Posts Tagged ‘Draíocht’

A fullstop, for now

October 5, 2011

My Way Installation / Draíocht 2011

A quick post to show the installation of the exhibition at Draíocht in Blanchardstown. Lots of positive feedback in the visitors book, but alas no reviews. I might have to sleep with someone … no skip that.

The show ends on November 5th. Grab a nice (free) copy of the publication before they’re all gobbled up.

Eddie McG

Bettie S.

Anne F.

Where Do You Think You're Going (HD Video)

Monica A.D


Bernadette G.

Deirdre & Fran O.

Vincent R.

My Way Installation

You may wonder why the green furniture? Donated by Dublin Auction Rooms, the purpose was to facilitate the continuation of conversations and personal feelings on growing older, that were abundant during the making of this work.

A process table has two books, one which is essentially a brief synopsis of the process and extracts from my visual notebook. A copy of the publication is also available.

Process Table

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table / My Way Publication

Process Table


In the absence of any review, I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave a comment …




Today with PK

September 2, 2011

Paddy O’Gorman came out to the opening last night, with his dog, and talked about the show on Pat Kenny this morning.

‘Tis Hung

September 1, 2011

Not much more to do. The prints are Lambda prints, 665 x 500 mm in editions of 8, sillicon mounted. I wanted a rich glossy feel, that is entwined with most fashion photography, along with the whole idea of reflection. The process has been quite a reflective one …

Betty S. 2011

Michael T. 2011

Monica A.D. 2011

My Way, Draíocht



Nothing Like a Deadline …

August 18, 2011

Shot my last few images last week, finalising the publication which was designed by the fantastic Siobhan O’Carroll, images gone to print, process book made and ordered. Left to figure out how to play a HD movie on a flat screen TV with minimal equipment and cost, and that’s about it.

Nothing like a deadline to force a bit of closure on things.

All in all, I had ten participants work with me to the end, and bless their patience. Each person done a fashion recreation, along with two other photographs, video and audio interviews. The show itself will have ten of the fashion recreations, ten images of each person engaging with their own reflection in a mirror, a process table and a video piece – and a little place for conversation to bubble.

Opens Thursday Sept 1st at Draíocht in the downstairs gallery. I’m giving a talk at 6pm, the show opens at 7pm. All welcome.

Anne F. 2011

Eddie McG. 2011

Lilian H. 2011

Deirdre & Fran O. 2011

Michael T. 2011

Mary T. 2011

Bernadette G. 2011

Vincent O'R. 2011

Bettie S. 2011

Monica F. 2011

The exhibition continues until Saturday November 5th. What’s your favorite?


Guys n Dolls

July 22, 2011

Almost done now. September 1st is looming.

I had hoped the catalogue would be something that documented the entire project, participation, dialogue and interaction that’s happened over the past year and a half. Budgets are tight so I’m praying for a kind printer. I’ve had so many cups of tea, home made treats, sandwiches, chats and laughs in my many meetings with the ten participants that stuck with me to the end. Here are some more of the recreated fashion shoots.

Bettie S.

This is a shoot we done way back in February, but it’s only getting aired now. I don’t have any shots of the lovely Bettie getting dolled up. Make-up was by Audrey Corrigan and Emma Moffat from IADT. Styling was done by Niamh Hogan.


Betty S.

Eddie McG.

The first man to don the make-up. Eddie’s a pro and didn’t flinch. We were going for a James Dean look. Thanks to the guys in Jamestown Studios, Denise Murray who done make-up, Sorcha McClenaghan for the styling and Eddie the man for being the first male guinea pig.

Eddie McG.

Mary T.

There were wigs for everyone in this shoot. Thanks to the lovely lady in Hairspray on Wicklow St, to Liam at the Transport Museum in Howth, to Ciara Kerins who done make-up, Sorcha McClenaghan for styling and to the lovely Mary for accommodating us.

Mary T.

I’ve always relied on the kindess of strangers – Tennessee Williams, thanks all.

Poem in the Post

July 6, 2011

Today, I received a poem in the post.

Garvan, I drove away with this permit … enclosed piece I wrote a while back – Interested? I’m not clear about what you have in mind. Enjoyed the ‘shoot’. Somewhat of a hoot! But everyone was so professional. Will you give me a buzz? Regards to Freddy & Kevin. Monica A.


Now in Autumn Years
Such a good time to glance back –
Relive those moments of joy, pain, tears, laughter
Each day a precious gift –
Full of wonder and gentle surprises –
To be savoured so much more fully
Because of my own maturing.
No need to rush –
To fill each hour with sixty new experiences –
A true appreciation of ‘ordinary’ things – familiar situations.
Wines: sipped not gulped – less frequent – more fine.
Food: ‘Less’ being really ‘more’.
Friends: so valued – rarer – pure gold
Love: Everlasting …

Would I turn back the clock?
Childhood? Adolescence?
The dizzy merry-go-round of my 20’s?
The challenges of my 30s, 40s, 50s –
My more reflective 60s?


Now, being 70-something
I have come home to myself.
A new starting-point
To continue the adventure of Life’s Journey
On different levels –
within the heart of the now ‘me’
In the vastness of the universe and its tantalising mystery
The one the more immense, mysterious,
The other even more profound
Oh! How glad I am to still have the passion
To Reach for the Stars …

© Monica-Ann Dunne

Poem in the Post

Just Monica

July 4, 2011

We had fun with Monica, but I’m guessing most people do. She was a bit shocked at seeing her face in 1920’s make-up, done by Michael Ryan and Ailbhe Fitzpatrick from the LA Academy. Her reaction noted below.


Styling was done by Sorcha McClenaghan. Wonder if there were any anti-fur activists around in the twenties?

A very elegant Monica.

Just Monica

Ms. Dietrich

June 20, 2011


This shoot with Lillian happened a few months ago on Valentines day. Shot on the main stage in Draíocht. Hair and make-up by Aoife O Sullivan and Leslie Ann Daly. Styling by Niamh Hogan.

Ms. Dietrich

A Reflection

June 20, 2011

“In the West the dominant trope for aging has been the decay and decline of the body. Time or age, we will say, writes itself on the body. For the most part we fear what will be written there. We repress the subject of aging. We relegate aging to others. We do not recognize it in ourselves.” — Kathleen Woodward

Lillian - Reflection

My father told me recently he got his last 10-year driving license. After someone reaches 70, an application is required every few years. It’s strange to think of them as actually getting older, of being 70. My parents are married 40 years this year. I clearly remember my grandparent’s 40th wedding anniversary. My father then was the same age I am now. The mind boggles. Only recently I was given the first indication of my own aging self when my physiotherapist said that the resistance in one of my muscles might just be a thing I have to live with. Really?

One of the threads which has been spun off from my conversations with older people in Blanchardstown is that of our aging reflection. I’ve never really given it much consideration. My laughter lines are only beginning.

A woman in her 60’s brought this up a few months back, which caused me to write something down in my notebook. Her thing was that she started to notice a new face at 40, and at 50 she started to see her mother looking back at her. Now in her 60’s she has to get used to another face, which will change again in her 70’s. I talked to another lady today, a former model in her 20’s, and she told me that when she looks in the mirror, she knows what to expect. It’s when she’s accidentally confronted by her own full-length reflection from a shop window that she sometimes gets a shock. Another woman said she didn’t like looking at photographs. By doing so, she sees herself as others see her.

Ernest Jones, in his biography of Freud, wrote about Freud’s elderly mother Amalia. Upon being given a beautiful shawl, she refused to wear it because “it would make her look too old”[1]. Amelia was in her 90’s. Commenting on a photo of her in a newspaper, she said that it made her look a hundred, that it was a “bad reproduction”.

Everyone has stories that mirror this observation. In the course of this project, a participant told me her mother would go along to senior citizen events, she a senior citizen herself, and would serve tea but would not sit down with the other senior citizens. Not doing so allowed her to be feel younger than the group she helped out with, even though their ages were the same. We all will carry our youthful self with us till the end, and as Woodward so eliquently puts it, old age is something that is relegated to others and not recognized in ourselves.

As part of this project, I photographed each participant engaging with their own reflection in their own mirror, and got their views about aging with their mirrors.

Anne - Reflection

Deirdre - Reflection

Vincent - Reflection

Bernadette - Reflection

Eddie - Reflection

Mick - Reflection

Monica-Ann - Reflection

Betty - Refleciton

[1] Woodward, Kathleen, Aging and its Discontents: Freud and other Fictions, 1991, p.3

This is Me – My Fashion

June 20, 2011

Pick a location that is relevant to you. Wear something you would wear to a special occasion.

The locations chosen were mostly related to events in the participant’s youth. Monica Anne Dunne, who used to model in her 20’s chose an area right next to the house she grew up in down in Co.Kildare. The jacket is an old one and one that required a re-mortgage, but she loves it. Mary Toole chose St.Stephens Green as she went to school just across the road and then went to work in the hospital that was right beside it. Betty Shanahan lives in the Pheonix Park, one of the lucky few who can. This was on her doorstep. Deirdre Owens also chose the Phenoix Park, in particular this pathway that she used to walk to meet her father in the Garda HQ. He died when she was twelve. Bernadette Gallagher chose the beach in Donabate. It’s a place she enjoys coming to. The others are already mentioned in my previous blog entry This is Me.

Each person talked about their own experience with fashion and growing older in a video interview, which is an unedited (but interesting) pile as of yet.

Monica Anne Dunne

Mary Toole

Betty Shanahan

Deirdre Owens

Bernadette Gallagher

Eddie McGinley

Anne Flanagan

Vincent Reilly

Lillian Harris

Earliest Memories Pinhole Exhibition

May 24, 2011
8-second pinhole portraits along with participant’s workbooks are the first thing you are confronted with in Earliest Memories Through a Pinhole Camera at Draíocht.

8-second Pinhole Portraits

Group Portrait

Each participant made their own camera using a matchbox and other household items, reconstructed their earliest memory, photographed it, printed it in the darkroom and framed it. A beautiful full-colour catalogue compliments the exhibition.

Draíocht Upstairs Gallery

The images were presented floating in a frame, with a one-line extract from their memory which was recorded in full in the catalogue.

I had never broken anything before

Black cloths were strewn over all the pictures and mirrors

I don't know why I was in a hospital

Black pudding tastes nice

Earliest Memories Through a Pinhole Camera

March 25, 2011

We had never heard a wireless before

This exhibition launches on Thursday April 8th at Draíocht, Blanchardstown.

My residency with Draíocht required me to work with a youth group in Dublin 15, so I thought it fitting and appropriate to work with an intergenerational group instead, given that my other project is looking at the invisibility of older people. Along with contributing towards an exhibition, it was hoped that the group would also function on some social level, which I believe it did.

On the first day of November last, fourteen strangers from various backgrounds and age profiles assembled in the Draíocht foyer. Some had prior experience with photography, some only an interest, while others came equipped with a mild curiosity. Five months later, the group lost only two people. We met every Tuesday morning in Draíocht and got to grips with both the technical and creative aspects of photography.

The technical aspects involved understanding the basic principles of how images form, regardless of the size or cost of the camera. The creative lay in the process of looking and discussing other photographers work, on brainstorming the theme of the project and in teamwork concerning every aspect of this show. Most signifantly, each participant made their own pinhole camera from a matchbox and other household items, along with printing their final image in the darkroom.

The theme of the exhibition was decided around Christmas, which was based around the individual’s first memory. Each participant, ranging in ages from 14 to 82 would reconstruct their first memory from a concise verbal description, and photograph that construction with their pinhole camera. Each matchbox was individually cut by each participant, thus each image has a unique frame surrounding it.

What’s that sound Jack?

Black pudding tastes nice

Black cloths were strewn over all the pictures and mirrors

I had never broken anything before

It was my 4th birthday

My mother in the wings

I want to steal her bottle of milk

That was the first time I tasted wine

My dad left his drill lying on the floor

I don't know why I was in a hospital

A pile of fresh clay smelled damp

The very nature of pinhole images with their fuzzy out of focus aesthetic, matched the concept in its entirety. Are our own memories our own? Did they even happen, or did they form in our consciousness from a story or photo? Our first memory is also a fuzzy, personal and delicate thing. Something that is generally not aired to the public, yet always are fascinating to hear about. The first permanent photograph in our young minds, fixed forever. In the memories that were reconstructed for this exhibition, it seems that the earliest memory seems something that is brushed with fear, panic, excitement or just extreme curiosity.

The approach used on this project stripped photography back to its very bare essentials – a black light-tight box and a tiny aperture. As the water eventually washes away the chemicals used to process the film, it’s difficult not to experience a sense of amazement that such a thing could produce images. Digital cameras have largely removed the method of investigation from taking photographs. A photograph instantly viewed on the back of a camera is immediately judged as being acceptable or not. Where it fails, a new one is taken and repeated until the photograph is satisfactory. Pinhole photography puts the thinking caps back on. There is one chance with a roll of film. It works or it doesn’t. Somewhere therein lies the magic.

Earliest Memories Through a Pinhole Camera opens on Thursday April 8th at Draíocht and runs until May 28th 2011

Suitcases & Drama

February 12, 2011

Second shoot was with Bernadette Gallagher who chose a 1930’s look, a gal with a lot of moving to do. Stylist was Niamh Hogan, make up team were Paula and Lauren from IADT. Suitcases from the reliable Historic Interiors.

Urban Chic

February 1, 2011

First shoot was Monday last, Jan 31st. Anne Flanagan was the model who chose to do an urban chic look circa 1970. Hair & Make up done by Emma and Ciara from IADT, styled by Niamh Hogan.

Urban Chic