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One person throwing sheets off bed. 5:04. Emily around bed too. No sheets. Acrobatics from Karen. Trapeze. 6:51. Running around bed, torches. Standing with torches at front. Leech light thing on bed. 4:57. Emily on rope. Bed dark. Nothing will come out here. 4:43. Starts with Emily and other one at bottom of rope. Light descending from top of bed. Sheets being lifted up. Sheet pyramid. Light inside. 6:15. Pyramid coming down. Skinnier than before. Pyramid down at 2:15. All three there now. Quite dark. 5:20. Bed clear. Similar to last one. Very bright at back now. Two of them lying on the bed. 5:28. Sitting on bed. Brighter. Putting harness thing on. Weird costumes. Dressing each other. 5:32. Insect costumes. Standing at front. Someone else involved now. Putting blonde one into harness. 4:33. Still tying her up. Suspended now. Laying out white sheet. Light on back wall. Bed made. 4:34.

BUNK by PaperDolls is running as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival at the Project Arts Centre until Saturday 14th of September. More details here.

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This picture is from The Corn Exchange‘s production of Dubliners, which was running recently as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. It’s an adaptation of Joyce’s short story collection of the same name and consists of dramatisations of 9 of the 15 stories contained in the book. The photograph is a 16 minute and 50 second exposure of the first scene of the play, which is the story The Sisters, also the opening story in Joyce’s book. (more…)

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Graham Harman is an interesting character. He’s a leading figure in contemporary philosophy and holds a professorship at the American University in Cairo, yet earlier in life had a stint working as a sports writer in Chicago. It seems an unlikely trajectory, but for Harman it makes perfect sense, as his work insists on grappling with the real stuff of the world rather than retreating entirely into the mysteries of abstract thought. This might sound slightly dull but in fact it is anything but. Harman manages to mystify this real stuff, so much so that after spending some time reading him, I can’t look at my toaster in quite the same way anymore. Based on my somewhat cursory exposure to his work, I’m going to try and quickly sketch out some of his basic ideas. I can’t possibly do them justice but I’m going to try anyway because I think they lead to an interesting new way of thinking about these photographs I am doing. Apologies in advance to any students of philosophy reading this. It might be best if you stop here. (more…)

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I’ve recently been reading Terry Eagleton’s book On Evil which, for something that is concerned with the awful atrocities humans are capable of inflicting upon each other, is surprisingly funny in parts. The basic gist of it is that there are two dominant ways of thinking about why people do bad stuff to other people. The first one is the traditional conservative viewpoint, which holds that some people are just bad, there’s not much point trying to reason about why they do the things they do, and there’s nothing to be gained by trying to rehabilitate them. Incarceration and punishment are the only legitimate responses, and in some cases, the ultimate punishment of death is warranted. This is a way of thinking that finds its most extreme form of contemporary expression in the use of the death penalty in the US, but it’s also what fuels those calls for longer and harsher prison sentences that we are all used to hearing. Eagleton cites the case of the police officer who arrested one of the killers of Jamie Bulger. The policeman remarked afterwards that when he looked into the boy’s eyes he knew immediately that he was evil. In other words, hang ’em high, but if you’re not allowed do that, then lock ’em up and throw away the key. (more…)

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This is Constellations, by Paperdolls, which is currently running at D-Light studios as part of Absolut Fringe 2012. I’ll attempt to describe what it is, but that won’t be easy as I really don’t know what it is; it slips outside most of the normal categories that you might use to describe something like this. It’s a dance piece that takes place mostly in the air. It’s an acrobatic display that eschews all the cheesy narcissistic showing off which that normally entails. It’s a piece of performance art that revolves around the use of Japanese rope bondage. It’s a gig with a full band (Wolfbait) in the corner who blast out terrifyingly loud and intense noise rock. It’s eerie and unsettling and totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

The photograph above is an exposure of 6 minutes and 17 seconds, and was taken during the first section of the show. I shot it during a dress rehearsal so for that reason you can’t see the audience in the shot. They would normally be sitting around on mats. Most of the cast are sitting still in the centre of the room for this part, while one of them has her arms tied behind her back.  She then performs various acrobatic exercises with a partner, while her arms are still bound in this way. There is a real tension during this section as you can’t help thinking that if she slips, she can’t even use her hands to stop her face hitting the ground. There’s a huge level of trust involved between the participants, and watching it is like being privy to some sort of intimate, normally private, ritual. Soon after this, the whole thing goes completely nuts, but the enjoyment of this thing is all about not knowing what is going to happen next, so I’m not going to spoil it. It runs until this coming Saturday and you can book tickets here. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Karolina at Blow Magazine and Emily and Fionnuala at Paperdolls for facilitating this. This photograph has just been published in number 4 of Blow Mag’s Absolut Fringe 2012 special editions. You can check them all out here.

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I took this photo at the dress rehearsal for Elevator, which is running at the Absolut Fringe 2012 festival. Doing these shots at theatre productions has turned out to be a little bit trickier than I initially thought. The concept is that the length of the exposure corresponds to the length of a scene, so each shot is therefore a photograph of a scene. The problem though is that many productions don’t have such rigid divisions into scenes, and even if they do, the transitions between them may not be at all obvious. I managed to nail the one above though I think.

Elevator is about a bunch of rich kids who have gathered together for a party when one of their number goes missing. All the action takes place in one room. There’s a lot of talking, flirting, arguing, partying, drug-taking, and recounting of debauched episodes from the past; and all of this is interspersed with musical numbers. The centre of the set has a huge couch that the actors sit on, lie on, dance on, and get off with each other on. Because the couch is a bright white colour, nothing in front of it comes out in the long exposure photograph, so it looks to me more like a dinner table than a couch. There are about seven actors in this photograph and they were all moving around quite a lot, so it’s pretty surprising that there is such clarity in it, and that at various points in the image, they can be made out very clearly.

This thing definitely has legs.

Thanks to Karolina at blow photo magazine, Louise at thisispopbaby and Ste Murray for facilitating this. You can see a whole bunch of great work that other photographers are doing at this year Fringe in blow magazine’s Absolut Fringe special editions.

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Some of my work is going to be in an exhibition next week entitled Close To Closure that it happening in the Back Loft on Augustine Street in Dublin 8. It’s a group of eight photographers (Monika Fabijanczyk, Rebecca McGetrick, Artur Sikora, Sharon Murphy, Jeanette Lowe, Calin Ploscar, and Fiona O’Donnell are the others) and there’s some really interesting stuff there. I have been slowly starting on a new angle to my project, which is to apply the long exposure photography idea to theatre productions. I’ve done a few at this stage and the work I am going to show next week is from one of these. The shot above is one of those photographs and is from a play called When Irish Hearts Are Praying which was on last year as part of the Fringe festival. There’s an opening reception taking place next Wednesday (4th July) at 6pm and the artist Sean Hillen has kindly agreed to officially open the exhibition. It will then run until the 10th of July and it’s part of the OPEN programme for the PhotoIreland 2012 festival. Come along and say hello, there will be wine.

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