Snapshots: through the photographer's lens
BRIAN O’CONNELLasks some of the photographers who are taking part in this year’s PhotoIreland festival to select their favourites from their work on show
What’s the background to the photograph?It was taken in an allotment in Clonsilla, in Dublin. The project documents this space, as we don’t have many allotments in Ireland; it is a relatively new thing.
It is part of a series called The Other Room. My mam always used to say the garden was an extra room. I would go to the allotment once or twice a week to document it. Everything changes and grows.
The chestnut tree in the photograph has been there a long time. One of the gardeners told me that some things change but that this tree has always stayed the same. It is like an iconic part of the allotment. If you look more closely at the image you can see scarecrows in the background, and vegetables growing.
What equipment did you use?I used a Hasselblad 500 with a 50mm lens. I shot it on Kodak Portra 400 colour film, which is medium format. The double exposure came about as an accident, and I thought it was a really interesting way to show it. What happens is that I take a picture and I trick the camera into thinking I have rolled on the film. Then I take another picture, and it puts the two layers together on the single negative.
Why did you pick this photograph?This is my favourite picture. It has such an amount of detail I can look at it for a long time. I love the colouring and what it says about allotments.
BIO.SPACE033, CHARLES ST WEST
What’s the background to the photograph?It is part of a series of work I was doing in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. I lived with this woman every time I went there. I first went in 2005; I had never heard of the area, and it sparked my interest. When I went there I was couchsurfing, so I was staying with young women.
This image was taking during my second trip there, at Easter. She had brought me down to her family home to meet her mother and her whole family. I like the image because it was the first time I felt she really trusted me and we could really engage, and she felt comfortable enough to allow me to stay with her family. This was taken in the house of her grandmother, who had passed away 10 years earlier.
It is difficult for women, as there are not many opportunities. I was going upstairs in front of her, and I turned around and saw her looking out the window. For me it was seeing her trying to see the future, and seeing how she balances the love of her family and homeland with the wish for another world.
What equipment did you use?I shot on a Bronica 656 using film. I don’t use digital at all, and there was no flash. It is very simple. I used only one 80mm lens. There was no tripod. It was a lucky image. I just turned around and she was there.