The Joy of Physical Photographs

I interviewed a lovely local lady recently about winning a prestigious photography award. Audrey Kelly of c2 Photography and Design has won a host of awards at Professional Photography Award Northern Ireland (PPANI.) She was very inspirational, and some of her winning images were breathtaking.

Her main prize was the Overall Photographer of the Year 2014 Award at the Professional Photographer Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI) Awards. Audrey clinched the top prize plus five further awards at the glittering ceremony on March 30 at Culloden Resort Hotel in Belfast.

 

The Dungiven mother of two also won Most Outstanding Image Award, Overall Wedding Photographer of the Year, Classical Wedding Photographer of the Year as well as being first runner-up in the Under 5’s Portrait category and winning a  Licentiate Award.

Speaking from her studio Audrey said “I still can’t quite believe it. I get wee moments of disbelief. It’s surreal.

I’m excited about the future. This is just the beginning. A lot of people would stop at this, as it’s such a big achievement, but I feel like I’m just starting.”

 

For even more amazingness, it’s the first time since the category opened in 1979 that the Most Outstanding Image Award has been presented to a female photographer. “Added bonuses like this make it more special.” Audrey said. The image in question is a magical shot of a bride below a beautiful circular window while her groom looks on from a nearby pew.

Audrey Kelly's image c2 photography and design

Audrey Kelly’s image c2 photography and design

 

Audrey has been a photographer since 2008 and opened her dream studio in 2012. She is a very wise lady, and inspired by her wonderful Granny, has some brilliant advice.

 

Audrey age 10 and her daughter Chloe age 10.

Audrey age 10 and her daughter Chloe age 10.

 

THANK U GRANNY – I want to tell you all a little story about why I’m so in love with photography and why I believe it is so important. I always believe my Granny Mullan has a lot to do with my passion for photography and has handed me down her gift. My Daddy always tells me that he never saw granny without her camera in his youngest memories. It was in no way a professional camera, but because the little woman using it was so passionate about capturing every little moment in my daddy’s and his siblings life, it didn’t need to be. She shot what was in front of her and locals knew that what ever was happening on the farm or new homes being built, life milestones etc , granny was guaranteed to be there to record it. And I think she knew that one day her grandchildren (me ) could look back on these. What really saddens me is that because of technology , the grandchildren of the future wont get to see old pictures of their mum and dads, Grannies and Grandads –  people today are excellent at capturing and recording all these special moments with their digital cameras , camera phones and what not , unfortunately though they aren’t printing them off so they are basically pointless – You’ve got to think 20 years ahead, where will Facebook, Instagram ,etc be??

Here is an image of me as a little girl. My granny organised a photographer to call to her home one Sunday as I remember and every family got their family portrait taking, Granny paid to get this done for us!
So I guess if Granny wasn’t as passionate as she was, I too wouldn’t have this to compare and amaze my little girl Chloe with just how much she looks like me at the same age of 10 … If u are all to do something this weekend , please everyone PRINT,PRINT PRINT!!

Data will last 10 years (if even) a photograph 100 years. Audrey x

 

I think the last few lines are so powerful. I don’t know that anyone really gets photos developed anymore. But as further evidence that I was born in the wrong century, I love looking through old photographs, and nothing beats ageing faded photographs, with faces decades younger than the ones you know, the year and subject scrawled on the back. Our family has a couple of boxes in the attic, with unalbumed prints spilling everywhere, and we never tire of looking through all our baby faces every time a milestone birthday rolls around.

There is a shortage of recent photos, and there is a risk that the physical photos will run out, so I am going to start making a conscious effort to get these precious family times and stages recorded. With my little siblings still being so young, it makes me hope and wonder and fear what will happen to all those little hopeful happy faces.

One of the commenters on Audrey’s Facebook post wrote about an app called Free Prints which allow you 40 free prints a month free, and all you pay for is £2.99 or £3.99 delivery. It means camera roll and Instagram pics can be ordered directly from your phone. I ordered some today.

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Although Journalism terrifies me, I’m grateful for the wide range of amazing and talented people I meet and get to talk and listen to.

Go develop some photos, guys. I only regret I don;’t have a dark room, and a string with clothes pegs to properly old style ‘develop.’

I’m hoping the full article will appear in my placement newspaper on Friday.

No Escaping a Phenomenal Performance

A review of ‘Over the Wire‘ a play which blew me away and which recently showed at The Playhouse.

The mere presence of a looming prison cage where the stage should be immediately set a foreboding atmosphere in The Playhouse.

Seamas Keenan’s reimagined ‘Over the Wire’ has been on a journey since it first opened in Derry in January 2013 at the beginning of the City of Culture celebrations.

Set in Long Kesh prison after the main building was burned by republican prisoners in 1974, five men live out their existence in an outdoor barbed wire cage.

Kieran Griffiths was the new director for this production, and the cage also had a new ‘Commanding Officer’ in the shape of Gerry Doherty.

Audiences had a choice. They could either sit in the standard tiered seating or ‘in the round,’ knees almost touching the steel structure. From here the audience has a privileged and very close viewpoint, trying not to flinch when any sudden violence crashes into their comfort zone and rattles their side of the cage.

There’s a huge political backdrop, but only the small world of the cage exists. With frustratingly little news from the outside, the men struggle for power and knowledge. There is an increasing damaging paranoia which becomes a main theme in the play.

I interviewed the cast of Over the Wire a few days before the play IN THE CAGE for my work placement. Thank you for the photo Aine and for all the help.

I interviewed the cast of Over the Wire a few days before the play IN THE CAGE for my work placement. Thank you for the photo Aine and for all the help.

The relationship with each other is all the men really have left, yet suffers greatly as hunger and fear, pain, humiliation and distrust take their toll.

The audience is uncomfortably close and uneasy, and the prisoners can never relax. Anything could happen next, they are constantly on their guard and buzzing with adrenaline which can almost be felt through the bars.

Keenan’s script contains much black humour which is somehow seamlessly incorporated into the action. The mood swings from tentatively laughing and ‘slagging’ to heart-stoppingly tense and dangerous in seconds.

The performances from the Derry actors was phenomenal. Pat Lunch, Gerry Doherty, Martin Bradley, Micheal Mc Callion and Andy Doherty play the prisoner’s roles.

Andy plays Dutch. the newest and youngest prisoner, cocky but with a touching innocence. Martin portrays Barry struggling with psychological problems, while everyone questions the medicine ‘the screws’ are giving him.

Pat Lynch plays Lucas, the swaggering, scary top IRA man who nobody can talk down with chilling results, and a mesmerizing performance.

Some of the most human moments see the men huddled under a plastic sheet to keep warm, taking turns singing, admits hopes and desires, speak of home. (Which is Derry!)

When one character rounds on the other is when the play take’s it’s darkest turn, despite the army beatings. The fear of the characters, their inability to escape their situation or each other is transferred to the too-close-for-comfort audience.

The proximity to the cage put audience members at risk of being hit by distrusted food or even splashed with blood.

It’s a play that is a triumph, a whole new experience and will stay in the mind long after the cage has returned to darkness.

 

Her – the film

HerFilm

My other half sold it to me as a film he really wanted to see, where ‘Joaquin (Wack’em!) Phoenix falls in love with his computer.’ We were both imagining a kind of ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ type film, I think.

It’s a great film. Anyway, this isn’t a very well researched or prepared post. But I watched the film a week or so ago, and it has been on my mind and I think it’s an important film for people to see.

It’s set vaguely in the future in LA. It cleverly never tells us when, exactly.

Joaquin plays Theodore Twombly. He works for a company that writes hand written letters to people’s loved ones. How wonderful but utterly sad. Theodore researches the couple and writes a heart-felt letter to one, or both of them for special occasions. It’s made up on the computer… please don’t let that ever happen. This is initially a small part of the film but it says so much about how impersonal everything is getting. Keep writing hand written letters to people you care about, internet!

He is sad and quiet, going through a divorce, as we discover. Or not going through it as he won’t sign anything, he is terrified to move on, and he is so broken by it.

Initially, I found there to be too much sex. No physical sex, chat room sex and then Operating System drunken sex. But I realise that it’s all pertinent to the message of the film. Connecting. The importance of a connection, not necessarily physical. Also, if someone discovered an operating system that was conscious and curious and such, do we honestly think he or even she is not going to furtively experiment with that?!

Samatha, voiced by Charlotte Johansson, is Theodore’s new Operating System (OS). Advertised as having intuition, she’s bright and funny and wanting to learn. She does a lot of practical things to help Theodore put his life back together. Initially strangely efficient things regarding his break up, that are the logical thing to do, but when we add human emotion are virtually impossible.

However, as they get to know each other she begins to have what seems to be human feelings. She experiences jealousy and hopes for him. He feels so close to her and they form a relationship. 

The film is a truly fascinating look at relationships. What makes a relationship? What’s important? As the ‘herthefilm’ website says:

From the unique perspective of Oscar-nominated film maker Spike Jonze comes an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.

I watched a youtube review, and the guy said that he loves how the film is just accepting of the changing, important role technology has in our lives. It isn’t making a statement one way or another, it doesn’t condemn technology or promote it.

I know this is a bit bitty, I have missed my wee blog so much.  I want you people to watch this film and discuss it with me. In fact I want to watch it again I think.

Arcade Fire does the score, also. Brilliant.

Have you seen it?