Posted by David Farrell

Dublin, 18th May, 2010 

Dublin, 18th May, 2010 

A walk into town, the first one in a long time. I am without camera so as a small comfort I start to list in my head a small litany of "past the..." noting verbally though internally, so as not to appear like the village madman, all the things I observe that I might put a frame around if I was armed. It’s an interesting game and I am doing fine without my shield, most of the things are possibly to be returned to or probably not worth embalming in time - no real masterpieces then. It’s a grey softish day, the first mild day of our summer, almost warm I’d say but a moist air is the payback for this small relief from the recent sharp air. I start to reflect on this list that is now getting longer and longer and the sound in my head appeals to me - it’s worth pursuing, maybe I can begin something new and sure what else am I doing. Nothing but nothing at all at all. And then it happens, I walk around a corner and a young painter has set up an easel and is painting a street scene but in a geometric quasi abstract and with quite a nice delicate bright palette of colour and he is standing close to this large green 6x7 shape that has been painted on a shop wall and inside the shop which sells suites and ties the stuff that is alien to me there is another palette of colour like a watercolour paint-box. Inside - Outside, Outside - Inside. And I stop and look and say Bugger! - I need to make this photograph - I look around seeking friend, foe, tourist or alien - anyone with a camera will do - I will borrow it momentarily to soothe my desire, simply click and then I can go on my way. No luck. I start calculating how long will it take me to walk back to the Shoebox - will he still be here? Maybe it will rain and he will take a break, maybe he wont come back if it does. What if it brightens up? He will be on the shadow side then, not ideal, hmmmmm decisions, decisions. I walk home. I walk back again into town, this time with camera and a small digital sound recorder with a low battery level, damned batteries they empty quicker than a recessionary bank account - I start my litany again, this time out loud but without fear, for am I not like all the other mad people, who now walk around cities apparently talking, laughing and crying to themselves. I am not alone. And the possible project grows in my head - this is where the true madness lies - a series of walks accompanied by a litany of things seen and the occasional photograph made. It could be called Some Notes on Street Photography. This is getting interesting. And then I turn the same corner again and... good lad, he is still there - ah the slow time of painting, a wonderful thing, a marvelous thing. None of this click and be done with. So many possibilities pass through the frame as I observe and steal from the ebb and flow. I click and then click a bit more. I am not so sure now, now that the frame is tight around and there is all that movement and distraction inside and outside that I had filtered away when I was simply looking and making photographs in my head. Now it’s for real. Time will tell ah the quick long time of photography, a wonderful thing, a marvelous thing. I say a few words of encouragement to him as I pass by and wander back home and on the walk home I start to ponder a way of working with voiceover and photographs and by the time I have arrived back to base it has become an animation project – animated litany of words with simultaneous voiceover and intermittent photographs. Well not a bad canter for a simple walk into town although the H3D isn't exactly a street camera and perhaps it would be interesting to mix the formats from compact to medium format to give the various future walks a feeling of spontaneity and variation. For now though this will have to do and yet I have a small variation in mind already. Maybe it's something for the next posting.

Walk One, 18th May 2010, Dublin:

  • Past the white cat with the superior stare.
  • Past the bottle containing some water.
  • Past the elegant statue.
  • Past the the strange purple liquid in the laneway.
  • Past the gaping mouth that opens to the basement.
  • Past the cheery beggar who wishes me a good day.
  • Past the Botticelli girl from the gym carrying a bottle of water.
  • Past the poster for Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Past the strange tropical plants in the park.
  • Past the sweating man in the trench coat.
  • Past the homeless man carrying a copy of the Mirror.
  • Past the stressed woman with the red leather jacket shouting into her phone ‘it doesn't matter I’ll pay for it now!’
  • Past the painting by that famous painter.
  • Past the woman reading ‘The Secret Life of Bees’.
  • Past the man whistling Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’.
  • Past the half eaten lollipop.
  • Click...
  • Past the woman in the Range Rover who looks at me and I look back.
  • Past the tourist couple studying the map.
  • Past the tramp with the knarled stick who finds a tweed flat cap perched on a wall and removing his own tries the other, it’s a snug fit so it stays and the original goes into his pocket for another day, he shuffles on and so do I.
  • Past the advertisement that says ‘cheat on meat’.
  • Past the frayed blue rope wound around the black railings.
  • Past the man with the blue-grey jumper carrying three boxes.
  • Past the taxi-driver named Mick or is it John who offers to drive me around for free.
  • Past the three numbered bins that read six, six, six.
  • Past the bowl of extremely small fruit in the reception of the occupied building.
  • Past the young man with the discreet earphones and the small white logo on his raincoat.
  • Past the man with the gold envelope and the pink and white striped shirt.
  • Past the sign that says ‘just eat’.
  • Past the two plainclothes policemen sitting in the plainclothes van.
  • Past the naked light boxes in the window of the empty building.
  • Click...
  • Past the young woman with the purple coat, the purple scarf, and the pink shoes.
  • Past the sign that says ‘queue here for autographs’.
  • Past the portrait studio with the photograph of the fresh baby suspended in two upraised arms.
  • Past the bald man who looks at me and I look back.
  • Past the empty office building.
  • Past the sign that says ‘look left’.
  • Past the man on the phone who says ‘John what’s your email’.
  • Past the Bureau of Fraud Investigation. (I wonder will they come after me?)
  • Past the woman photographing the window.
  • Click - but she catches me and so we talk for a while about the melancholy aloofness of mannequins.
  • Click...
  • Past the crumpled brown bag lying dead in the dark laneway.
  • Past the sign that states ‘neat dress essential’.
  • Past the two women in synchronized step.
  • Click...
  • Past the landscape paintings in the window.
  • Past the sign that says that ‘Every Card is a Work of Art - Made in Ireland’
  • Past the wall where a sign was, and the new one will be.
  • Click...
  • Past the place with the ‘signature sandwiches’.
  • Past the sad woman with the happy dog.
  • Past the broken window.
  • Past the woman in the pinstripe raincoat.
  • Past the beautiful young woman with luscious lips who looks at me and suddenly yawns.
  • Past the small lifting cage at the back of Captain Americas.
  • Click...
  • Past the two pigeons exiting the fire door.
  • Click...
  • Past the mysterious woman hidden by the blue and pink umbrella I should have clicked.
  • Past the reversing truck going 'beep beep beep'.
  • Past the fire alarm in the empty shop.
  • Click...
  • Past the business man in the back laneway pleading with his lover ‘no no, that’s impossible’.
  • Past the painter working on a street scene.
  • Click...

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