Dublin- Rhythm of a Port

June 3, 2014

in Do

Sometimes, when the photography gods smile on you, you manage to get a shot that becomes iconic for it’s ability to convey an entire theme, or adventure, or life event. For me, the chance capture of the red haired girl in Berlin on a red bike, was one of those shots. I had lifted the camera, and on a wing and a prayer, snapped a picture of a leather jacket clad girl pedalling by the Reichstag with the wind in her hair. To this day, I am in awe of the serendipity that nurtures such opportunities, and the instinct that follows, in order to successfully photograph a fast and fleeting moment in time.

The act of travel itself is rarely this fleeting. Despite the 10 hour travel day, once we were in our room in Dublin this morning I couldn’t wait to get out and get shooting. I started in the Victorian Deco lobby of the Trinity City Hotel in all of it’s purple velvet and gilded mirror splendour, then I wandered through Temple Bar to the River Liffey, the O’Connell Bridge and the Dublin Brigade Memorial, taking pics of crowds walking past double decker buses, purple mohawk punk girls in their ripped tights inhaling Camel lights and looking scornful, and an artful graffiti background just as the little boys playing in front of it ran home. I wandered past Grafton Street, taking in the the Samuel Beckett bridge, shaped like a tipped post modern harp, and the ubiquitous Guiness logo like an “I spy” prize. John joined me and after a while, my screen lit up “card full” and I put my camera away, resigning myself to *just observing* for the rest of the night. My new card was back at the hotel- I would install it later.

We wandered past what looked like an old stone net shed on the riverside cobblestone walk. The ancient sliding barn doors had been painted a brilliant and surprising shade of teal blue, and suddenly we became aware that it was alive inside. Noises and voices drifted out from behind the walls and we looked at each other quizzically. Something was happening in the depths of the windowless old building. We walked up to the open end of the shed, and suddenly, light and laughter was spilling out. A poster “The Rhythm of a Port” greeted us, alongside a crowd of people chatting in small groups, and a fellow with a rough haired wolfhound keeping watch.

“You are welcome to come in!” invited a dark haired woman in one of the groups. We wandered in, and noticed that this old shed had been lovingly restored with a new roof and a crisply swept stone and dirt floor. There were 4 screens set up inside, all playing film about the river Liffey and the Port of Dublin. The audio visual equipment was cleverly hidden inside piles of pallets, and as crowds wandered through, the warehouse/art installation vibe was strong.

I noticed a group of young people following the procession of screens; art students maybe, hip and interested in their drop crotch jeans and moto boots, complete with architectural hair styles and various but not offensive piercings. As I saw imaginary shot after shot framed by movement and fate in this industrial theatre, I wondered, why is it that the coolest shots present themselves when your memory card is full?? Sure, I could have hurried in a panic and deleted a bunch of shots, but why ruin the moment….

As the last of the group of kids is about to leave the building, I take a chance on noel last shot. The magic is about to evaporate- I lift my camera, barely frame the shot, leaving at whatever setting it was at, and shoot.

I glance at the frame, and think to myself, that’s it. That’s the “Girl on bike” shot, my “It” shot for Dublin.

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