Never to be accused of being last minute about anything. I was back home in Dublin in August waiting on my passport which I needed to travel to Spain the next day. These images are all from Grafton Street. Wandering around town (Dublin City Centre) or anywhere, for that matter, with a camera is great fun. Especially with digital, though the urge to look at the screen can end with a punch if you are trying to sneak a pic of a rough looking character, chiefly fat bankers. One of the only things I don’t like about street photography is that it has a name.
The sight of three generations of males in the window of a coffee shop runs in sharp contrast to the Dublin of thirty years ago where this scene would have taken place in the dark corner of the pub. Pints, shorts, peanuts, crisps and lemonade. Definitely seemed like a whole load more fun back then. While the three of them were definitely together, there was no eye contact or conversation between them. What hadn’t changed was, they were not going shopping.
There is a school of thought in photography that an image should not be cropped. Yeah OK, it is nice to see and capture an event in all it’s purity, but there are also times when you feel something and click. Later when reviewing the images it isn’t there. That familiar feeling of emptiness and head scratching as you realise they are all crap and you are unfortunately insane and imagined the whole thing. I like to go back over sequences that are a few months old, when my memories of the scene have faded. Quite often that feeling pops up again. Imperfect, poorly framed or exposed. Or in my case, often quite small in the frame. I spent most of the 80’s and early 90’s walking about with a telephoto lens, which seems to have had a long term effect on my sense of scene.
The second and third images here from M&S coffee shop on Grafton street were both feelings that there was something there that was interesting. On review months later the graphic composition of the light and the silhouettes of the people was so obvious in the first image, but quite small in frame. Latter was tilted and poorly exposed. I remembered at the time that the guy’s face was lit in a very interesting way but the reflected arm on the coffee was luck. Cropping, recomposing and exposing the images gave them new life and restored that feeling that there was something interesting when I was walking down the street. Something that I like.
Dublin has real character all the time. It is and feels like a cosmopolis. While it is far removed from the place I grew up, it still has an energy that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Also, luckily for me, mine was the last passport handed out on that day and we were in Orense the following evening for a well deserved break.