Saturday, May 06, 2017


Click on any image for a larger version

I'm a sucker for Martello Towers and this photo really gets the message. Strong thrusting defensive structures, but behind all the bluff and bluster, a defence network that was becoming politically obsolete even as it was being built.

And the bird? Probably not a real albatross but symbolising a real one round the neck of a cash stripped administration of the day. And the little hint of modern obsolescence in the equally iconic structure in the background. Not to mention the relentless sea wearing away the very rocks on which the tower is built.

See, I told you. And I'm not alone.

This very tower figured in one of Gordon Brewster's wonderful cartoons. This one is taking a pot at bureaucracy and turf wars, as the Corpo and the Port and Docks Board argue over who is responsible for safety on Dollymount beach, while a stark example of the result of their dithering stares them in the face.

And the tower?

Just a fragment of the above cartoon, but beautifully crafted in pen and wash.

Anyway, this post is about photos and photography, so I should not allow myself to get distracted.

The exhibition is by St. Benedict's Photo Group, about which I have posted previously, and this time they are in the Coolock library in Northside. As usual I am not passing judgement on the relative merits of the photos, which are all up to the Group's customary high standard. I'm just picking out a few that appealed to me for various reasons, photographic and otherwise.

It's the subject matter which got me in the shot above. I've seen these guys in Grafton St. and they are unbelievable. Worthy successors to the Diceman and once seen never forgotten.

This is a beautiful shot which reminds me of those American Dustbowl photos from the 1930s, though I have no idea where this was taken. I love black and white and was a reluctant and late convert to colour myself. I also love railways and the tracks here are used to great effect in the overall composition.

Another black and white beauty. I gather the original was in colour and it is very reassuring that such an excellent quality black and white can be extracted from a modern colour shot.

What can I say. The birdies have the floor.

This looks like a case of the representation outdoing the original, and from the style I think I know who took it. A photo-craftsman.

It raises the issue of how much freedom should the photographer have in the "darkroom" that is modern digital post-processing. My view is "total", providing he is not, for example, a police photographer compiling a dossier for judicial proceedings or a photo-journalist reporting a riot. Photography is "fine art" at the end of the day and what's sauce for the painter is sauce for the photographer. Full marks here.

So what is it about this apparently mundane shot that appeals to me? I don't know if the photographer saw me coming but for me this is like a space shot that just grazed the surface of the moon and subsequently spiraled out of control into outer space.

I am an occasional visitor to Wexford (WD) town and have walked along the quays looking at the boats with the avidity of a Sweepstakes' ticket holder on a heart monitor watching the Grand National. Haven't hit the jackpot yet but this is so close it nearly made me cry.

Anyway, do drop in and check out this exhibition. You won't be disappointed.

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