Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time Tunnel

This viewpoint reminded me of these old time tunnel films - before Stargate altered our idea of what it might be like. In these days travellers were portrayed as whirling around inside a curved structure! This is an upward view of The Oval office development on the Shelbourne Road. There used to be a laundry on this site and the old chimney has been retained (to the left of the picture). The structure of the offices revealed the limitations of digital photography and interference patterns set up by the windows are obvious. Technically this is a "moiré" pattern, set up by the overlapped grids which form part of the office window design. It's always interesting to look up, as I'm fond of saying in this blog. Many people pass this every day, but they tend to be looking down. The Oval is unusual in current office developments because it features a substantial amount of public space with access to the River Dodder. I recommend that if you are passing on your way to the station, take a detour. Leave some time and relax for a few minutes on the bench seats that match the curve of the building. Move your eyes across the scene and you may perceive a slight strobing effect.

Flower Box Space

Another shot in more or less the same place in the Pembroke Road. This was yesterday and again the weather is good following an indifferent summer. The sky is blue and the light strikes into every corner, brightening objects in an interesting way. Lets shed some light into interesting corners! Henri Lefebvre says that - as an industry - construction is comparatively new. It tends to accelerate when other sectors flag. It's about the production of space, so it doesn't encounter the same obstacles as other industries. It employs a great deal of labour and, at the same time, generates fairly spectacular profits. It's very alluring as a form of investment. But in terms of space, it tends to destroy the present in favour of an uncertain future. What will the buyer of this property receive as the use value of the house? A parcel of pros and cons of course, but the city centre is very walkable. That's a saving in time. So ... space is the envelope of time says Lefebvre.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chutes and Sky

This building was being renovated in the Pembroke Road earlier in the year. I don't know why I had had forgotten about this particular image because it was very colourful and a decent image of people working. We have had much of this kind of sky this year, despite poor weather generally. No polarising filter required in this case. The Pembroke Road always has something to offer the photographer and just when I think I am running out of ideas, something else appears. Despite that, there is always the feeling that perhaps I don't want the Pembroke Road to change that much. We all like the familiar because it is reassuring. Sometimes clients in psychotherapy feel they want to change, but at the same time, even difficulties can be reassuring. At least they are familiar to us - a known quantity. To move forward means abandoning the old ways and establishing a new way of being. If we insisted on keeping the Pembroke Road exactly the way it is now, it would be a museum, not a living changing place. Perhaps to insist on keeping ourselves the way we are now, refusing to adapt and becoming - as the existentialists say - "sedimented", is to create a museum of the self.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chestnut Sweet

This is the time of the chestnuts and my neighbour's children and friends collected many from the next street. They set up a small stall to trade in these lovely fruits and the chestnuts in the picture constitute the remainder!. I positioned them just beneath the window in the hall as a most beautiful sunlight filtered through. The chestnut (the sweet chestnut in Europe) involves an interesting symbolism. The Chinese see it as corresponding with the west and place it on alters facing that way. It's a symbol of foresight, perhaps because it was saved as a winter food. And it's a symbol of chastity in Christianity.There is an enormous chestnut tree in Sicily on the banks of Mount Etna, claimed by one scientist to be 4000 years old. So maybe it's also because of the tree''s longevity that its chestnuts are associated with foresight. I recall the smell of roast chestnuts in London many years ago - around the beginning of November. They were roasting on cinders burning in a mobile vendor's wagon. If I concentrate, I can still sense that sweet smell.

Ballsbridge Grime

This is one of these things you pass daily and can't help noticing. Why do we produce light and then allow it to be obscured? This would be a case for Kim and Aggie in "How clean is you house?" If this globe was inside a house, a psychotherapist might feel that the householder was depressed, too dispirited to care about his or her personal environment. Outside though, is in the social domain. Carl Jung felt that there was both a personal and collective consciousness and unconsciousness. The collective is the collection of individuals who occupy a social and cultural space. So, at the risk of a pun, what's happening in the social sphere? Is there something we don't want to see - something we would rather leave in the shadows? Jung conceives that we all have a shadow - the unintegrated elements of our self. Renowned child psychologist Piaget, notes that children see light as "a line of force running through the visual field" and that shadows run away from the light. What is it about ourselves that we would like to run away from?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Outside the Tent

Back at the Anglesey Circuit and above are a few members of the Absol Racing Team from Co Kildare. Rider Emmet O'Grady on the Triumph T3 has been doing rather well this season so I want to applaud a Hero of the Track. You might catch him on Motors TV channel. The sky was a very particular blue and just for a second it looked like a scene from the Himalaya base camp. I had never considered the tent as a powerful symbol and yet it is rich and complex. Because it comprises a covering for the nomad traveller, the tent provides a canopy like the heavens. Almost all religions revere the tent. A tent was set aside for the Lord when he dwelled with the children of Israel. This has a parallel in the Hindu world where Mandapa (tent) became the word for temple. So tents are the protecting father. Maybe that partially explains their presence at motorbike race gatherings. I think we all like a tent because we set it up as a covering - a canopy - with nothing inside. Then we fill it and enjoy the shelter it offers. Thanks to Absol's Iain Duff (on the right) for his support.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arthur's Day at the Waterloo

I'm just moving away from Anglesey for a moment to celebrate Arthur's Day. Now this photograph was taken this evening, just before the appointed time of 17.59. Guinness takes time as you know. It's some 250 years since the first Guinness hit the bars and even though it's a commercial promotion, I thought it would be nice to wander down to the local and join the festivities. A merry band was there, quaffing the delicious brew, and I spent an hour in good company. Beer of course is a great symbol. Medb, the Queen of Connaught was extremely partial to beer and mammoth amounts of beer were drunk by the warrior caste, especially at Samain. Immortality is said to come with this kind of celebratory drunkenness. Guinness surely is held in high esteem, not only by the living but by the dead and the Gods.

Three Amigos

Many good shots presented at the Anglesey Circuit last weekend. I really liked these three guys. In my competition days, they would have been called "greybeards". These days we are in the van. Twiggy, Bruce Springsteen (and the rest) reached sixty recently. What makes the picture for me is that there are three - and three is symbolically rich. Freud felt that it was a sexual symbol. Sociologists describe three as typical of social orders. Zoologists and biologists have identified different kinds of triads in humans. Family psychotherapists look for relationship triads when they are developing client genograms. A fellow blogger Urban Semiotic notes the Holy Trinity, the third planet, three blind mice and we could go on with the three bears, three wise men and of course - the Three Amigos. Hurrah for the Three Amigos!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

West Coast Palms

I’m not sure what variety of palm this is. There are many! This was on Anglesey’s West coast so it could be a Trachycarpus fortune, which is what you might find at Inverewe Gardens in north-west Scotland. I really liked these ones though and the blue sky made the picture for me. I ran the image through the Velvita filter for strong colours, which is why the reds are really visible. Palms are signs of victory. They are also signs of ascension, immortality and regeneration - so maybe that’s why I have placed them series with motorcycling pictures. If you have ever seen bike racing you will know what I mean! Jung says the palm is a symbol of the soul and I like to think that’s correct. Anglesey is a very pretty and most welcoming place, that I would heartily recommend - not only for the motorbike racing, but for a vacation. When the sun shines, the island just sparkles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anglesey Peel

The shot "Peel" is named after the corner on the Anglesey Circuit. It was a long shot on a 200mm lens so I was rather happy that I could see at least one face under the helmets. Symbolically, helmets are worn by Gods and heroes. To the watching crowd, these riders are certainly regarded as heroes. But I guess this shot is about balance. The rider uses his mind and body to balance the machine in this spectacular way, carrying out the task without thinking about it. The body itself has a memory, so it becomes a rider's second nature to corner well and pass another rider. The great cognitive psychologist, Aaron Beck argues that body has a memory that is stored at the cellular level. A Jungian psychologist would argue that in this display of balance, unconscious forces make rider and machine a single spiritual entity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Two Guys at the Race Meeting

I had just been talking to the man walking away, when suddenly a photographic opportunity presented. This is at the Anglesey Circuit, which is probably the most scenic in these islands. A local man (at the rear of the shot) had decided to investigate the motorbike racing and was thrilled. This embankment circles around part of the 2 mile track, which has been recently improved. This week I'm going to feature some more shots from the recent meeting which included Irish Superbikes. Motorbike racing falls into the category of games. In games, the individual has to take part and find himself, no matter what. The game is not technically a symbol but carries symbols (like heroes) within its structure. So motorbike racing is part of an overall ritual which is about civic community and social bonding. In games, competitors rival one another often to the point of injury - strength, endurance and skill all have to be deployed. But at the heart of everything, it's about meeting and there's a real sense of that at Anglesey circuit.

Gasometer Skyline

I couldn't resist a wide angle shot of these gasometers at Holyhead Port. I was waiting for the ferry, which hadn't started loading. Naturally as soon as the camera was out the bag, the steward waved the traffic forward. So this is the only (hurried) shot. What a cloud formation though! Industrial locations can be very dramatic and especially a dusk approaches. Rain clouds have a special symbolic quality which is connected with fertility and water. In some legends they are the daughters of the water. These clouds look as if they are about to embrace the structures below - so they could be considered female. We think of clouds ambivalently. "His head was in the clouds" is a little different from "being on Cloud 9". Paintings of angels are often set in the clouds - ethereal and mysterious. But in Greek mythology they are often used to conjure up tricks and diversions. Zeus conjured up the cloud, Nephele, to look like Hera, Ixion's love. The subsequent tryst with Ixion resulted in the birth of the centaurs. So maybe these clouds are centaurs of the evening.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sandymount Blues

I always speculate about the number of photographs of this scene that must be in existence. There is little rest for the Keepers of the Light. Yet there is much to consider in the scene itself - the chimneys as the conductor of fumes, the water, the sand, the playing child - and of course, the sky. I particularly like this shot that picked up the evening light. It was still warm and there were a few children in the water. Colours were standing out, particularly reds and yellows - even though its predominantly blue that catches the eye. I like walking on the sand because sand adapts to whatever shape is there like water. In other cultures, such as Islam, sand can be used instead of water for absolution. It seems to absorb energy - as you find when you try to run on sand. The water was very still when I took this shot - mirror like, reflecting some other kind of reality.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Linen Chimney

Walking along Elgin Road to the shops, I was wondering what kind of image to record. Since photographers are the Keepers of the Light, surely I hadn't run out of ideas. Everything seemed familiar. Then I looked to my right and there was a new chimney or flue to be exact. It was well shiny, but in the background there was a washed-out September sky. I was pleased with the shot though (there were several) and I stripped it of the little colour there was there. I found it soothing to look at and subjected it to various filters. So I finally designed it as a low 25 ASA monochrome slide. That's Ilford for aficionados. The linen filter warmed it slightly. The symbolism is of silver even though the flue is clearly aluminium. The positive side is that it is indeed soothing to look at. In Jungian terms, it also symbolises the negative desire to acquire a shiny object. I found myself looking at various warmer versions, but this one is my favourite.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seascape and Dog

This is my accidental tribute to Monet. The dog came my way much to quickly to adjust anything. It looked like a nice shot in miniature but when enlarged the dog's movement had definitely blurred. What to do? I tried blurring it a bit more. Then I tried for a lot of blur! Here's the result and I really like it. Have a look at the image enlarged and you will see what I mean. An admirer of Monet's seaside stuff, I am really happy. The old adage in the photographic business is never throw any shot away, never delete. You might find a use for it later and if it's gone, you will surely regret it. This looks like a Lurcher to me, even if it is blurred. This would be a beast that belongs to the Warrior Class in the Celtic world. Across the Celtic world, dogs were used for hunting and war. In contrast to other cultures there is never a bad word said about dogs (except in the Christian write-ups of folk tales)! Potent and magnificent, they are the great culture heroes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Red Danger

Spotted on the beach at Bray, the sign is pock marked by many missiles. Universally ignored, the signpost itself is tilted and worn. I didn't even notice the linguistic error until much later. Is this a little Zen perhaps, swimming on the rocks? Danger lurks around every corner and we are well warned these days. No can do this, no can do that sings the gypsy band, Gogol Bordello. Red is for danger and we have been down this road several times. But the rocks are unchanging and unyielding. In the Christian world, the Rock is something to depend on and in the Old Testament it connotes strength. but these rocks are more of a reef, stretching out into the bay. These are dangerous enemies, and psychoanalytically we could consider them as crushing. In the unconscious there may be stony and implacable foes. Like Sisyphus, we might try eternally to move a rock up the hill or have our journey curtailed by the misfortune of foundering on the reefs. Perhaps the work of psychoanalysis is to enable the client to successfully steer, rather like Odysseus, through the waters of the unconscious.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Viva Velvia

This shot is dedicated to both the old Fuji Velvia transparency film - and Harry's Filters. Fuji Velvia was a lovely film. It had deep saturated colours across the range and if you lost a stop and ran it at 25 ASA it was it had stacks of impact. Harry's Filters offer free plug-ins for Photoshop and this is Virtual Photographer's "Velvita"! I really wish I had some Velvia stock to record this late summer weather that Dublin is enjoying. In its absence I am going to process images using the virtual darkroom that these plug-ins provide. Using the Virtual Photographer plug in I can select 25 ASA slide film and play around. The wide angle shot above was just a random look upwards at Dundrum. The trees are acquiring their beautiful autumn colours. These days, we spend so much time chasing around pursuing fallen leaves that we forget to appreciate the changes going on all around us. Change means loss said my group supervisor. We are losing the lush greens and moving into russet browns. I love these browns which are closer to red, because brown (donn) is in Celtic terms the colour of war and the Underworld. Freud would have emphasised the anal nature of brown - so russet is the term for me!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Real Tomatoes: The Signification

Now this shot is by Mick, our guest photographer of the week. This is carefully shot and edited with much thought. I love the hairs on the hanging tomatoes. Home grown tomatoes too - no supermarket water bombs these. When I smell such tomatoes I am reminded immediately of one of my childhood neighbours who had a greenhouse. I used to eat these delicious fruits raw - a bit like the format of this shot which was originated as RAW. That's exactly what it means, a means of making a digital negative that preserves most of the data from the shot without compression. It's a bit like these tomatoes being grown to preserve taste and nutrition. They are original, not genetically modified, nor will they be full of water. I am describing an authentic tomato but I wonder if there is any such thing. Anthropologists argue no and suggest that authenticity is largely a construction, a concept. Yet I would rather have one of these tomatoes. What does the picture of tomatoes signify? That's a better question. What does this still life suggest to us? I think the picture of tomatoes (the sign) suggests the natural. That's the signified and that's semiotics. So having foregrounded the signifier, I'll sign off!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Autumn Let

The problem of space never dies, does it? And in the Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, space is at a premium. Only five spaces remaining says the sign. What if we don't manage to secure the remaining space? If you walk around the area, there are a bewildering array of signs. Many are about the forthcoming referendum. But these could easily be outnumbered by the ubiquitous To Let signs. Here is the land - or Madame La Terre as the French might say. It is always a mystery to me that there is a plentiful supply of buildings, but many are homeless. In Pembroke Road and Baggot Street there are unfortunate people who find themselves without adequate accommodation and who are forced to ask others for funds. Naturally accommodation is not equivalent to home. Home is where the heart is. More than a dwelling or a residence, home is about origin and attachment. Homeless people have lost their attachments and often feel abandoned, detached from their original home. It would be of value to match up the homeless with the accommodation surplus. That would at least redress the balance and respond to Focus Ireland's call - everyone has a right to a place they can call home.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wee Graffiti Hoose

This small house is just around the corner and defies development in the area. It's got a fair amount of graffiti and I think a rock band used to practice there. I particularly liked the outline of a girl or woman reaching for something. For the photograph itself, I gave a high key look after I'd saturated the reds and greens. What would Gaston Bachelard make of this house I wonder? But for all its run-down nature this house retains some charm and interest. Just what is it doing here, nestling amongst its more affluent neighbours? And the graffiti? The word is derived from the Italian graffitito " - scratched", more or less. It might well be that the earliest of the modern graffiti styles were advertisements for prostitutes. So say the local guides an ancient sites. Certainly, Roman harlots wore a label with their name on their forehead so I guess I'm making a case for the theory. I'm relying on Erich Neumann for the following message. We have to be careful here, because the harlot is related to the Great Mother who is a virgin. This is often mistaken for chastity. Because she is unrelated and not dependent on any man, she is a universal female type and hence a sacral type in antiquity. She, the fertility Goddess, is ready to give herself to any man because it's all about fruitfulness and fertility. And there's much more than that but we're along way from graffiti ...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dublin Espresso Bongo

This is definitely a shot for photographers. But I had to use a very high ASA to get it and when it's enlarged the image is a bit noisy. But the setting also records the brown shades very nicely, so I am happy with that. Coffee is very alluring isn't it? Here, I am indebted to a colleague for raising the question of the transitional object. Now the transitional object usually refers to things like Teddy Bears which children cling to in the absence of the mother. It bridges that space for a while until the child recognises that Mum is still there - even though she can't be seen. My colleague made a strong case for the tea bag as a transitional object, and I think that we often do the same with coffee. We are bridging the gap between home and the outside world. It "keeps us going". I called the picture espresso bongo after the Cliff Richards film, but the film's real title is Expresso Bongo. The producers knew it was wrong, but that's what everyone was calling espresso in the early sixties coffee bar craze. We are attached to coffee in its many styles but espresso is a very short jab. In Italy, one wouldn't linger over such a coffee. It's designed to invigorate quickly - somewhere transitional between home and work!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

That's some plant!

I spotted this plant, aggressively making its way through a hedge in Raglan Road. What would Freud make of this one? I think it intends to eject these seeds very shortly. Next year the neighbourhood will have many. It made me recall a time when I planted a packet of Carrot seeds and they came up marigolds. What's more, the following year the whole street was a sea of orange. Seeds are about the alternating cycle of life and death. They die and are reborn. This is why so many initiation rites refer to plants - corn in particular. Morris Dancers refer to corn and of there are many jokes regarding the threshing of the corn in folk songs from peasant days. Spiritual beliefs often offer a way out of this inexorable cycle - those who believe in reincarnation for example. How many times do we say, "I must have been a cat (or some other animal) in a previous life."? We have identified an attribute of ourselves that we then ascribe to the present. Yet it is somewhat soothing to feel we will live on. Like the plant that intends to live, we also wish to continue.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Colour Doll

I had a request for a colour version of this shot. The doll is quite a potent symbol, although we tend to forget Russia, Native Americans and of course Haiti when considering them. This doll however, reminds me of Victorian dolls, which in turn reminds me of the Henry Ibsen Play, A Doll's House. Much is written about symbols in this play - it's a great favourite for sixth form exam questions. But of all the symbols mentioned, the one that tends to be forgotten is the doll. Nora of course is the doll in the house, the trapped plaything resenting her position in a patriarchal society. The doors, the house, Christmas tree, the tarantella are symbols too - but the slamming of the door is merely a sign - unless there is a number. Deceitful Nora herself is the doll, dancing and singing with her children and generally disporting herself youthfully around the house. Thorvald, her duped husband, calls her a "squirrel" and a "lark". Nora is a bit of a giddy goat, trapped by her own underhanded behaviour. Her deceit was well meant and for good. But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In the end we are faced with the question, should Nora leave the Doll's House? Leave the children? Or like the real-life wife she was modelled on, be removed and placed in a lunatic asylum? These questions I leave to my readers.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gaiety Glamour

Another shot from the further education exhibition at the RDS. More fun with make up can be had at the Gaiety Theatre. I gave this a special filter (glamour), a plug-in available free from Harry's Filters. I often ask clients what they are doing for fun. Strictly speaking this is part of Reality Therapy which stresses five areas to work on - survival, power, freedom, love and belonging and ... fun! Ironically it often seems like fun is the most difficult area to address. Reality therapy takes a problem solving approach - solution focused if you like. How would you like it to be? is one of the phrases psychotherapists use. I prefer What would it be like to have fun? So what would it be like to relax for an evening a week and do something you never thought about. Forget your worries and anxieties and have fun messing around. We are very concentrated on work these days so here is something to redress the balance. The photograph is another mask of course - so what is our model projecting. What is being communicated? It's very doll-like so what would it be like to play at being a doll? In psychoanalysis we seek to strip off the mask, but it's great fun in this case, to put one on.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Saving Space in the Pembroke Road

This is merely one of these movable posts to protect a gateway from parking interlopers. It's in the Pembroke Road so I guess parking is at a premium. It presented a perfect opportunity for another discourse on space! There are many more things we say about space, such as "we need more space", "there's no space for it", "we've run out of space" - or my favourite, "a waste of space". What do we really mean about space? Could it really be just an empty area? Space here is the bounded geometrical area - mathematically reserved for automobiles. This kind of space is demarcated and it excludes other spaces. But what about mental space? In the realm of ideas and thought it sometimes seems infinite - although I do recall during my training when it did seem that there was no more mental space for concepts and discourse. There was of course, but it felt as if there was no more room. We had crammed our mental space with stuff. Yet there is always more mental space. Psycho-analytic space is perhaps a space for generating the transformation and management of the self. Rather then saving space, it seems to be capable of limitless expansion!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ballsbridge Mailout

The post is always about Hermes, God of communication. And here he is, on his steed. I was admiring the patina of paint and corrosion on the top of the letter box when Hermes rode up. We had a conversation about the charity run to Galway and he allowed me to take this photograph, which I am rather pleased with. It was a good opportunity but I felt I didn't have much time. There's a little bit of fill flash here because exposure of the face is difficult when its buried in a full face helmet (plus the dark glasses!). Youthful and swift, Hermes assumed the patronage of young people. He was inventive but also cunning and mischievous. He was the patron of orators and anyone involved in communication - politicians, journalists and public relations workers fall under his remit. But for all Celtic sources that can be ascertained, the messenger is a beautiful woman, who appears to a chosen one on the festival of Samain. Well, the messenger is one thing but the message is another - and Samain is in November. What's in the message? News, notifications, cheques, invoices, receipts ...