Sláinte & Cheers is a photo series created in 2017 while in Dublin, Ireland; Northern Ireland & London, England over the course of two weeks with a focus on public environments, Whisky & Game of Thrones. You know all the basics of life.
Cushendun North Ireland
Cushendun is a picturesque North Ireland costal town that looks exactly how you would want one to look. Green, beautiful architecture, long vistas, and a town goat. Its storybook and everything people who have lived on a coast would want one to be. If you get borred of heaven there is a bit of hell around the corner which is the cave that Melisandre from Game of Thrones bore the shadow assassin.
I love composing images, paintings, design. The visual language is something that excites me and something I chase and study at every chance. Having said this being around someone like that let alone married to someone like that is not always a blast. Aware of that I have learned to compose fast, quietly and discretely which helps run and gun photoshoots like these which I call safari’s (no lighting, no tripod and you get 10 seconds).
Central Dublin Bistro
Bistros and Pubs in UK & Ireland are wonderful small gems of design, beverages and relaxation. Like art galleries where you can be surprised around every corner and the unique qualities of the artist are on display.
Lets be Candid
I hate posed photos, even when experts do it for the cover of a film magazine and collage shots together seamlessly it feels hollow. I prefer people that are sloppy in conversation, shocked in the click, unaware in their work and lost in their thoughts. I find they are more themselves and less of who they want you to think they are and so many people these days what to be perceived as anyone other than who they are.
Cushendun was really one of a kind and the colors when looking across the brine tinted misty bay were even better than the photo reflects. There were stipes of blue in the water and iconic emerald greens and golds painted along the coastline. There were even two rainbows just to really drive the point home.
There is nothing better than an image with multiple focal points, something in focus, something out of focus, something clear and center, something obscured and hidden; all these things but still a single message. It isn’t always easy to do and almost always takes longer but when you capture it, that is something and when you get it in seconds you feel magical.
Guinness Connoisseur Bar
This is a bar designed to impress and lull the visitor into a sense of wonder and mystery. You can literally feel a sense of the leather, tin, milkglass and carefully placed lighting on your skin when in it. When you are not drinking Guinness straight from the factory floor you will be memorizing the layout for when you build your own million dollar home pub.
Art School taught me few things but one of them is perfection is the enemy of progress. Life will never work out perfect, push against it where you can, judo it where you can’t and keep producing irregardless. Light is too low for a great shot, someone in the way, lighting weird colors? Test a trick to try to make it work, do your best and eliminate a variable. Any time wasted lamenting is nothing but distraction.
221 B Baker Street
Its a tourist trap but God is it a good one, if you love the stories of old or even the tv shows of today there is an element of set decoration to this location that is strewn with detail and character down to the literal inch by inch. Newspapers that tell stories, items from the books, bullet holes in the wall. This doesn’t let up just don’t put on the hats at the entrance that 100 people have worn that hour.
Enjoy the Moment
Sometimes you get to be somewhere, doing something that you love. Just enjoy that moment. There are too few of them and you can ruin a shot overstressing and you will always remember the vibe you had when you took it. Relax, get it and reward yourself with knowing that was a once in a lifetime moment. You can live a decade off of one single good work if you have to.
The Rum Kitchen
Planted in the suprisingly quiet and empty Notting Hill area this location is now closed but the kitchen was fun and the food wasn’t bad and we needed a break from the standard UK vibe. Ironically is felt more like home than it should have. Tons of fun and relaxing.
Respect the Mood
If the mood is bright, be light and loose, if it is dramatic, be low and hidden, if it is sexy and impressive, tease and let it tower over you. Lean into the mood and let it dictate some of the composition.
Queen Victoria Memorial
I have taken so many photos of this plaza over the decades and every day it is a different angle and mood and vibe. I have seen it foggy, clear, murderous, and clinical and it is just the same circle, only I have changed. There is some truth in there somewhere about life but hell if I know where.
Don’t Fight Icons
Sometimes an Apple is going to be an apple no mater what angle you find, don’t fight it or you can end up looking like you don’t know what you are shooting. Lean into it and capture what it is a tad closer or lower. If it is friendly find the mean angle and visa versa. Give depth and complexity to the shot that everyone thinks they know everything about without trying to visually say “its not that important”.
Lazy but Fun
I like Sherlock Holmes, we even wanted to see the BBC tv shooting location in SoHo if there was time which sadly there wasn’t. If you are ever in Trafalgar Square at night just jet to the east some and have a pint for fun before you call it a night.
Sometimes a shot has nothing to say other than I’m interesting and here, that is ok. If there isn’t a take that is new or fun just work to help define the three dimensionality of what “here” is. Lean into the two or three point perspective and give it some physicality. Tokyo had many shots like that for me, Visually amazing but the geometry of the single vanishing point of the alley felt like it dominated the narrative.
A Long Library of Visuals
The book covers many many more locations and photos then I could ever list here but honestly just use it as a springboard for a trip of your own. Dublin in early October was perfect and the UK was a sight to behold.
Grab your camera, brush, pencil or audio recorder and get out there and find something interesting to share with your future friends. This world is loaded with the work of billions of humans all who get very little attention for the work they do. Find it, celebrate it, mock it, luxuriate in it but capture it because order and design are not the natural state and people/places disaper faster than you might think.