorin Avram and his family through my partner who happens to be his niece.

When did your passion for takings photographs begin?

“I always liked the Photography.  After I got married and we had the kids, I started it professionally to make a second income.”

Is there a photographer that you particularly liked back then?

“No, there was none.” (It’s important to state here that during Communism, only classic literature and political propaganda would have been stocked in the libraries. Researching photographers would have been near impossible).

What year did you start taking photographs to make extra income and what camera did you use?

” It was in the year of 1986. The camera was a  Zenit 35mm Rangefinder. I did weddings, baptism, birthdays and all kinds of family portraits”.

I assume you couldn’t send your negatives to a camera store to develop and print them. How did you get your hands on the chemicals and paper?

“Well, the photo paper I bought now and then from photo shops, but in bigger amounts for storage, and the solutions too at first. Later on I bought the chemicals from the pharmacy and mixed the solutions myself. I had a scale, that was very accurate. You had to have the exact amount of each chemical for the solution!”

Roughly how long during the Communist regime were you in business for?

“From 1986 until 1991 when we left Romania to come to Germany. The communist regime ended 1990, so I did it for about five years.”

It’s said that one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate*. Where did you do your processing and was it well hidden?

“There was a secret room in our apartment, which was my laboratory/ darkroom. I think it was around 1.5 by 2 meters long or something like that. The door to it was our coat rack and you could open it, if you pulled a secret crank and rolled the door open. The door was really heavy.”

I’m sure everyone would love to see how you organised yourself. Could you draw a quick picture of the set up?

If you were caught by the authorities what was the penalty?

“It was a high monetary penalty. How much it was, I don’t remember. Prison was less the case.”

Do you think people are as passionate about photography now, as you were back then?

“I think yes! I see Artemis for example; she takes pictures of everything… I think she is more passionate about it now than I was then. I tried a lot back then and I did everything myself (developing etc.), but today I think it would be too expensive for me…

Were there any moments when young children would sneak in and open the secret door, or turn on the light by accident, destroying your pictures?  For example young Artemis or Alexandru?

“Yes… but only the pictures on the paper were damaged, but it almost never happened. It wasn’t as tragic, because the film itself wasn’t damaged and I could just do it again and I had always enough photo paper.

Last year, at your son Alexandru’s wedding in Germany, I saw you with a Canon DSLR. Do you prefer digital cameras now, or do you still have a love for the old film?

“I prefer the digital photography, it’s so much easier!”

Would you ever get back into taking pictures for a living, or have you ‘hung up your boxing gloves’?

“If I could make good money again then probably I would.”

10-year college reunion partyBaptism group photobaptismfamily portrait

*Control over society became stricter and stricter, with an East German-style phone bugging system installed, and with Securitate recruiting more agents, extending censorship and keeping tabs and records on a large segment of the population. By 1989, according to CNSAS (the Council for Studies of the Archives of the Former Securitate), one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate. Due to this state of affairs, income from tourism dropped substantially by 75%, with the three main tour operators that organized trips in Romania leaving the country by 1987.

The Monster Under the Bed. Part One.

Regular Update

My Mother has one, my Grandparents have one and even I have one. There’s a very good chance we all have one. In one way or another we all have a box under our bed. It could be a shoe box or an album, in our hard drives or your Facebook page. We all have a collection of past memories documented in the most basic, yet powerful, form. I’m talking, of course, about our past photographs. Some of the memories we cherish, others we grimmace at. Either way we cant hide from the power that grips us when we are exposed to the monster of our past. The monster of Photography.

So where did it all start, and what genius occurred in order that we could take a photo of granny making an idiot of herself in her Santa hat? I found this timeline which makes for very interesting reading. Credit goes to Philip Greenspun of Photo.net

  • ancient times: Camera obscuras used to form images on walls in darkened rooms; image formation via a pinhole
  • 16th century: Brightness and clarity of camera obscuras improved by enlarging the hole inserting a telescope lens
  • 17th century: Camera obscuras in frequent use by artists and made portable in the form of sedan chairs
  • 1727: Professor J. Schulze mixes chalk, nitric acid, and silver in a flask; notices darkening on side of flask exposed to sunlight. Accidental creation of the first photo-sensitive compound.
  • 1800: Thomas Wedgwood makes “sun pictures” by placing opaque objects on leather treated with silver nitrate; resulting images deteriorated rapidly, however, if displayed under light stronger than from candles.
  • 1816: Nicéphore Niépce combines the camera obscura with photosensitive paper
  • 1826: Niépce creates a permanent image
  • 1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
  • 1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and “developed” with warmed mercury; Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.
  • 1841: Talbot patents his process under the name “calotype”.
  • 1851: Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, improves photographic resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the process was published but not patented.
  • 1853: Nadar (Felix Toumachon) opens his portrait studio in Paris
  • 1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in portrait studios for the next decade
  • 1855: Beginning of stereoscopic era
  • 1855-57: Direct positive images on glass (ambrotypes) and metal (tintypes or ferrotypes) popular in the US.
  • 1861: Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell demonstrates a color photography system involving three black and white photographs, each taken through a red, green, or blue filter. The photos were turned into lantern slides and projected in registration with the same color filters. This is the “color separation” method.
  • 1861-65: Mathew Brady and staff (mostly staff) covers the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negatives
  • 1868: Ducas de Hauron publishes a book proposing a variety of methods for color photography.
  • 1870: Center of period in which the US Congress sent photographers out to the West. The most famous images were taken by William Jackson and Tim O’Sullivan.
  • 1871: Richard Leach Maddox, an English doctor, proposes the use of an emulsion of gelatin and silver bromide on a glass plate, the “dry plate” process.
  • 1877: Eadweard Muybridge, born in England as Edward Muggridge, settles “do a horse’s four hooves ever leave the ground at once” bet among rich San Franciscans by time-sequenced photography of Leland Stanford’s horse.
  • 1878: Dry plates being manufactured commercially.
  • 1880: George Eastman, age 24, sets up Eastman Dry Plate Company in Rochester, New York. First half-tone photograph appears in a daily newspaper, the New York Graphic.
  • 1888: First Kodak camera, containing a 20-foot roll of paper, enough for 100 2.5-inch diameter circular pictures.
  • 1889: Improved Kodak camera with roll of film instead of paper
  • 1890: Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives, images of tenament life in New york City
  • 1900: Kodak Brownie box roll-film camera introduced.
  • 1902: Alfred Stieglitz organizes “Photo Secessionist” show in New York City
  • 1906: Availability of panchromatic black and white film and therefore high quality color separation color photography. J.P. Morgan finances Edward Curtis to document the traditional culture of the North American Indian.
  • 1907: First commercial color film, the Autochrome plates, manufactured by Lumiere brothers in France
  • 1909: Lewis Hine hired by US National Child Labor Committee to photograph children working mills.
  • 1914: Oscar Barnack, employed by German microscope manufacturer Leitz, develops camera using the modern 24x36mm frame and sprocketed 35mm movie film.
  • 1917: Nippon Kogaku K.K., which will eventually become Nikon, established in Tokyo.
  • 1921: Man Ray begins making photograms (“rayographs”) by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing the shadow cast by a distant light bulb; Eugegrave;ne Atget, aged 64, assigned to photograph the brothels of Paris
  • 1924: Leitz markets a derivative of Barnack’s camera commercially as the “Leica”, the first high quality 35mm camera.
  • 1925: André Kertész moves from his native Hungary to Paris, where he begins an 11-year project photographing street life
  • 1928: Albert Renger-Patzsch publishes The World is Beautiful, close-ups emphasizing the form of natural and man-made objects; Rollei introduces the Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex producing a 6×6 cm image on rollfilm.; Karl Blossfeldt publishes Art Forms in Nature
  • 1931: Development of strobe photography by Harold (“Doc”) Edgerton at MIT
  • 1932: Inception of Technicolor for movies, where three black and white negatives were made in the same camera under different filters; Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Weston, et al, form Group f/64 dedicated to “straight photographic thought and production”.; Henri Cartier-Bresson buys a Leica and begins a 60-year career photographing people; On March 14, George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note–“My work is done. Why wait?”–and shoots himself.
  • 1933: Brassaï publishes Paris de nuit
  • 1934: Fuji Photo Film founded. By 1938, Fuji is making cameras and lenses in addition to film.
  • 1935: Farm Security Administration hires Roy Stryker to run a historical section. Stryker would hire Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, et al. to photograph rural hardships over the next six years. Roman Vishniac begins his project of the soon-to-be-killed-by-their-neighbors Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • 1936: Development of Kodachrome, the first color multi-layered color film; development of Exakta, pioneering 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera
  • World War II:
    • Development of multi-layer color negative films
    • Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Carl Mydans, and W. Eugene Smith cover the war for LIFE magazine
  • 1947: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour start the photographer-owned Magnum picture agency
  • 1948: Hasselblad in Sweden offers its first medium-format SLR for commercial sale; Pentax in Japan introduces the automatic diaphragm; Polaroid sells instant black and white film
  • 1949: East German Zeiss develops the Contax S, first SLR with an unreversed image in a pentaprism viewfinder
  • 1955: Edward Steichen curates Family of Man exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art
  • 1959: Nikon F introduced.
  • 1960: Garry Winogrand begins photographing women on the streets of New York City.
  • 1963: First color instant film developed by Polaroid; Instamatic released by Kodak; first purpose-built underwater introduced, the Nikonos
  • 1970: William Wegman begins photographing his Weimaraner, Man Ray.
  • 1972: 110-format cameras introduced by Kodak with a 13x17mm frame
  • 1973: C-41 color negative process introduced, replacing C-22
  • 1975: Nicholas Nixon takes his first annual photograph of his wife and her sisters: “The Brown Sisters”; Steve Sasson at Kodak builds the first working CCD-based digital still camera
  • 1976: First solo show of color photographs at the Museum of Modern Art, William Eggleston’s Guide
  • 1977: Cindy Sherman begins work on Untitled Film Stills, completed in 1980; Jan Groover begins exploring kitchen utensils
  • 1978: Hiroshi Sugimoto begins work on seascapes.
  • 1980: Elsa Dorfman begins making portraits with the 20×24″ Polaroid.
  • 1982: Sony demonstrates Mavica “still video” camera
  • 1983: Kodak introduces disk camera, using an 8x11mm frame (the same as in the Minox spy camera)
  • 1985: Minolta markets the world’s first autofocus SLR system (called “Maxxum” in the US);In the American West by Richard Avedon
  • 1988Sally Mann begins publishing nude photos of her children
  • 1987: The popular Canon EOS system introduced, with new all-electronic lens mount
  • 1990: Adobe Photoshop released.
  • 1991: Kodak DCS-100, first digital SLR, a modified Nikon F3
  • 1992: Kodak introduces PhotoCD
  • 1993: Founding of photo.net (this Web site), an early Internet online community; Sebastiao Salgado publishes WorkersMary Ellen Mark publishes book documenting life in an Indian circus.
  • 1995Material World, by Peter Menzel published.
  • 1997: Rob Silvers publishes Photomosaics
  • 1999: Nikon D1 SLR, 2.74 megapixel for $6000, first ground-up DSLR design by a leading manufacturer.
  • 2000: Camera phone introduced in Japan by Sharp/J-Phone
  • 2001: Polaroid goes bankrupt
  • 2003: Four-Thirds standard for compact digital SLRs introduced with the Olympus E-1; Canon Digital Rebel introduced for less than $1000
  • 2004: Kodak ceases production of film cameras
  • 2005: Canon EOS 5D, first consumer-priced full-frame digital SLR, with a 24x36mm CMOS sensor for $3000; Portraits by Rineke Dijkstra

 

Where on earth would we be without it? I hate to say it but we would be lost, then forgotten, without Photography. Part two coming soon. In the post I will telling my story of the positives and negatives of keeping a family photographic archive.

Copy This, Canon.

Regular Update

As a follow up to the lens-less camera post earlier, Camera Obscura, I thought I’d explore another means in which to take a picture without a lens. Inspired by those age-old office party bum shots I thought I’d try a photocopier. Well, a modern day document scanner. So I set about it with a shelf of old camera junk, and my head.

Here are the results.

Although it looks a little creepy it was very quick to do and free if you already have a scanner!

Get to it, get copying. Lee.

“We can’t both have one my dear, I’ll be a gentleman and shave mine off..”

Portraits

But not in Movember.

It’s coming near to the end of the month, and all around the city the Moustaches are shaping up. The variations are endless and I’ve seen pretty much all that can be achieved from “the original” to “the Zappa” and everything in between. The Dali, Fu Manchu, Handlebar, Imperial, Horshoe, Pencil, Toothbrush, Walrus, Chevron etc……

The charity’s policy is simple.

“Once registered at movember.com each Mo Bro must begin his hairy journey on the 1st of Movember with a smooth, clean shaven face. If you join the campaign a few day late don’t worry, the Mo the merrier. For the entire month each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache and here’s where a few basic rules come in, there is to be no joining of the mo to the sideburns (that’s considered a beard), there’s to be no joining of the handlebars to the chin (that’s considered a goatee) and each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.” credit.

In our local bar all five of the barmen were rounded up by the “Mo Sis” (The ladies must organise the gentlemen by distributing the collection pots and generally run each specific campaign). I’ve heard they raised a great sum of cash for the Men’s health organisations, and everyone who participated had a great time doing it.

When I saw the iPhone photos posted on Facebook I decided to rob them, and place the head-shots into the appropriate environment for each moustache.

This might cheer up the dull weather..

These edited images are going to be on full display in the bar on the official collection night. So if you happen to be in Dublin on Friday 23rd November then pop down to Ryans of Parkgate and donate a little towards a great charity. Just in case you’re wondering, it also happens to be the best bar for Guiness in the area too. You’re welcome.

Take a Long Walk off a Short Pier

Regular Update

The Howth Marina Shot Collection. Commissioned by Ray McCabe of McCabe’s Deli’s.

All image credits.

I was asked to think about taking a few shots for a new cafe opening down on the River Liffey by Mr. McCabe himself. He loved the fact that the opening was going to coincide with the Dublin Tall Ships festival arriving down the Liffey in late summer. As a result he wanted nautical themed pictures that would look great even when the festival was over and the ships had sailed. As his new branch is a stone’s throw from Dublin’s central artery, this made perfect sense. I thought about it for a couple of days and decided that the best place to fit the brief was the Howth Marina, situated thirteen kilometres north of Dublin. Emails were sent and within a day or two I had the location set. I packed a lunch, warm jumper and weatherproof jacket and set off. I knew Ray was looking for around eight images, so if I aimed for about ten to fifteen, he’d at least have a choice. Here are a small selection of the final prints I’ve chosen to show you which will give you an insight to what was going through my head that day with regard to fitting the brief and the customer’s specifications.

Finding texture is always a great way to make dirty old objects look pleasing to the eye.

Its always good to look up, especially when there are no options at eye-level. A fun and simple shot.

Always remember the target audience. I don’t want to give the coffee drinkers a headache before they go back to work. I tried to emulate the mood of the sleepy-head here with a peaceful shot of the yachts.

When looking up still brings no joy, look out.

Keep it simple, over-cluttered images are not easy to view. You wont win the hearts of the tea-ladies if you don’t. I figured if my granny didn’t like it, well…

Think about the main image. This could easily be the first image customers see. Treat the commission like a gallery. Each viewing should transition smoothly to the next.

The end of a long day in the office. Time to go home. Your collection is complete and the project is concluded. It’s also a peaceful image to send your viewer on his way.

I had the lass in the print shop finish off the days work which she then submitted to Ray and he was delighted. He just received a custom collection for a great price, and in the space of a couple of days. Aim to be a little cheaper and a whole lot more reliable. I think this small business tip should fare you well. Three jobs like this per week would make life very comfortable indeed and would make the Canon 5D mkiii seem ever that little bit closer to being mine. Ach, I’m dreaming again, till next time.

Quick Guide to Gig Shots

Technical

When asked to go down and take shots of your mates band make sure you do it justice. Every job you encounter will take you on to the next, so make sure it’s correctly executed. You can be sure that if you’re last shoot was a little lazy then you will only get half the cash for the next one if anything at all! You should be aiming to increase your income. Not eventually be that guy who works for free but it’s ok because he’s not that great. Even if it is your best pal’s first live performance do the best you can. I have to make it clear though, some free work is never a bad idea if you know it may lead on to another project.

  • In order to set up your camera correctly to allow for all available light in the venue, you’ll have to get down there the day before and check for yourself.
  • I usually bump up the ISO to 800 or 1600.
  • Change mode to monotone (Most will tell you not too but I get faster, clearer, sharper images when the camera doesn’t have to process colour).
  • Use a fast prime lens like the super reliable 50mm. Best investment I ever made and not a great expense either. For Canon. For Nikon. The 50mm prime lets in a whole heap of light with its shallow depth of field. This allows you pinpoint the exact location of your viewer’s attention.
  • Try to leave your flash at home. Good flashes are not cheap and this will ruin your hot-shoe connection if someone knocks it, trust me. Fixing your camera’s hotshoe and a broken flash will destroy your insurance policy.
  • Get to know the whole band, not just the lead guy, to the point that when you’re snapping away, they will not be distracted by your presence during a song. And when you want them to turn and face you, all you have to do is gesture slightly. Do not take the attention away from the stage!
  • Do hand out business cards. It’ll quickly get fans to leave you with some space to work if they think they are helping you promote their favourite band. Speaking of which use the Security guys if things get out of hand. Equipment damaged by beer and elbows quickly adds up. Think about insurance.

I think I’ve covered all the technical aspects, now it’s up to you to get out there and capture what makes this particular band special using nothing but imagery. As always I’ll leave you with a wee example. This is Worth and Bondi. I’ll stick a video at the bottom of the page for you. See if you can tell me what the drums are..

Here are the shots.

I’ll leave the comments open to you guys on this one.

 

“Bring the Camera to the Bedroom Darling…”

Technical

Ok so now I have your attention. I should make it clear that I’m not going to be showing you a boudoir session with the missus. Rather I’m going to show you how I made the bedroom into a fully functioning camera. Sorry if I appear to have misled you. There will be no provocative shots today. Ach well sure, maybe next time.

So again in class we were assigned a task to enhance our Photographic knowledge. For this project we were to build a camera from scratch. The only thing we couldn’t do was use a lens. Amidst the chaos of empty shoe-boxes, baked beans cans and biscuit tins. I decided that I would prefer to be inside the action to really understand what was going on. Since I’m far too big for a wee carton or container, I’d have to think outside of the cardboard box.  I wanted something I could walk around inside in. So there we have it, the reason I chose my bedroom.

This is how I set it up.

Black out the Window leaving a penny-sized hole.

Even though the window was not completely light-sealed, you should start to see the image projecting on the opposite wall or in my case, the wardrobe.

Fix any light leaks with black tape, you’re going to use plenty so stock up. I used everything from old bills and pizza boxes, to past birthday cards and even a magazine that was lying around. I hope someone had the chance to read it. For the print to take effect I knew I had t0 make a smaller hole. I made some apertures from a pinhole in a piece of tinfoil and attached it to card with plenty of black tape.

With the smaller aperture, you cant project so far from the light source. So I got a tripod and attached a cardboard mount for placing the Photo-sensitive paper closer to the light hole.

Make sure that there is no light in the room, except a red safe-light if you have one. I bought a red light bulb but it failed the paper test. Apparently not all red light bulbs will work. Be sure to check with Camera stores. You can buy a dedicated light here. Set up the dark room chemicals and use whatever space you can to be safe when the lights go off. At least in my room I can find the light switch when its dark. I had to do everything in the pitch black until at least 3 minutes of the print being in the Fix solution.

What it should look like..

Kitchen sink print wash

I’m almost there. I just have to remember to have a system in place to avoid all the possible reasons that could spoil my exposures, ie my girlfriend coming back from college early and opening doors and turning lights on. Safest thing I did was lock myself in and leave the key in the door.

The pinhole projecting the final image on to the photosensitive paper

Who would have thought this was possible from a blacked out window and a pinhole.

The final image took roughly 15 minutes to burn into the paper for the correct tonal values to be displayed.  The end result was pleasing to say the least and didn’t take as long as I thought to set up. And I didn’t get into as much trouble either from the missus. I definitely recommend you try this at home. Or anywhere you can find the space with a view.

Ach Well… That’s Showbusiness

Regular Update

News just in. I’ll keep it short-ish. This is obviously a faked picture. Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus were originally holding an Ad for ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ which was due to be aired in the next couple of weeks. I switched the Ad for the ‘Watson ACE’ lads for use on their Facebook page etc. The band feature often on the ‘Ray Foley Show’ on Today FM. Phil Jupitus was on the show recently and Ray Asked him how he came to know of the boys from Watson ACE. Apparently there was a very awkward silence on air. Phil had no idea what he was talking about. I’ll hold my hands up, my fault. Here is Watson ACE performing a single from their eagerly awaited album Backbone.

Its called ‘End of a love affair’

“Enda can kiss my left one!”

Portraits, Regular Update

Students and Teachers unite on the streets to protest for equality. Picture Credit

Three main unions came together with plans to march from the Dept. of Education to Leinster House for the ‘Valuing Education’ rally. The INTO, TUI and ASTI issued this letter to school stewards all over Leinster to attract numbers for their protest.

TO: SCHOOL STEWARDS IN COUNTIES DUBLIN, LOUTH, MEATH, KILDARE & WICKLOW

10th October 2012

‘Valuing Education” Protest Rally: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday 24th October, Molesworth Street

Dear Colleague,

For the past number of years there has been a sustained attack by Government on education provision. Each year on Budget Day, funding for education is being reduced, teaching jobs are being lost and opportunities for young people are being eroded. December’s budget is looming.

These are the reasons why your union is joining with the INTO and the TUI in a protest rally at Leinster House on Wednesday 24th October. We want to bring home to the Government why further cuts to the education budget will betray young Irish people, further demoralise our profession and undermine our capacity to rebuild our economy.

The protest rally will commence after school at 4:30pm and end at 6:00pm. Members in schools in Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow are strongly encouraged to participate in this rally to demonstrate the strength of feeling of Irish teachers about the Government’s plans for further cuts. Given the acute difficulties and cuts faced by newly qualified teachers, we are particularly keen to encourage these members to attend the protest. Cuts in education mean fewer job opportunities for new teachers.

ASTI members along with colleagues from INTO and TUI will be gathering in Molesworth Street opposite Leinster House from 4:30pm. We will have banners and placards ready for members to collect. The government is currently preparing its plans for the budget in December. Protesting now gives us the opportunity to influence this budget debate.

I would like to ask you to join this protest and to encourage ASTI members in your school to attend as well.

Yours sincerely,

_________________________

Pat King

GENERAL SECRETARY

cc. Branch Officers and CEC members

This letter and many more like it were posted out to build interest and support for the concerned majority that are strongly opposed to the many issues presently facing educational systems in the country. The last four years have seen major cuts through these, what ASTI President calls, “anti-education budgets”. TUI President Gerry Craughwell stated “We currently have a situation whereby many of our talented, enthusiastic new teachers and lecturers are attempting to survive in part-time positions, with mere fragments of jobs. They are struggling to build a career on incomes which do not provide a basic standard of living. The TUI is here to demand that these teachers have a right to jobs, not just hours”

The starting salary this year for teachers will be up to 34% less than in 2010, according to the unions. The average cut being more than €11,000 yearly. Deputy General Secretary TUI Annette Dolan said that “up to 30 per cent of second level teachers currently work less than full-time hours and this percentage will continue to rise in the next few years”. The main concern by Dolan is that with the current conditions teachers may immigrate to Australia, or anywhere else there is demand. She hopes that the government restores the previous allowances to boost their mediocre income and stop Irish teachers seeking international employment.

On a brighter side, the rally showed a strong bonding of teachers, students, union leaders and representatives and even the general public. The noise of the protest could be heard on Grafton Street, which as you know is usually a nightmare to hear your phone on. The buskers of this particular day were drowned out by chanting students and amplified union speeches on loud speakers. The feeling was highly energetic and motivational. Not a single person hesitated at the chance to air their reactions to the speeches directed at Leinster House.

Some of the more creative of the crowd slightly altered their placards, including the hilarious “Enda can kiss my left one!” with another fellow student carrying the supporting “Enda can kiss my right one!” I think my favourite though, was the well-sported “Does this hoodie belong to anyone?” with the garment attached. The spotty faced teenager lugging it around was probably hoping for a Cinderella moment. I wonder if Prince Charming found what he was looking for.

While you ponder on that, this is the speech from ASTI President Gerry Breslin


The unions saw a healthy turnout and a great protest on the day. If anything it was a great experience for the students and a deafening wakeup call to the Dáil. Let’s hope the upcoming budget yields positive news for Irish Education.

The 7 minute shooting of Oscar Wilde

Portraits

I had the great opportunity of meeting Rupert Everett as he came to dine in the restaurant in which I work at the weekend. As I got to know the cast and crew a wee bit and I had a feeling that this wouldn’t be the last time I saw them. As it happened Mr Everett came in everyday that week after matinee and dinner performances and I caught up with him again on the Friday. He was over from London to do a week-long play called “The Judas Kiss”. Before I knew, the conversation led to my studying photography at Griffith College. After I mentioned that I was in the middle of a portraits and visual-diary project Mr. Everett invited me down to the Gaiety Theatre to take his portrait immediately after the matinee curtains fell. Initially he said that I would have fifteen minutes to shoot him on stage. Deep breath.

I had no idea what to expect  after striking up a conversation with the lighting crew in the Greenroom. The lads kindly joined me on stage as I asked for a little more light here and there. To which they called out a confusing yet impressive blend of letters and numbers, referring to an invisible person in the ceiling rig. I instantly had the light I needed. As it turned out I had only six minutes and thirty seconds to take a grand total of just twelve images. This very quickly whittled down to two when I got home to the laptop.

The final scene in “The Judas Kiss” is a dark and lonely Oscar Wilde monologue, and as such there had to be negative space engulfing him for the image to work.

Mr.Everett’s final scene from the play “The Judas Kiss”   Picture Credit

The closer, more intimate shot of Rupert was taken with my Argos-bought Canon 50mm prime lens, very quick and extremely sharp lens and a must for every camera bag. I’d like to thank Rupert for giving me the chance to take his picture even as the costume ladies were dying to get his outfit removed from his shoulders and back in storage. This was a remarkable experience and its inclusion in my college project scored me an ‘A’ for the effort.

As requested here is the Exif Data for the last shot.