Ireland Trip – 5th-7th February 2013

Between the 5th and 7th of February 2013, my course mates and I went on an academic trip to Ireland, accompanied by Caroline Molloy and Mat Johnston. On this trip, we visited a variety of different exhibitions, had talks from a number of different curators, and were able to travel around the two major cities in small, individual groups to take photos. Below I have posted the itinerary for this trip, along with any notes that I took, and a critical reflection of one of the exhibitions.

Out-Bound Ticket


Arrived in Belfast at 11am approximately

Drop off at the MAC Arts Venue, Belfast at 12am approximately

Walk to Belfast Exposed (photographic resource, archive & gallery)

Talk by the exhibitions curator/look at current show – Luca Foglia

Talk by curator of Source Magazine – John Duncan

Meet back at MAC Arts Venue at 3pm

Travel down to Dublin

Belfast Exposed:

  • 1983
  • Lucas FogliaA Natural Order
    • Criticized – fake, posed, not documentary, subjects suggested the poses – he wanted to work with the subjects
    • The photographs were used in a variety of different ways by the subjects within the photographs, for example, Advertising
    • Favourite
      • Lighting
      • Cinematography
      • Quality
      • Natural
      • Still
  • National Geographic
    • Ironic
    • Staged
    • Too perfect
  • Dead Bear
    • Poisoned
    • Really graphic
    • Disturbing
    • Looks human-like
    • Terrified but intrigued
    • Pained expression
    • Strong
  • Why is this type of photography so successful at the moment?
    • Fascination of living a different way
    • Intimate view
    • Human curiosity
    • Economic climate at the moment
    • Always existed
    • Partening question
  • There are books from each culture shown in these photographs that can be found in the bookshop to show his influence
  • Bookshop, gallery
  • Upstairs
    • Exchange space – temporary exhibitions, talks, groups/students propose ideas
    • Gateway system – archive, 3000 images on software, 500,000 in actual archive
    • Studio space – workshop programme, Marvin Smith – original BE photographer
    • Reading room – books, magazines
    • Darkroom
    • Editing suit

An Introduction Into Belfast Exposed Community Engagement:

An Introduction to Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Front Cover

An Introduction to Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Pages 1 and 2

An Introduction to Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Pages 3 and 4

An Introduction to Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Back Cover

An Introduction to Belfast Exposed Community Engagement Pages 5 and 6

Belfast Exposed Photography For Business:

Belfast Exposed Photography for Business Front Cover

Belfast Exposed Photography for Business Pages 1 and 2

Belfast Exposed Photography for Business Pages 3 and 4

Belfast Exposed Photography for Business Back Cover

Belfast Exposed Photography for Business Pages 5 and 6

Belfast Exposed Events and News Sheet:

Belfast Exposed Events News Sheet Front Cover

Belfast Exposed Events News Sheet Pages 1 and 2

Belfast Exposed Events News Sheet Pages 5 and 6

Belfast Exposed Events News Sheet Pages 3 and 4

Belfast Exposed Events News Sheet Back Cover

John Duncan Talk – Editor of Source Magazine:

  • £6 per issue
  • Important for us to look at a variety of magazines
    • Photoworks
    • Photonews
    • Aperture USA
    • Look at images – for the visual
    • Look at articles – for the thought and debates
  • Source 1991/92
    • Set p by young photographers
  • John Duncan
    • Studied photography
    • Got given an apple mac classic and told to ‘get on with it
  • Development of Source Magazine
    • Pages
    • Colour (1995)
    • Initial focus grew from – Belfast – northern Ireland – Ireland – UK
  • Components
    • 3 x portfolios – different photographers
    • Essay commission – gives context
    • Younger photographers
  • Submission
    • Graduate work
  • Hands on operation
  • Every few years they review the design and format of the magazine
  • Organize exhibitions
  • Sometimes there will be texts that are written by the photographer but it is usually written by a ‘professional’
  • Try to publish collections first
  • Other components
    • Feature columns
      • Advertising – deconstructs visual codes, not overly academic but deconstructs myths
      • Law – e.g. copyright, circulation through social media, privacy
      • Money
  • Start to think about bigger debates
  • Portfolios
    • Direct submission – send it with information, simple, don’t quote too much, not a 5 page essay, check exposure, size of image
    • Online – graduate degree section
    • John Duncan travels around to different galleries to view portfolios
  • Need a website with contact details – 2nd module of 2nd year
  • Purer platform for peoples work – no writing so no distraction
  • Exhibition reviews
    • Contact writers
    • They visit exhibitions
    • Take notes
    • Depending on the photos they decide to talk about, Source then goes back to the gallery to get copies of the photos
  • Book reviews
    • Have books sent to them by publishers
    • Library used as cross-referencing to see if new work is too similar to previous
  • The Missing Pictures” – old feature
    • Photographers write to them about photographs that they wanted to take but never managed to
  • Check colour densities
  • Can subscribe to magazine
  • Distribution is important
    • Which shops are more likely to distribute them?
  • Website
    • 5000 pieces of content
    • Digital edition in June
    • Multimedia content, e.g. videos
  • Source Photographic Review
    • Facebook page
    • Twitter account
  • Question and Answer Time:
    • They try to plan a couple of issues ahead
    • They also try to link each portfolio to a theme – depends on the work they have received
    • John Duncan’sBonfire
      • Politics of northern Ireland
      • Segregated along religious line
      • 90% of each religion live in opposite areas
      • Protestant community
      • Celebrate battle of protestants over catholic
      • Burn flags
      • Interested in landscape photograph
      • Interested in moveable and temporary items in the landscape


Meet at 10:30 to visit Dublin Gallery of Photography and National photographic archive gallery

Free time for rest of the day – must visit at least one more exhibition

Dublin Gallery of Photography:

  • 1978 – a year or so later than ‘Impressions’ in New York
  • Founded by photographic enthusiasts
  • Gallery
  • Bookshop
  • Membership programme
  • Digital production rooms
  • Traditional black and white darkroom
  • Too small for the dynamic sense of photography in Ireland
  • Exhibition:
    • Overview of what is happening in contemporary photography
    • Award – top curators selected finalists
    • Richard Gilligan – book published in Paris
    • Martin Gregg
    • Alberto Maserin
  • Steve McGarthy
  • Taylor Wesing
  • Congratulations on choosing photography
  • People think they all know photography
  • Accused of being elitist in something that is very demographic
  • Robert Capa
  • Exploring something different for the future – rather than masters of photography and the history

National Photographic Archive Gallery:

  • Find a photograph that shows you something about Ireland’s history that you didn’t know before
    • Amelia Earhart
      • Flew from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Derry, Ireland
      • Longest non-stop flight
      • First transatlantic solo flight by a woman
      • 1932
  • Valentine’s Day Train Crash
    • Enniscorthy cattle train
    • Crashed through the buffers at Harcourt Street Station onto Hatch Street
    • Driver survived
    • 1900
  • Aer Lingus was the airport bus transport in the 1970’s

Photobook Talk with Kate Nolan and Paul Gaffney:

KATE NOLAN – “Neither”

  • Finished in April 2012
  • 3 year project
  • Russia – This part of Russia used to be German
    • Closed off after the collapse of the Soviet Union
    • Isolation
    • Started visiting end of 2009 – “sofa-surfing”
  • Shot on film
  • Doesn’t work with a strategy – likes to respond to the area
  • Realized it to a degree
  • Solo exhibition – didn’t encapsulate the story
  • Book
    • Wanted to show the voice of the women
    • More tactile – shorter and longer pages, fold-outs
    • Biggest fear = misrepresentation
    • Diary format – collected entries and letters from women
    • First draft
      • Horizontal to vertical
      • 3 sections
      • Didn’t like it
    • When you’ve been working on a project for so long, you can’t really see it
    • Second draft
      • Square format
      • Really difficult
      • Liked text on front
      • The women’s diaries where at the end of the book
  • Making the physical dummies are so important
  • Didn’t want to have a foreword to contextualize the project
  • Was using the voice from the women now – foreword was written by women in the past
    • Totally contradict each other
  • Images where different sizes – move in and out, view it more actively, more space for text as well, shows importance
  • Never thought about the back of the book
  • The stage she is currently at:
    • Printing
    • They will send two dummies – the first will be on the right paper, the second will have the images printed in the right order but not on the chosen paper
  • Self-publishing
  • Text is about a normal girl travelling through her city – more personal, not just a story of images
  • Question and Answer Time:
    • Editing?
      • Printed out every image (6x4in)
      • Separated them into piles (yes, no, maybe)
      • Sequencing – graphic designer, “two heads are always better than one”
      • “Have a conversation with your graphic designer before the project – need to be able to hold a stable and friendly relationship
    • Research?
      • Contact people on-line
      • That area in Russia had no tourists so she was able to travel anywhere
    • What made her choose that text?
      • Universal
      • Simple
    • Costs?
      • Pay graphic designer £3000
      • Book costs approximately £7000-£8000 in total
      • Sell the book for £25-£30
    • Counter-part?
      • After the book sells out, considering an e-book, but only AFTER it is sold out
    • Language?
      • Translators – would prefer to speak to them herself – find out more personal things
      • Asked if they could speak any English at all and would rather struggle through
      • Learned bits and peices
  • More about having movement that will work with the text – but it can work without the text
  • Couch-surfing” – on-line community

PAUL GAFFNEY – “We Make the Path by Walking”

  • Different cultures believe that walking is a form of meditation
  • Different sense of awareness
  • Landscape
  • Attention to detail
  • 30-40km a day
  • Capture essence of the journey
  • John Gossage’sCalled Upon
    • Influence – sequence
    • Shows the narrative and journey
    • Journey through someone’s mind set
  • Wanted to create a flow within the images
  • Never stated where it was to leave the photo open to interpretation – he was careful with what text he used
  • Idea of journey was more important than the particulars of the text
  • Poem at the back of the book
    • Look at images
    • Read context
    • Revisit images?
  • Used digital
  • 6x4in prints – look very different on screen
  • Separated into different piles (yes, no, maybe)
  • Conscious of getting peoples feedback – showed to peers to help ideas develop
  • 43 images in total
  • Photo festival in Ireland
  • Drawn to small books
  • Portrait books – even for landscape
  • Small images – drawn into it more
  • Alan Jefferson
  • Soft cover
  • Print quality needs to be good
  • £15-£20 more likely to take a gamble and buy the book
  • More simple and modest design
  • Flow is different in a book than on the wall
  • In-Design
    • YouTube tutorials
    • Took 4 to 5 hours to create a high resolution PDF of the possible book
  • Split into half – there was a bit in the middle that just didn’t sequence properly
  • Small decisions that you make changes the feel of the book – it’s a case of pacing
  • If you are testing, test a few things at once
  • If people are looking at the design rather than the images, then you are doing something wrong! – Books are the container for your images
  • About 5 drafts
  • Paper grain is important – may cause curved pages
  • Hardly anyone makes profit from photobooks
  • Still have to work on cover design and font
  • Publisher – help with marketing
  • Really picked apart the books that he liked – analysed them for research
  • Paul Graham
  • You have to make something you enjoy
  • Would like to use ambient audio recording in exhibitions – like slide shows
  • Question and Answer Time:
    • What camera and lens did he use?
      • Canon 5D Mark ii – 35mm lens
      • They were all cropped to the same proportion
    • How did he take the photographs?
      • Some were quite quick, like snap-shots, others were more planned
    • Did he change the colour in any of his images?
      • No colour change
      • Change contrast slightly
      • Change exposure by a maximum of two stops on some

Detouched” Exhibition – Project Arts Centre:

  • Five different screens – 3 showing moving image of feet, 2 showing moving image of hands
  • Question whether to walk into the exhibition – barrier
  • Two big projections in one corner showing air blowing on hands
  • Blank corner
  • Plastic mold of face on wall
  • Curved metal on floor (mirror distortion) – included silver, solid trousers and a purple line
  • Pencil rubbing on walls – Five sheets of 6x5ft paper
  • Wood covered in plastic on the walls – countries?
  • Small room with lots of space
  • Pointless
  • My thoughts on “Detouched
    • Exhibition shows items that we want to touch but cant
    • Struggle to understand so we don’t have an empathetic response – we are not ‘touched’ by the art, therefore we are “detouched

Critical reflection:

Detouched”. Not even a word, yet it managed to grab my attention. Exhibited in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin, I automatically assumed that this exhibition would be showing some cutting edge pieces of art that would challenge the viewer’s natural understanding of the artistic world. This it did do, but not in a good way. I found myself to be challenged by the simple idea as to what was going through the artists mind at the time of their ‘creations’. Walking into the exhibition room I was greeted by five television screens with different motion pictures about hands and feet. Having my expectations set on a high, and being met with simplicity made me incredibly hesitant towards the rest of the exhibition. The way that the television sets where laid out could be seen as a barrier to the viewer as they began to question whether or not they were actually allowed into the room. Convinced that there must be more to this exhibition then some incredibly dull moving images, I walked through the maze of television screens to continue with the exhibition. I wish I hadn’t.

In a brief summary, whilst walking around this small room, I viewed a variety of different ‘artworks’ ranging from projections of moving images showing hands being blown by strong air, a plastic mold of a face, five 6x5ft pencil rubbings on the walls, random shapes of wood that’s covered in plastic, and finally a curved, metal structure that was laid out upon the floor. This bizarre sculpture was actually the piece that I spent most of my time with, not because I appreciated it as a structure, or that I understood why it was created, not even due to the fact that I may have thought it was spectacular, but simply because I was too busy laughing at my bodies distortion that was created by the curved mirror. Now, something tells me that the ‘artist’ didn’t create this piece of work to be enjoyed in the way that I did, something very draining and disappointing tells me that these ‘artists’ actually created these works as a serious piece.

After walking around this exhibition for what seemed to be a mere 10 minutes, I found that I had genuinely lost the will to live. I removed myself from this very room and set myself a challenge to try and understand what the word “Detouched” meant to me. After a couple of minutes of thoughtful thinking, I had decided: When I go to an exhibition, I expect to be enthused and impressed by the art that is shown in all of its splendor. However, in this very exhibition I struggled to even understand the concept of the creations, let alone be moved by them. I was not touched by the pieces, therefore, I must have been ‘De-Touched”.

So what is my overall summary of this exhibition? “Detouched”. Not even a word. A better word? “Pointless”.

Detouched Front Cover

Detouched Pages 1 and 2

Detouched Pages 3 and 4

Detouched Back Cover


Check out at 10am

Free time in the morning

Meet at 1:30pm to travel back to Belfast

Back-Bound Ticket

Photographs from this trip will be uploaded to my Facebook page sometime in March. When I have done so, I will post the link on this Blog Entry.