The title of the Talking Heads song, ‘Give me back my name’ – appears to me to about identity.  Identity is what keeps us humans civilised  and again makes us horrid in every way.  Particularly complicated issues in war and religion are often described in shades of grey.  However as we understand things and begin to become closer the impression is clearer, more black and more white.

The Journey of Discovery
The Journey of Discovery

And isn’t life full of contradictions ?  Until you start getting closer,  close enough till the greys become black and while the lighter greys progress to white.  Maybe this is how every village, town or person is formed into a general understanding and some kind of acceptance of peace and status quo, I guess.  The world and all it’s thinking promotes the grand idea, of the common denominator making all things compatible and conform, the conception of  “tolerant”.  Maybe an awful digression but no doubt  certainly a misuse of the word, I believe.

That is how Photography by it’s nature is indifferent and yet prejudice at the same time. As a good photographer we can not be tolerant, we strive to isolate and to emphasis our subject. This is how it has to be if we are to succeed from mediocrity to art or at least something meaningful.  Our interpretation of what we are seeing, and are amazed by.

Morning Pancake
Morning Pancake


Is it’s the line ? – the box and the shape sitting at rest bouncing their shades or textures between one another to form a presence, surrounded by the restricted frame of the photograph. Is this how images are made ? Or maybe the light that cuts and chops across a length or width. Possibly the subject interplays with us – the viewer or its chosen surroundings pinned in by the photographer’s viewfinder. Are all these things just good intentions on a misguided path ?  – our formula to create artwork and pass it off as art ?

Take 5, Temple Bar, Dublin
Take 5, Temple Bar, Dublin

How are we to arrive at that destination of everlasting then ? Is there tracks lay out for our artwork to bring them to life and longevity. I mean really – there are no easy answers to these kind of questions ultimately. Going beyond the rules, guides and formulas and out into the great unknown pass our comfort factors is a good place of any to start.

That vastness far away from our creative little sandbox is the place we should strive to be as artists ( or the makers of meanings or the makers of more questions!). But as I said there is the paradox to all this within photography we are free to create, to explore and to push the boundaries but all within the restriction or the discipline we’ve chosen for the meaning of our work. That difference from other things which are not, not artwork that is, is intention. Whether it be accidental, the result of discovery or the end to a quest, in all these things we set out on that journey to make images.

Merchant's Arch, Dublin
Merchant’s Arch, Dublin

So the question of identity for us as photographers is something very different to the rest of the world. Well sure we have a camera and maybe a tripod too that is how the world bind us up together and call us by the name – photographers. But that’s not what defines us, in fact our goal is not to have anything in common.  To be very different, to make images that are unique. An impossible task but nonetheless the journey of photography.

Images taken with the Leica M8 Zeiss 35mm f/2 in Dublin, Ireland 2010

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October 21, 2010

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