The Look of the Irish

From RTE,


‘The Look of the Irish’ is a series of 9 programs dedicated to Photography and representation. This is the list:

Fergus Bourke: In His Own Words.

Fergus Bourke: In His Own Words

RTÉ One, 11.10pm on Sunday 9 August 2009

Made shortly before his death, this moving portrait of renowned photographer Fergus Bourke was first shown in May 2007. It introduces us to his life and work and the wide array of Irish life captured through his lens, including Dublin street scenes, pioneering photo-journalism, remarkable portrait photographs and classic images of Connemara and the Irish countryside.

Robert, William, and Alec Day

Day By Day By Day

RTÉ One, 7.30pm on Monday 10 August 2009

Robert, William, and Alec Day photographed their native Cork for over 100 years, creating a unique and unsurpassed photographic record of the city and its surroundings. This new documentary tells the story of an unusual family and the images they produced, from visiting kings and streetscapes to naked ladies and departing liners.

Michael Ryan

The Day Before Yesterday

RTÉ One, 8.30pm on Monday 10 August 2009

First broadcast in April 1994, ‘The Day Before Yesterday’ looks back at Ireland in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, as shown through the lens of Jesuit and photographer Fr. Francis Browne. Scripted and narrated by Michael Ryan, over 2,000 photographs from Fr. Browne’s collection of 40,000 are seen onscreen, a fascinating account of the birth and growth of independent Ireland record, of the people and the times.

David Farrell - Elusive Moments

David Farrell – Elusive Moments

RTÉ One, 11.05pm on Monday 10 August 2009

David Farrell is the only Irish photographer to have won the European Publishers’ Award for Photography, for his hugely successful exhibition Innocent Landscapes, dealing with the searches for the so-called “disappeared” from the conflict in the north of Ireland. Shot in Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Italy and Paris, Elusive Moments follows two years of his working life, taking photographs, editing and printing his pictures, preparing them for exhibitions, and dealing with the marketplace.

Edward Quinn

Riviera Cocktail

RTÉ One, 11.25pm on Tuesday 11 August 2009

The Côte D’Azur in the 1950’s was the most glamorous place on the planet, where high society, big business, art, music and literature gathered to play. And Irish photographer Edward Quinn (1920 – 1997) was there to record it, producing exclusive photos of Grace Kelly, Federico Fellini, Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Edith Piaf, Max Ernst, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis and so many more.


Sweet Cork Of Thee – Edwardian Cork On Camera

RTÉ One, 7.30pm on Wednesday 12 August 2009

Some 15 years before Tomas MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney defined Cork’s republican credentials, English cinematographers Mitchell and Kenyon observed an altogether more ‘loyal’ Cork than that portrayed in the Rebel Cork story. In this RTÉ Archive Unit documentary, first shown on Christmas Day 2005, Pat Butler casts a wry eye on the Citizens of Cork, as they sport and play and go about their lives on the Banks of the Lee in 1902, spiced with Victorian and Edwardian ballads.


Dark Room

RTÉ One, 11.55pm on Wednesday 12 August 2009

First shown in February 2003, Dark Room looks at the life of the famous Irish photographer, Harry Thuillier, Jnr. Born in Dublin in 1984, his subject matter was noted for its particular darkness, including ancient skulls, limbs decorated with opium pods and flowering nudes. He survived an attack on a Dublin street which left him with only 80% vision in his right eye, and went on to make very distinctive and beautiful work, until his unexpected and mysterious death in Milan in December 1997.


The Man Who Shot Beckett

RTÉ One, 11.05pm on Thursday 13 August 2009

John Minihan is probably the most important Irish photographer alive today, his subjects ranging from Francis Bacon to John Hurt, Princess Diana to William Burroughs, his acclaimed pictures of Athy, and the famous series of photographs he took of Samuel Beckett in London and Paris. This profile of Minihan was first shown as part of RTÉ Beckett 100 in April 2006 and celebrates the friendship between Beckett and the photographer, a friendship that produced some of the most remarkable images of the great writer.


Townlands: Not Fade Away

RTÉ One, 8.30pm on Friday 14 August 2009

In the wet and windy summer of 1913 two young women arrived in Ireland from France. Marguerite Mespoulet and Madelaine Mignon were women on a mission – to document what they regarded as the dying remnants of a great Celtic culture. During May and June 1913 they made a total of 75 colour photographs, stunning images, many with the delicacy of paintings, which together with their travel notebook, form a unique and fascinating record of an Ireland that, even then, was quickly fading away. (First shown in August 2004.)

The official site for ‘The Look of the Irish’ is here:

Police filming English streets in 1935

This film illustrates an early example of technologically-mediated visual surveillance: the use of cine cameras by the British police in 1935 in the English town of Chesterfield in an operation to crack down on illegal street betting. The film accompanies an article by Chris Williams in Surveillance & Society 6(1) which explains what was going on and why… You can read the abstract or the full article Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification(Chris A Williams, James Patterson, James Taylor).

Chris A Williams, James Patterson, James Taylor

Dear Mr Pepsident:


Dear Mr President‘ is PEPSI’s advert (thought and thus, it would be so much cooler if it was Mr PEPSIdent); you are suppose to answer this question: ‘what would you say to the man who is about to refresh America?’. PEPSI then becomes the channel, the messenger, the carrier, the pigeon, the media between the audience and the target. Very clever. An banking on one of the most widely liked presidents on the history of the United States of NorthAmerica, that is also clever. You can see there loads of videos and short textual messages from famous and the rest of us. 

Its all here.

Paranaiv, with an infinite blog.

Crying Lighta sketchbook for designing websites and adverts

Apart from other things like having designed a very useful Web Design Sketch book, a pretty clever album sleeve for Antony and the Johnsons imaginary new album, and a very interesting project called Livezine, where the images are alive (go and see if you dont believe me), Paranaiv offers what it would look like an infinite blog about Fashion Photography. It is an excellence resource if you are looking for inspiration.

Tyler Tiberius, seen in Paranaiv.Tyler Tiberius, seen in Paranaiv.

See more at Paranaiv

A Photographic Share Economy?

President and First Lady Obama at the Inaugural Youth Ball

At the Inaugural Youth Ball, the new President of the United States of (North) America and the First Lady Obama salute the crowd.

What an amazing image!
While the event is happening, we the audience indulge in its consumption by recording it, rather than experiencing the event itself. We engage the media, the channel, the interface, and not the message. This image speaks volumes about how we experience reality, about our relation with the image world, and about ownership. I saw it recently on Coscientious (through TomorrowMuseum, Venture Beat, Ekstasis, Constant Siege). Although we have seem similar images or may have even experience this ourselves, specially during concerts, perhaps because of the event, Obama’s new presidency celebrations, it may have reached global values.

It is obvious that such mass-recorded events could not have taken place last century, without the advent of new technologies that could facilitate both the mass production and the mass distribution of the photographic apparatus. But it was bound to happen, as more and more people become owners of digital cameras.

There is a double intrinsic idea in the photographic act: not only you think it is worth recording, but it is also worth owning. The image Im taking is precious both because I was there and it was important, and because I desire to be the owner of that document.

A while ago I read about Kevin Kelly’s essay Better Than Owning, that arrived to me in a much shorter version in Boing Boing feed, that I read about again in Share Economy, and I think it is worth repeating here:

Very likely, in the near future, I won’t “own” any music, or books, or movies. Instead I will have immediate access to all music, all books, all movies using an always-on service, via a subscription fee or tax. I won’t buy – as in make a decision to own — any individual music or books because I can simply request to see or hear them on demand from the stream of ALL. I may pay for them in bulk but I won’t own them. The request to enjoy a work is thus separated from the more complicated choice of whether I want to “own” it. I can consume a movie, music or book without having to decide or follow up on ownership.

For many people this type of instant universal access is better than owning. No responsibility of care, backing up, sorting, cataloging, cleaning, or storage. As they gain in public accessibility, books, music and movies are headed to become social goods even though they might not be paid by taxes. It’s not hard to imagine most other intangible goods becoming social goods as well. Games, education, and health info are also headed in that direction.

It is hard to chew a way forward in terms of a Photographic share economy, though while it seems excessive for mankind to record the same event with millions of cameras, we all want to have one, to take one. Maybe the issue is there, in the sharing. Or perhaps we have to relax and enjoy what we are experiencing rather than recording it (remember how we became slaves of our video-cameras in the 80’s?), is it then a matter of education? a cultural construct?

Mapping the world: the panorama.

In our endeavor of mapping the world, there has been a good number of inventions and developments that would keep us amazed for the rest of our lives.

Panoramic San Francisco from Rincon Hill c.1851.jpg
The history of panoramic photography is quite an interesting one, and has referents from the very beginning of Photography. From the first 1843 hand-cranked camera, with fixed-lens, and a 150° field of view, to the full rotation of the Panoscan, there is an enormous list of devices, apparatus, machines, and general concoctions that were developed in the race for a perfect experience of a panorama.

Nowadays, some of the most interesting panoramas I have seen are made with the Gigapan, and through the  360-degree panoramic images. Both systems are quite different, and are experienced differently too. The 360 panorama places segments of images taken within an imaginary three-dimensional sphere, so we are able to look anywhere within it. The Gigapan system is just a stitching of a number of high-res images on a flat surface, without three-dimensional distortion. It is done with such accuracy that you are able to zoom in to a very close distance, often discovering interesting features in the panoramas. Both systems yield very interesting results.  

A winter landscape in Switzerland.
Have a look at these 360 panoramas.


The Gigapan:

Rapa Valley in Sarek National Park, from the moutain Skierfe, Sweden.
Have you ever wonder what it should be like to have eagle eyes? 

Gigapan images are created using a robotic camera mounted on a tripod and software developed by Carnegie Mellon University and NASA Ames Research Center. The Gigapan system can be combined with web mapping services to give detailed views of geographic features. It enables even inexpensive digital cameras to take hundreds of overlapping digital images that are then programmatically stitched together into a single panoramic image. Because each image can be composed of billions of pixels, the resolution is astounding. Gigapan images can be panned and features zoomed to amazing detail not available on ordinary digital images. And all for under eur400.
If you already enjoyed the pleasures of traveling with Google Earth, try now to enable the Gigapan layer.

Some cool imagery includes:

Sliabh Liag, Donegal, Ireland.
Sliabh Liag, Donegal, Ireland.

Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland.
Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland.

Machu Picchu, Peru.
Machu Picchu, Peru.

Lugano, Switzerland.
Lugano, Switzerland.

And of course:
 President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address.
President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

via Gigapan