Monday, 17 December 2012

'This is my place...'

I just realised that amount of equipment I am using during photography session is growing up every time I am starting new series :) Everything is getting bigger and heavier. Maybe I have to think seriously about come back to 35mm ;) 
...maybe one day. For now I'll keep photographing with large cameras ;)

'This is my place…' . Series I am working on since April this year /already presented on my FB page and website/. Simple portraits taken in so called comfort zone of photographed people. 
At the beginning it suppose to be only area where they live. I changed my mind however expanding it also to the places where they obviously feel good. It gives new possibilities which makes all series more interesting I suppose. 
Portait you can see below was taken last Saturday. For the first time it wasn't living place and also for the first time in this series it was indoor session.
...and quite unusual location - All Hallows College

'This is my place...' will grow up. Another portrait  I took on Sunday morning is ready for presentation ;) Please follow my FB page for updates.

And now something completely different :)

As this is my last post in 2012 I would like to wish
All The Best in New Year to all people who visiting my blog! ...and before that - Happy Christmas of course to all of you who celebrating it :) 
Many thanks for being here...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Moments of Glory..

‘Black and White Photographer of the Year’ 2012 edition is now closed. Last Friday all winners got a wonderful news. Well done guys!!!
We will be able to see selected photographs by the end of November in Black+White Photography magazine.

This time I am not one of them.

It would be probably too much - two years in a row ;D 
(you can come back to my post about competition in 2011. Just click HERE please)

owever I am extremely happy that 5 of my photographs were nominated in 3 categories. 3 of them got a nomination for the main prize - Photographer of the Year 2012 /Overall Winner/.
Great honor!

Lets Start from the top then ;) I am sure most of you remember my blog post ‘Forbidden Place...’
These photographs received the highest two categories!
“Forbidden Place’ series was nominated for  the Overall Winner prize and two images from this series were also nominated for ‘The Living World’ single image category (first and second below).

For ‘The Living World’ was nominated never published before ‘Silent witness’ as well.

The Last photograph it’s a portrait from one of my assignments I was working on in January.
“Reservoir Dogs’ theme nominated for  ‘The Human Spirit’ single image category :) 

Looking forward to see the jury choice and also to ‘Black and White Photographer of the Year’ 2013 edition!

...and this is not the end. There are some more nominations ;) 
'The Irish Times Open House Dublin Photography Competition' with Irish Architecture Foundation.
'Architecture Alive'...
Three photographs has been selected by Jury :)


Berkeley Library, TCD
UCD campus
Now it's the time to work harder, get ready for next year editions... and moments of glory ;)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Behind the trees

Third post within one week... It's very unusual for me ;)
Well, I just couldn’t wait to show you all these wonderful buildings. Would love to do it  almost at once ;)
This is the last one I visited during Open House 2012  after The Old Terminal and Central Bank anyway.

Sunny afternoon, distance just about 10km so I took my bike as usually. It was still early  when I arrived. I had some time to enjoy the area before our tour started. Very quiet road with lots of mature trees around and in-between them, covered in green...Meander.
Classic modernist, flat-roofed house designed by Alan and Mairin Hope and built in 1939 as a home for their family.

View from the garden

Interior is very impressive with its original furnishing and also external and internal finishes.
Meander, constructed of cedar-cladded block-work is not very big but at the same time spacious, cosy and bright interior due to often double or ever triple aspect rooms.
It is one of the most important example of Irish Modernism. 

again - hasselblad 500C/M with Planar 80mm 2.8 and Tmax 400 pushed to 3200

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

‘On the Ocean...’

Time to get back on board. Strong wind, rough sea but still lots of sun...

... it is easy enough to keep going with such a story looking at this photograph. We have to come back however on land... the land of concrete ;)
Mentioned in previous post Open House 2012 tour brought me back to the ‘Ocean Liner’.
Now I could climb up the steps and see pilothouse...

The Old Terminal at Dublin Airport revisited...

Roof terrace. We’ve got there through narrow stairs beside control tower where the Met Office is located since 1940.
I set my camera to take a photograph of it but...suddenly this wonderful couple appears.

I shifted my camera instantly. Such a scene is not happening too often. There was no sense anymore to photograph the tower itself without them ;)
It is exactly quintessence of comparison of The Old Terminal to the ‘Ocean Liner’ ...


Our tour which took almost 1.5 hour, ended up with fantastic lecture and slideshow about history of this building. It is not big at all but very well designed and functional.
Good old times when genuine architecture and character of the place was priority...which we sometimes lack nowadays.

view from internal staircase (with original wall heater mounted on the left)


That was my first Open House 2012 trip that day. Now... Central Bank was waiting for me ;) /described in previous post/

Hasselblad 500C/M with Planar 80mm 2.8 and Tmax 400@3200

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Big Bank

Architecture Festival Open House 2012’ organized by Irish Architecture Foundation made the first weekend of October one of the busiest and most engaging for me since quite a long time.  
That was Saturday morning. 
I was really excited as places I had a plan to visit that day were almost impossible to see the other time. I took my camera, bag of films and I left my place very early. I had a day off from my usual family duties ;) 
Having in mind ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ series I booked all tours very carefully. Three buildings were on my list. First - once again The Old Terminal at Dublin Airport. This time with full access at last ;) 
I will start however from the other one, very unique I would normally never get an access to -  Central Bank of Ireland...

Central Bank of Ireland. View from Trinity Street

A few weeks earlier I received an email from DoCoMoMo Ireland about tour for its members in this building. That was something special. 
Close to the date tour was canceled by the Bank authority.
Luckily it has been just postponed  and we made it exactly during Open House festival. DoCoMoMo visit was the last one after all Open House tours so we had a little bit more time to see this truly amazing structure inside. Our little group was guided by Miriam Fitzpatrick, architect and lecturer (in Architecture and Urban Design). 

Entrance from the roof over canteen

Central Bank it's an extremely interesting building and very controversial at the same time. Mostly because of its location and size... Obviously wandering though town you won’t be able to miss it ;)

This fantastic monumental block of concrete (I just love concrete!!!) shows something completely different once you get inside. Each floor turns into amazingly light, bright and almost floating space. Floor to ceiling windows around each level gives truly breathtaking view of the city. These windows are set back about 1.5m from the edge of each floor. It’s like a huge projection screens with constant screening of Dublin’s panorama. 

Office room at 7th floor

The history of this building starts in 1967 when Sam Stephenson and Arthur Gibney were appointed to design the new headquarter for the Central Bank.
The original design was for 15 storey (!!!)... at the end we’ve got ‘just’ an 8 storey building. Seven floors of offices with 8th as a plant room.
Structure of the Central Bank and the way how it was build it’s another interesting story.
It’s suspended structure with service cores. Each floor (made of precast concrete panels) was lifted up to the top which obviously means  - it was build from the top to the bottom.

‘The Typical Floors, measuring 45mx30m are supported at twelve hanger pints around the perimeter and on twin reinforced concrete cores. From these hanger points the loads are transmitted directly to the roof level through pairs of high tensile bars (...)‘  /info from the leaflet by Institution of Engineers of Ireland/

I highly recommend to watch documentary film on John Sisk & Son Ltd. (main contractor) website about the construction of the Central Bank Building in 1978 when it was completed. Click HERE please. It is absolutely great!!!

At the end of the day I was already thinking about Sunday and another great location ;) 

First however I will come back to mentioned at the beginning The Old Terminal... it's in next blog post.

Some usual tech details:
This time just a medium format camera, Hasselblad 500C/M with 80mm 2.8 Planar lens and Tmax 400 pushed to 3200, loaded into it.
Also last weekend I packed my large format equipment to photograph it in context.
Sinar F2, Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar 150mm 5.6 with Fomapan 100 in Tmax Dev.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Last week I met Edita and Mel (Monofaces) in their new home and studio in Ballsbridge. That was our second portrait session after 2 years (pleas click HERE to have a look at previous images). I had an idea how everything should looks like so it suppose to be a short one. One, maybe two shots and that's it. 
I love to work with natural light but weather in autumn is quite unpredictable... 
Suddenly lots of dark clouds covered the sky. In that situation we decided to postpone our session till next day
...and that was actually very good move. We had a beautiful, sunny afternoon ;)


Sinar F2, Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm 5.6 and TX 320@640 4x5 in XTol

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ocean Liner

It's a cold morning, 19th January 1940. First Aer Lingus flight was departed from Collinstown Airport as it was called back then. But before...

British newsreel footage of the new airport at Collinstown,
Co Dublin under construction in 1939

...In 1936 Desmond FitzGerald with group of young architects started to work on the project of a new airport. Building influenced by the ideas of Le Corbusier was completed in 1940. Design of new at the time, four-storey terminal with horizontal windows, terraces, an observation and cafe deck is often likened to an ocean liner.
It was also Ireland’s first and the most important modernist structure.

During ‘The Emergency in Republic of Ireland’ as World War 2 was called that time in neutral Ireland, the Airport was mothballed. Also because of war and related to it restrictions project wasn't published until 1945 when war finished and Aer Lingus resumed its service. It was the reason why this Iconic building never got the recognition that it deserves.

External part of the building

The Old Terminal is a listed structure now. Its part still operates as a departure gates which makes this building one of the world’s oldest working airport terminals. The other part is a head office of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and a Met Eireann office.

Last Wednesday I had a chance to photograph this truly unique object. Long awaited moment. Permission was granted for the reception area and external part at the front of the building /photograph on the top/.
Here I would like to thank Ciara from DAA office and Carole, fiend of mine for all help.

Reception Area
In most cases limited access and time forcing me to take a rapid decision what to photograph and how to compose an image. Not easy with large format equipment. I have to add that usually I am visiting my subjects for the first time. Generally there is also not too many photographs available from those places (if at all) which normally could help to plan every trip and make a decisions beforehand.  This is the trickiest part of taking photographs for 'Unfulfilled Dreams'.  Each session however is very emotional and worth all the effort. 

When I entered foyer I knew exactly what I was going to focus on - staircase :)
This element of structure in many buildings is something very special and makes each of them unique.
Reception area itself is a wonderfully sculptured, very clean in its form and full of natural light space. Even fitted with lots of contemporary elements still keeps its genuine character...

Some standard technicalities at the end:
Sinar F2 with Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm 5.6 and Fomapan 4x5 100 developed traditionally in Caffenol-c-m. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Direct Positive Paper (part 2)

I am coming back to direct positive paper tests. As you remember almost two months ago a took first few photographs on that medium using studio lighting.
Everything came out really well. You can have a look at the blog post following this link - ‘Direct Positive Paper’.

Last Thursday I decided to give it a go with natural light. I set camera in UCD campus in the middle of fantastic modernist structures photographed by me many times before (‘Forms’ series for example).
With mentioned in previous post slow speed of this paper (about ISO 3) and aperture f=45 it took about 30s to get proper exposure.
Paper was developed in Ilford Multigrade Developer.

Below are first results.

ISO 3, f/45, 30s expo - 20s dev
This is a second photograph out of two I developed. Dev process about 20 seconds (quite fast) gave the best result. Very reach tonal range  and great details.
Here is the same image developed for much longer time 40seconds. Still pretty fast as for paper dev process. As you can see however it is way too dark and also there is loss of details due to high contrast. That's why I gave it ago once more with mentioned 20 sec then.

ISO 3, f/45, 30s expo - 40s dev
I also took the same photograph on negative film for comparison purposes. It was as usually Fomapan 100 developed in Caffenol-c-m.
...the same place, settings, lens and the same camera :)

ISO 100, f/45, 4s expo - 10min dev in Caffenol-c-m

Of course negative is more versatile and with a little bit of time and experience in darkroom printing will give better result. That's for sure. 
We are focusing here however on new great 'instant' medium :)

4x5 prints

After all it is difficult (if possible at all) to judge such photographs seeing scanned images. Only viewing the print can give real feeling of what is happening with such paper. It is truly fantastic! 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

'Close To Closure'

Fantastic opening of our group exhibition 'Close to Closure' last night. Really good selection of photographs. It was great to see you all there! Thank you!
Of course all of you who couldn't make it to the opening, you are more then welcome to visit Back Loft Gallery till 10th of July, the last day of the show.
You can see there my ‘Urban Stories’ series and also other wonderful projects by my friends, very talented photographers: Fiona O’Donnell, Monika Fabijanczyk, Sharon Murphy, Rebecca McGetrick, Calin Ploscar, Jeanette Lowe and Hugh McCabe.
Many thanks to Sean Hillen who opened this show making fantastic introduction, to all my friends photographers and especially Rebecca for organizing everything so perfectly ;)

Roll on PhotoIreland Festival! ;)

opening by Sean Hillen
last minutes

Thursday, 28 June 2012

'Peripheries―Moments from the Side'

Full program of ‘PhotoIreland Festival 2012’ was just announced. All month with fantastic exhibitions around the town. 
It's actually started tonight ;)
20 x 20: 'Peripheries―Moments from the Side' exhibition in Inspirational Arts Gallery curated by Donna Kiernan.
'The theme ‘Peripheries – Moments From The Side’ explores the role of photography and it’s potential for capturing the everyday surrealism, humour and grace with which we live our lives in today's Ireland. All styles are included, from the staged to the opportune, and the carefully composed straight shot to the digitally transformed abstract.' (from official info)

I was invited to show there one of my photograph from ’Forms’ series. 

This exhibition will run from Friday 29th June to 13th July.
I would like to thank Donna for an invitation and also Ed and Jim from Inspirational Arts for wonderful job done with printing photographs and organizing exhibition.

That was tonight. Don't forget about Royal Hibernian Academy where you can see ’The Unit’ from ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ series and of course ‘Close to Closure’ which will be opened 4th of July in Backloft Gallery. I will show there my  ‘Urban Stories’.
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Direct Positive Paper

Yesterday I asked my daughter if she could help me with something related to photography...
- oh, how long do I have to stand still?
Hah, she knows me very well ;D

I just found a bit of time to try direct positive paper which I have since while.
Due to its very low speed (varies, depends on light condition and desired effect ISO 3-6...) and energy of my young model I had to use studio lights to achieve reasonable shutter speed and aperture. Quite important not only when photographing a child ;)
After setting light to maximum power I got 1/30 shutter speed with f/8. Just about something I was looking for.

scanned print (please click the image to see it bigger)
After that there was a time for a wet part of the process. Very exciting moments as always when it comes to printing.
I choose an Ilford Multigrade paper developer. Luckily I still had an unopened bottle. I didn't expected that after a few months break in printing ;)
Dilution as stated on the bottle 1+9, stop in water and then fix bath in Ilford Rapid Fixer 1+4. Just like with RC paper.
Trays filled with chemicals, safe light ON and after a few minutes everything was done :)
Image itself came out really fast. it was about 20-30seconds. And that’s It.

Pre-flashing  is sometimes recommended for this paper. It gives more grays but also lower contrast so... I didn't pre-flash  :)
I wanted to achieve good contrast which means for me - high ;) and my decision was right.

After all I find it a bit similar to wet plate collodion. It’s the first thing which came to my mind when I saw photograph coming out on developing tray. I am talking here about all idea rather then the process itself which in this case is  much easier and faster. 

 - photograph taken in that way is the only one you have
- the image is a mirror reflection of photographed subject

I love direct positive paper and the way the photograph is made with it. Very reach tones, fantastic details and contrast and also quite short time required to see the result. 
Will definitely use it more often instead of traditional film. 

equipment used:
Sinar F2 with Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm 5.6 lens, 4x5 Harman Direct Positive Paper FB Glossy .

Update 07/09/2012 - You can also have a look at my other post about Direct Positive Paper where I am using it with natural light ;) Click Here Please 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

'The Unit'

182nd Annual Exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy is open to public since last night. 
‘The Unit’, photograph from ‘Unfulfilled Dreams’ series is on its wall :)

'The Unit'
Piece from very important to me project  has been appreciated at very early stage. It’s an honor.
Beside that “The Unit’ was published in exhibition catalog as a one of very few photographs. Happy days!

Photograph was taken last year in Liberty Hall. You can have a look at blog post with some information about it - just click HERE please.

Exhibition will be open till 18 of August and it’s definitely worth to visit.
Lots of fantastic photographs, paintings, drawings and various installations.

Monday, 12 March 2012

...forbidden place?

- ‘You could find much more interesting object for your images’
- ‘well, I know it’s bizarre but I really like it’
- ‘we all likes different things’

haha...that was a short but very suggestive conversation with a lady walking her dog on the beach two days ago. 

That was really weird feeling seeing people looking at me when I was photographing 
industrial area beside Dublin Port. They all have been there to enjoy the view behind my shoulders...I was the only 'freak' fascinated by the large chimneys and steal structures around them ;) Industrial landscapes can be attractive not only for people who are bored or tired with the things usually recognized as beautiful.
The mystery, desolation and power of such a places is something excessively appealing.
It’s a fantastic area however not very friendly ...
I am talking here about the energy of this place rather then anything else.

Last Saturday it was my third trip in there and not the last one I am afraid...
In-fact, I've been there with camera twice before - once over a year ago in the same place (photographs are somewhere on my facebook webpage) and second time in 2009 when I visited old Pigeon House (click HERE please to see photographs). 
The Power Station and all industrial objects around is located in Dublin Bay, close to Irishtown Nature Park and Sandymount Strand. Contrasty place - very nice seaside with Wicklow Mountains view, green, quite and attractive neighbourhood ...and a few hundreds meters away, behind high fens - industrial plants.

I live just a 15 minutes cycling from there so distance is not a problem. There is however something else which I don't really understand. Something which makes this place impossible to photograph in the way i want...
After my first trip I wasn't happy with taken photographs. It obviously wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. OK, fair enough.
I went there the following weekend and...another two hours of shooting wasted. Unexpected elements appears on most of the negatives which makes them useless.
...So third approach... and here we go again - this times 6 out of 12 negatives were incorrectly fitted in holders and photographs came out - let’s say not very straight. A few from the other 6 have mentioned before marks on them again...

Processing was done correctly, all chemicals were fresh and properly mixed. 
This time I took even a few sheets of different film then the one I am usually using...
I am shooting with large format for almost 2 years. I know that mistakes can happen especially with this type of equipment but not 3 times in the row...and It’s never happened to me before. Not in that way.
Strange coincidence...
I am just thinking - what is going on with this place? 

Dublin Port (fragment) and the area of Pigeon House Power Station*
*photograph from Google Maps

I may go there once again next weekend anyway.

Please note: presented here photographs are the only (out of about 30 taken during 3 visits) which are close enough to my idea how it should look like and they are technically OK...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Tribute to Nick Cave...

Good things happening in Ranelagh Art Centre all the time. Some of you remember this place from my ‘Coffee Flavour’ exhibition a few months ago (please see the link LINK) ;)
Last Friday and Saturday on the first floor in the room lightened only by the candles David Noone had his very personal concert - tribute to Nick Cave.
About an hour of a really good performance wormed up by fantastic atmosphere. On December last year I was working with David on promotional portraits for this gig (please see the link LINK).
Friday afternoon we met again to take a few portraits during David's dress rehearsal.

A few words from press release:

‘Writer and musician, David Noone will perform his unique take on the music of the legendary Nick Cave, at the Ranelagh Arts Centre in February. In this intimate acoustic concert, David will perform the songs of one of his favourite songwriters whom he believes to be possibly the greatest lyricist to have emerged in the last thirty years.  

David grew up in Rathangan, Co. Kildare, where he began his writing career as a music journalist with local newspapers. Moving to Dublin, he formed his first band 'Poppy' and then spent three years as lead singer and songwriter with 'David Noone and the Night Porters'. He has also published a collection of poetry -'My Cat's a Vicious Drunk' and his first play - 'Ructions' was performed at the 2010 Ranelagh Arts Festival.'

As far as i know, both David’s performances were not the last this year...

Monday, 30 January 2012

...about memory

This is a short post about one of many roles photography has to fulfill. I just thought it is good to point it even if it’s so obvious for many of us.
Yesterday I finished scanning a bunch of an old negatives for a friend of mine. All of them from early 70’s. All taken by her father. It tooks time but what a pleasure it was. Looking at the each scanned image is exactly like traveling in time. I believe lots of those photographs were never seen before. It is something very unique. Rediscovering moments. Live them again...

scan from about 40 years old negative

After that I did a little research in my old archives. Found a portrait of my grandfather. This photograph was taken maybe 50 years ago or even earlier. Author remains unknown. I realized how important it is for me. It shows my grandfather exactly in the way I remember him. Man full of positive energy.
I never took a picture of him myself. Don't know why. Maybe obviously because i wasn’t photographing people back then...

scan from about 50 years old print
All of it reminds me of a two blog posts I read some time ago. They draw my attention in a very special way. Both of them /very personal stories/ were about passage of time.
Both of them raised the question of sense of photography...
Why we are taking photographs?
Whatever we say it usually going to one conclusion  - to memorize...
...and memorize not only people. It concerns everything around us.
Sounds obvious? Yes, definitely. But somehow... I never thought about it in that way.

Photographer holds the role of time machine operator. Each can do it in a very unique and personal way.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

'white elephant'

Staying away from concrete for too long I decided to move on again with photographing Irish modernist icons. First request this year has been sent to Busaras - central bus station, one of the most important examples of so called international modern style in architecture. I was really surprised how fast the response was. Just a few hours later I received a phone call from Busaras Press Office (thank you!!!). That was great! We set the time for Saturday afternoon. In fact I got a limited permission - only for a public space as in Liberty Hall case. It was enough anyway to keep me busy for a bit over an hour.

waiting area with typical mosaics on columns (click image for bigger preview)

Busaras (listed as a protected structure) was designed between 1945 and 1953 by Michael Scott , one of the most important architects in Ireland. Building Influenced by le Corbusier, was the first major work of modern architecture in post-war Dublin - RIAI /Royal Institute of Irish Architects/ Gold Medal Winner 1953-1955.
The national bus terminal of Ireland, constructed of reinforced concrete with Portland stone cladding featured also a small newsreel cinema to occupy travelers.
This building is like a machine. It has even integrated ventilation system in office part (upper levels).

corridor with mosaics (click image for bigger preview)
During construction stage, Córas Iompar Éireann (CIÉ) /Irish Transport System/ began to experience serious financial difficulties that's why new Bus station (very expensive project) got an opinion of a 'white elephant' ... Here is a very interesting link where you can read all story of this significant Dublin’s landmark. Please Click here: BUSARAS

At the and I would like to add something... This photo project was intended to be done only with large format cameras to give photographs with the best possible quality. I experienced however some difficulties with access to the most interesting parts of buildings which (usually closed for public) are accessible during Architecture Festival 'Open House' each year. During 2010 edition of 'Open House' I took lots of interesting photographs from Busaras office part and Liberty Hall but on smaller negatives...6x6 and 35mm. Short tours makes impossible to use large format equipment. I am considering to add some of them to the selection at the end to make this series more interesting. It's just an idea for now. Will see how it will goes in next objects I am gonna photograph in the future.

tech: this time just a Graflex Crown Graphic, Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar-S 150mm 5.6 and Fomapan 4x5 100@64 in usual Caffenol-c-m.