There are shifts and changes at play

There are shifts and changes at play. A tattooed family gazes into the distance. Their whole stance creating a question. 

Yes, there are shifts and changes at play. Like what the future will bring for us all and for our vulnerable world? Like what makes sense for a contemplative photographer in these days of high alerts and lock downs? Like how to make use of every precious moment without adding to consumerism and overload? 

The question for the tattooed family was whether or not to take a risk on a fairground ride? How to figure out the moves required for jumping on and jumping off? 

And that's just exactly where I'm at too......

On gift giving 

 My little book "Seek light, embrace shade, live colour" is still for sale in the Blurb Bookshop.

If you would like to give a Foxglove Lane Gift Token I would be very happy to sort you out and fill the orders in 2016......just send me a mail through the contact page

Need more help? Visit the how to buy page


Underneath the surface

Some towns were barely touched by the "boomiest" boom Ireland never had. Today a small dog, waiting for his master to return from the match, is alone amongst empty shops, messy paint jobs and abandoned petrol pumps. 

Some buildings change hands every few months; go from being a sweet shop to being a cafe, and back again. But other shop windows remain empty, like vacant faces where there should be a smile.

The lens is loving the wabi-sabi of it, the cracks in the doorways, the nostalgia of childhood memories. But there is quiet desperation here too, and for many people a calm exterior belies furious fast paddling below the surface.

Also check out the latest gallery of black and white nature photography


Midlife and the great unknown

In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost.
Dante Alighieri

David Whyte has a great image in his audio set,  Midlife and the Great Unknown. He describes the moment when you are at the end of a project or when you have settled your affairs. You finally tidy up the house, make a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy the peace and achievement. Maybe you've been looking forward to reading your favourite book, turning up the music full volume, putting your feet up? I am here at last you might think to yourself. I have finally arrived. (I may not be remembering this fully accurately as it's many years since I devoured this little gem of wisdom, but it went something like this.) 
Anyway in that moment there is a feeling of deep relaxation, completion and a huge sigh of relief! As you put your feet up to sink into that precious moment of being, a knock comes to the door.......This to David is the essence of mid-life; just as we think we have it sussed, a new spanner is thrown into the works. All we can know for sure is that every stage, event, project, dream is transient and that an unscheduled knock at the door is always looming. 
Some how this image soothed me in a period of wondering what I would do for the rest of my days. I was probably coming up to 50, and having that "who am I, what am I" mid life crisis. This unsettling feeling gripped me, but I had some illusion that it would pass as I got older. 
Ha! Fat chance! Why? Because it keeps on happening! Just as I think I might have a handle on the Great Unknown,  I find that everything has changed, I need to go in some new direction, and I am without a clue yet again.  
My day job involves a flimsy year to year contract and has done all my life. I've never actually had one of those permanent and pensionable jobs. I've been privileged to work in the social sector where there is such scope for good work and relationships with good people. To continue to be paid to do it, most of the time, has been lucky for sure. 
But it has never been secure and I have become used to the flotsam and jetsam flow of work, the tide coming in and going out. At this age I am wondering (yes again) if I might steal a moment or two to put the kettle on and put my feet up? I seem to be craving it. Yes I am still drawn towards that illusive state of peace and tranquility, a closing of the front door behind me..... 
And although I know it won't last, I wonder would it ever at least just begin?


Where does creativity come from?

The highest goal one can achieve is amazement. ~ Goethe

My first design experiments involved selecting snails along a narrow garden path. Lining them up in rows, I would talk kindly and invite them to take part in games. I would be their big sister, telling them stories and giving them names like Germaine and Margaret. Blended with rose petals and pebbles, they would become part of spiralling collages and patterns.  

Snails were the closest thing I had to a proper pet until we got our dog Timmy. After Timmy was "sent to live on a farm" we got a tortoise which went to sleep for the winter and never woke up. But the snails were always there and Pooka Snails, the large ones with protruding horns, were always my favourite. 

I began a half day at school at three and a half. In the afternoons I would sit on the path, school bag on my back, practicing my letters and reciting to those snails. Here were the foundations of my dream life; finding a quiet space for an inner world, connecting with nature, spending time mulling over the mysteries.

When you are looking at the random play and explorations of a very young child you are peeking into her soul, her love of what comes naturally. For some it will be climbing trees, for others kicking a ball, for the quiet few it will be escaping into imaginary worlds and talking to snails. 


Blogging and the things that make us more alive

No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.......

Martha Graham

Photoblogging has brought me deep into the world of light and mystery, ordinary everyday beauty, friendship across the world and back on a path to writing. It's been every week now for almost 5 years.    
This year was my fourth to be in the final of the annual Irish Blog Awards. Each time it has sent me on a bit of a wobble, something that I don't enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing what I create with you. But judging and competing? It reminds me too much of waiting outside the door of the Oral Irish Exam in the Leaving Cert; sets my poor nerves on edge!
Building a space to be creative is why I blog. I get to own and nurture my own artistic apprenticeship. I can share with you out of love and vocation, and still be the one who benefits most of all from the whole process. I gain the satisfaction, connection, learning, progression and pleasure from the work I do. I can barely even call what I do here work, it's actually a lot more like play.....
So I did in fact win the Silver Award for photography in the Blog Awards. Thank you to all of you who supported and voted for me through the early stages and those who judged and organised the event. 
And a special shout out to all the finalists, nominees, and bloggers everywhere who are part of this creative Irish Blogging Community doing what "keeps us marching and makes us more alive".

If you love the veils of early morning fog visit the Mist Gallery