Side hall in one of the most amazing buildings in the Middle East.
Life in the slow lane
Grande Arche de la Defense, Paris. Taken with a 17mm TSE lens
Street Protest in Baltimore MD
If you've ever been to the Netherlands you can't help be overwhelmed by the sheer number of bicycles there are. In cities like Utrecht, the public spaces outside the railway stations is infested with bikes. They're double, sometimes tripple stacked, literally thousands of them. I took this on a recent business trip to Utrecht. With business concluded, I found myself with about an hour of daylight, so I decided to wander around. It's a cute town that buzzes with cyclists heading home. A charming canal whose water level is perhaps three meters below street level, runs through the heart of the town centre. I had decended a set of steps to grab a picture of the canal and on returning up the steps I noticed this street level perspective. Two minutes later this guys and (I'm assuming) his childred came into view. Up to that point everything was ordinary, then with a little shift on perspectice a new story emerges, something more interesting and less mundane. Isn't that the same with life? When you just change perspective a little we get to notice a lot more. I wonder if the kids can press a bell if they want to stop? This image speaks to how seriously they take their cycling.
I met Dave in a little grubby beer garden in Bristol a few weeks ago. He was sitting, minding his own business at a table beside us. When I say 'us' - I was there with a group of guys on a stag weekend. I thought he had an interesting face so I asked if I could take a photo. He looked a little puzzled as to why I wanted to take his photo. I explained that I was just out capturing a 'day in the life' of normal everyday people. He muttered quiet acquiescence and I took a a picture and left him alone to smoke his roll up and read the racing post. An hour or so later he approached our table to 'apologize for being rude'. I was a little taken aback by this as he wasn't rude at all - I was the one sticking a camera in his face. We invited him to join us for a drink and after much protestation, he sat down with us. It was the nature of his objection to joining us that intrigued me. "Why would anyone want to drink with me?" he asked. "I'm just a nobody" he added. I don't think I had seen such naked negative self esteem in a long time. With mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement, Dave joined us for the afternoon. During the afternoon (yes we starting drinking at noon) I learnt a lot more about Dave. I heard about the physical and mental abuse he received from his father. He told me about the put downs he got from teachers. His marriage had hit the rocks several years earlier and in the perverse cycle that is the human condition Dave had a strained relationship with his own son. Dave admitted that he was not a good father to his son, but he was trying, really trying to repair the relationship. Before we headed back to our hotel to 'spruce up' we invited Dave to join us again for, yes, more 'celebrating'. When we turned right and Dave headed left, I was sure that was the last I would see of him. Twenty minutes later Dave showed up much to our collective delight. "Where did you go Dave", I enquired. "Well Paul, I still can't believe why anyone would want to spend time with me, but I went home to change into my good shirt. We chatted further about this and that - mostly life and politics. As we chatted I took this photo. When I look at it, I can't help thinking about how damaging the negative messages we receive in childhood are. Not only do they mess up the recipient of those messages, they are inevitably passed on to the next generation in a damaging cycle of negative self image and deteriorating self esteem. Right now I suspect Dave is in a Pub somewhere in Bristol, smoking a roll up, minding his own business, quietly wondering what might have been.......
Taken near the Rhine walk in Dusseldorf
Can't say I blame her. This was the day Kilkenny gave Tipperary one hell of a hiding
Running to catch a train in Angers France
Street entertainer hits a high note
Cyclist heading home from work in London
Taken at the Eagles concert in Dublin's O2 on June 6th 2014
Cooling off from Summer Sun in Galway