I have just returned from a weeks visit in Berlin in Germany, What a wonderful city full of life and history. It will take me a while to readjust to life back at home and to go through all the photos I took but I am in love with Germany and Berlin. The culture here is amazing and the history just fascinating, I fell that the entire experience was a study of European history from art to politics.
These two pictures were taken the very first night and show the business area of Potadamer Platz, around rush hour time.
There is a one hours difference between Berlin and Kilkenny and it was already getting dark around 4:30pm
I have often wondered what life would be like living on a house boat ?
This House boat is located on the river Tiber in Rome and just by taking a quick look at the image, you can see exactly the life style that its owner much have.
For example you can see the way they get to work by bicycle using the cycle path that runs the full length of the river as it winds its way through the city.
I just want to share in this post, a set of images taken at the end of May 2015 during a visit to Dublin including one of my favorite places to walk around and people watch, while having a coffee and some lunch to eat 🙂
Trinity College, Dublin
Mornings and Coffee
By : Gabryela Speaks
Feb 2 2015
Cold mornings, warm coffee
The aroma comforts me
Pushing the freezing moment
of having to recall you.
You used to sit with me.
You would look into my eyes,
flash a beautiful smile
and I always wonder
what you see
But one day,
you stopped being you.
The Following images are from a local vintage motor show, held in our local town of Callan each year as part of the towns summer festival.
Its amazing just how much pride is take in restoring these old tractors and Vintage cars, to take them out and show them off each year is clearly a pleasure to these local Farmers and car lovers.
I should name this post “BOYS and their TOYS !!!!!”
Kilkenny Vintage Motor show : Gallery
Four images taken during a visit to the old city of Ancient Rome.
I was completely captivated by the old city of Rome, The scale of the temples and city building is just amazing.
As I walked around with a camera I wanted to capture as much as I could of the atmosphere, after I had a good look from the street level I took a higher view as I wanted to capture the many visitors as they themselves discovered this amazing place.
The old city of Rome
About Peoples Art
At least once a year I try to visit the Peoples art exhibition and sale at St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin , this is a great day for an art lover as its one of the biggest open air art displays in Europe.
The images posted here are all taken on a very warm summers afternoon and I got lots of great images of the artists and their work along with getting to see some great painting and drawings from Landscapes to portraits.
People’s Art Dublin is a voluntary, part time, non profit making group, brought together by Dublin City Council to promote the visual arts to the public of Dublin. Each year after expenses are paid, donations are made to various charities.
The co-operation and assistance of Dublin City Council and The Office of Public Works ( OPW ) , which makes these events possible, is gratefully acknowledged by all the artists involved.
Any artist can apply to exhibit but there are some rules that apply, it costs each artist just €25.
Life between the Storms
Today here in Ireland we are experiencing our eighth storm in eight weeks, with winds up to 160 kmph, the rivers are still flooded and we are are due two more storms before the weekend.
Yet life goes on, I took these two images of people going about their lives one getting his new paper and the other walking his dog.
As always life goes on but when its raining and the weather is very bad the doors get shut the fire is set, the newspaper is read and the dog is in his basket….
Poem : Forgotten Old Doors
Old building on the Street some think it’s beautiful, others, just drab.
Many tread these thresholds, worn like tattered lace.
old address update in a compelling space.
Green’s a fitting color for a door, so is white.
A wisp of green in the morning light.
Kernels of romance in dilapidation, hint at the intent of this creation.
How many souls passed through this door? Closed for good or will there be more?
Memories of work, hope and laughter, dreams and wishes that bathed the rafters.
Evocative of a simpler time.
Speedy technologies permeate mine.
A rusty spigot, red weathered board. How long has this old place been ignored?
Cooler dressed in rust, corrugated tin, small dab of spring vegetation sneaks in.
And at the end of yesterday, memories within.
Two shopping days to Christmas day and traditionally these are the busiest shopping days of the year, a little time back this very weekend just pasted I was in Room with my brother for a long weekend.
As you can see from the images below the streets were very busy and the town was flooded with Christmas shoppers from all over the world.
Rome at Christmas, Black and white Gallery
Typhoon Haiyan, Meeting of Filipino people living in Kilkenny. ( Sunday 17th Nov 2013)
Photographs taken during a meeting of Filipino people living in Kilkenny, to raise awareness for the effect of Typhoon Haiyan, on their home lands.
This is one of my most memorable camera moments, captured while shopping on the Via Condotti, Rome. The heavens opened and almost everyone headed towards the shops, as fast as they could. So many in fact that queue’s formed outside each one.
I spent as much time as possible just taking images of this moment.
Nineteen bear barrels for collection, 6am Monday morning and the weekend is clearly over!
Street photography on a wet day in Chester
Lets get away from the Kerry mountains and lakes for a little time anyway, lets visit Chester in the North west of England. The junction of Watergate and Bridge street to be exact, the last time I visited this wonderful old Roman town was in August 2012 and it was just like I remembered it as a kid.
The old Tudor black and white four story buildings, the narrow side streets, small shop fronts, café’s and clothes shops. Street entertainers and most of all the rain. It rains a lot in the North west of England. The rain comes down from the mountains of the Peak-district and the Mountains of North Wales.
The Morning We arrived in the town it was very wet as you can see from these images, One of the greatest features of Chester however is the raised and covered walkways running above the street level shops. They run all the way up Watergate street and down Bridge street on both sides, as you can see from the photo on the left/above.
While I waited for the others to come back from different directions and shops, I took some of the images in this post from these walkways. It was a great view point to do some people watching, just snapping away and wondering what all these people had on their minds. Presents maybe or just gifting themselves to something new, things for kids birthdays, a new phone or just a chat and a coffee with a friend.
Just people watching and wondering and recording, isn’t that what street photography is all about ?
Image Gallery – Chester on the streets
Samuel Coulthurst: Victorian Salford, Manchester(UK) – (1889 – 1890)
19th Century street photography
Back in 2002 I was back home in Manchester and visited the Lowry art museum and gallery at the Salford Quays, Manchester. This exhibition has stayed in my memory ever since so I thought I would share a post about the display of work I attended that day.
During a two year period (1889 and 1990), Samuel Coulthurst and his brother-in-law James Higson both members of the Lancashire and Cheshire photography union, dressed as what was known then as rag and bone men.
They carried their camera on the back of a cart they used and took many photographs of the people they met and got to know. Many of these photographs have been archived along with details of who these people were and what they did.
They were not simply doing a street walk about with a camera but spent time both living the lives and getting to know the people of Salford.
Many for the street children that the two photographed would have attended the Charter Street Ragged School, they had either lost parents to industrial accidents or to famine or disease. In the grounds of this church owned school is a grave yard that contains 6000 such parents. The city of Manchester has many such locations from this period.
It was in such conditions that these two photographers lived and worked taking pictures that made history. Without them most people would have forgotten in part at least, the kind of live’s that the 19th century people of Manchester lived including my Own Ancestors.
The exhibition is repeated by the Lowry Gallery so if you are in Manchester and into history/photography then maybe you could call in.
Flat Iron Market Salford. Manchester 1890.
Swan Street, Salford Manchester 1890.
Organ Grinder – Swan Street Salford, Manchester 1890.
Tom Shudehill, Poultry Market. Manchester 1890.
As its a wet and slow afternoon I thought I would just do a quick post to pass on some study links for Dorothea Lange:
Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.
A biography worthy of its subject (Linda Gordon’s DOROTHEA LANGE)
@ The historian’s lens
One of the best people and documentary photographers of all time
No she didn’t go digital!
A great book on her work was published by Phaidon and written by Mark Durden (ISBN 0-7148-4619-8)
The National Asset Management Agency an artists comment.
I have stayed away from even attempting to cover the Irish recession in my photography and possibly this has been a mistake something I may be addressing. While I was looking for some landscape locations at the Quays, St Mullins Co Kilkenny, I came across this old mill shed that has been used by a local artist to make what I feel is the perfect statement about what has been taking place in Ireland over the last three or four years.
I was amazed by the creative mind that could make great use of such a well visited and public location in Co.Kilkenny to make a clear comment.
The painting on the shed’s door and buildings end is very powerful and provocative let alone brilliantly painted.
However I think the use of the inside of the covered space at the side of the mill is the most powerful part of this work. It’s clearly reminds the viewer that a lot of people in Ireland have lost almost everything during these last years. The idea that this is a family’s living space in the remains of an old mill is not that far from the truth.
When I looked through the images at home something occurred to me, I don’t think that most people (living in or outside of Ireland) know what NAMA is, so let’s take a look at the official definition.
National Asset Management Agency
“The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA; Irish: Gníomhaireacht Náisiúnta um Bhainistíocht Sócmhainní) is a body created by the Government of Ireland in late 2009, in response to the Irish financial crisis and the deflation of the Irish property bubble.
NAMA functions as a bad bank, acquiring property development loans from Irish banks in return for government bonds, primarily with a view to improving the availability of credit in the Irish economy. The original book value of these loans was €77 billion (comprising €68bn for the original loans and €9bn rolled up interest) and the original asset values to which the loans related was €88bn with there being an average Loan To Value of 77% and the current market value is estimated at €47 billion. NAMA is controversial, with politicians (who were in opposition at the time of its formation) and some economists criticising the approach, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who has said that the Irish government is “squandering” public money with its plan to bail out the banks.
One year after NAMA’s establishment the Irish government was compelled for other but similar reasons to seek an EU-IMF bailout in November 2010, the outcome of which will have considerable effects on NAMA’s future operations.
As a result of the collapse of the Irish property market, Irish banks have property development loan assets secured on property with a market value significantly below the amount owed. Many of the loans are now non-performing due to debtors experiencing acute financial difficulties. Both factors have led to a sharp drop in the value of these loan assets.
If the banks were to recognise the true value of these loans on their balance sheets, they would no longer meet their statutory capital requirements. The banks therefore need to raise further capital but, given the uncertainty around the true value of their assets, their stock is in too little demand for a general share issuance to be a viable option.
The banks are also suffering a liquidity crisis due, in part, to their lack of suitable collateral for European Central Bank repo loans. Along with their capital requirement problems, this is limiting the banks’ ability to offer credit to their customers and, in turn, contributing to the lack of growth in the Irish economy.
How NAMA will work
The National Asset Management Agency Bill present format, covers the six financial institutions which are covered by the Irish government’s deposit guarantee scheme. Those institutions are Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, Anglo Irish Bank, EBS, Irish Life and Permanent and Irish Nationwide. Other institutions, such as Ulster Bank, which are not covered may choose to join the scheme.
The Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, said the banks would have to assume significant losses when the loans, largely made to property developers, are removed from their books. If such losses resulted in the banks needing more capital, then the government would insist on taking an equity stake in the lenders. Economist Peter Bacon, who was appointed by the government to advise on solutions to the banking crisis, said the new agency had potential to bring a better economic solution to the banking crisis and was preferable to nationalising the banks.
The assets will be purchased by using government bonds, which may lead to a significant increase in Ireland’s gross national debt.
The Bill provides that NAMA will be established on a statutory basis, as a separate body corporate with its own Board appointed by the Minister for Finance and with management services provided by the National Treasury Management Agency. 
The Bill envisages that NAMA will arrange and supervise the identification and valuation of property-backed loans on the books of qualifying financial institutions in Ireland, but will delegate the purchase and management of these loans to a separately created Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). “
This is the key statement to me:
“The assets will be purchased by using government bonds, which may lead to a significant increase in Ireland’s gross national debt. ”
So people who didn’t have any debt, people who were careful enough not to along with kids who are just getting a start in life, have now taken on the debt that other people (Banks/Investors and developers) created.
In pure terms that’s it and the questions that remain after all this, they relate to personal/individual choices and freedoms.
Well if after spending a life time being careful with your time and money you still find yourself personally indebted, to a level you cannot even imagine, Debt created by the organisations and governments in which you placed your (trust, money and votes). You can very easily ask, what was the point of you being careful in the first place.
This is the amount that every person in Ireland is now in debt:
€390,969 Foreign debt per person in Ireland
How the hell did that happen?
Personally I worked on call, seven days a week for 30 years. Got married, Pay for a simple house, never used a credit card. I lived in a city and used the bus and train. I only purchased a car when I had saved up for one.
Why, when I am now involved up to my neck in €390.969 worth of debt?
Hay, Never mind – on and up!
One night on the streets of Dubrovnik.
Kilkenny photographer : Nigel borrington
This image was taken in the court yard of IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), in Dublin last year. I don’t take enough street images these days although anything is back on the cards.
The image cannot get across just how good this musician was and how good the court yard was for him to play in.
A much bigger thing hit me about this moment however and that was the fact that he had only three people to listen to him in such a large space, it was a Tuesday afternoon in August 2012 at about 2:15pm.
Again in an effort to look for inspiration I think this was just one of those moments you come across that in the big picture of things can mean nothing and everything at the same time. If you want to pass this by then its very easy to do so, however if you get the moment you can see everything you need in it.
What I got from this moment was…
I think the times we are living through have left many people without anyone to listen or even stop and take note of what they are trying to offer. The arts have suffered very badly but it’s everywhere, small business, hotels, jobs, arts and well anything you care to add.
That’s still not what this moment outside IMMA was all about however; it was the fact that this musician had selected such a large open space to play in and was playing so well to only three people.
Just like yesterdays post and the artist I talked about, keeping playing and productive even when no one is buying, listening or taking note is actually what it’s all about. It’s how you still have something to offer when someone is listening again.
I hope that one year on he is now playing to many more but even if he isn’t yet I have a feeling that one day he will be!