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Streets of Dublin

April 16, 2008

I traveled to Ireland (and Scotland) in 2001. Wow, that was a long time ago now. It was an experience, like I hope every experience is, that changed my life. A good friend and I backpacked around for a short while. We met some amazing people and had all the great adventures most other backpackers can talk of. I carried a film camera and hadn’t done a lot of photojournalist style photography (besides weddings). The balance between enjoying everything for myself and trying to capture what I was experiencing on film really frustrated me. I love looking back at my images now but I can see the fear in them. Here are two that I scanned a long time ago.

The first image of the boy is probably my favorite from the trip. I was finally letting go of my anxiety of photographing strangers. We were walking down the street and lingered near a bus stop where a lot of interesting people were waiting. Around their legs played a few Irish boys. They were kicking around a ball. I remember feeling relaxed as I watched them through my lens. Being that I had a limited amount of film on me I had to choose carefully when to open my shutter. This boy sat to take a short breather. I held my breath and waited for him to look back at his friends, he did and this is what I got. I feel it was my first photojournalistic success!

Dublin Boy

This second image is a favorite of all my friends. I see it as a missed opportunity but I do like to remember that moment. My poor traveling buddy must have been sick of me griping over not knowing how to get a good image and not having the nerve to do it. I’m not sure if I thought this poor old man was going to run after me or what but I was so terrified to point my lens in his direction. If I had relaxed and waited for the moment I would have gotten a better composition. But I won’t live in the what ifs. I do love his posture, his outfit and how he holds his bag. He was simply walking down the street. I knew there was a moment to capture. He did stop at exactly the right moment and pause right across the street from where I was standing. I should have seen it as magical but instead I was shaking in my boots and barely held the camera up long enough to expose the film.

Ireland Man

My travel friend, Gin, is an incredible writer. Here are a few excerpts from her writings about Ireland.

The dream. The theme. Everybody wants to see
What the heart already believes.
A soul in waiting is elastic in tension
But unbreakable in strength.
A city now in ruins
Has nothing left to lose.

I hear songs on the radio —like the smell of cold air and pine trees and you know its Christmas— that take me back to a place that began as a dream and is quickly fading into one again..

I sleep in different places every night, I call no place home, but finally I am more at home with myself than ever before.

Elevated above the night, I fly into day. The moon high above now behind me
and the sun, the sun rising in front of me. The day sleeps on a beautiful dream, it still lives on deep in the middle of night; dark and black and exploding as with fireworks on the first of July. It refuses to die.  I close my eyes, stretch out my hands, open my heart and say goodbye.

– Gin Balfour (2001)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2008 5:3 3

    I completely forgot about these shots! I remember seeing these and thinking “Charla’s good; very good”…and I’ve never read Gin’s writing before; beautiful

  2. Shannon permalink
    April 16, 2008 5:3 3

    I completely forgot that you went to Dublin. I bet our pics from there are VERY different! Mine are typical touristy stuff. lol

  3. craig permalink
    April 17, 2008 5:3 3

    good times! you inspired me on that trip Charla

  4. blair permalink
    April 17, 2008 5:3 3

    that was a cool trip that i wished i could make still…. Way to go Gin with the verbage and poetry. I hope we can publish her soon. She’s amazing!

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