We are terrified, and we are brave #dayofthegirl

"We are terrified, and we are brave. "
Elizabeth Gilbert

Am I the photographer who writes? Am I the writer who takes pictures? Almost 5 years ago I began to blog. Writing would have to be part of it, but I would never, ever call myself a writer.....I would be a photo blogger.....
The first steps were so terrifying that I blogged anonymously. In 2012 I was invited to host the @Ireland twitter account and decided I would have to come out of my shell. Gradually I became comfortable with the tag "blogger," won a couple of awards for the photography and happily continued. 
From the age of about four I had filled lined copybooks with stories (about sad things mostly) illustrated with colouring pencil drawings. Brene Browne says that about 80% of adults have a shaming story from their past of which 50% are about their creativity. Well I too have mine, about "writing" but it happened much later during my teen-age years.
I had written a school essay about a young poet I had a crush on. (He grew up to be the real deal but that's neither here nor there.) I quoted what I thought was a wonderful line about Dylan Thomas in this essay, "as happy as the grass is green." To this day I'm not sure whether Dylan Thomas, my poet with the long hair or my 16 year old self actually said that??? Anyway when the essays were given back I was a sick with anticipation. I had gushed, I had strayed from the text we were given, I had shown something of my vulnerability. 
Our English Teacher used to stand on the podium, open each essay, bark a result and mutter a short comment. When she came to mine, she didn't open it or comment. She threw the copy book at me spitting one word, "Trite!" The strongest possible message that I needed to shut up the fledgeling voice which somehow through innocence had gotten loose. 
Later she took me aside and gave me a lecture about doing well in the exam and sticking to the tried and tested formulae. I don't think any of this was done out of meanness at all. It was done out of fear for my future. A girl needed to hide her feelings, know how to protect herself from silly notions and get enough of an education to be employable. 
You might think that the Art Teacher was a bit more encouraging as I ended up going to Art College? Strange thing is, I often saw other girls being undermined or "shamed" in similar ways about their art work. By the time I left school I felt both abandoned and free. There was a complete lack of support but there was also a lack of expectation.   
For some reason, I never fully gave up on that precious space where I mooched with paint, a camera or even words. Thanks to my English Teacher I moved into the visual world, and thanks to blogging there is now a space to reclaim my love of language too.
Best of both worlds; a brave photographer who writes AND a terrified writer who takes pictures.......

11th October was International Day of the Girl Child  #dayofthegirl which reminded me of how precious creativity can be to a young girl. 
You can preview my little book on the creative path here
For even more on creativity delve into the brilliant Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert 
And special thanks to the Woodland Girl


There is human time and there is wild time

There is human time and there is wild time.......
Clarissa Linkola Estes

This morning it's wild time. A slow motion sunrise, where nature's spinners have draped everything in layers of lace. 
Barely present. Fragile and momentary. 
Later when the day fully arrives, dew drops are blow dried from the faces of leaves. Webs disappear into the foliage and this sleepy photographer is re-absorbed into the human world.
Back in human time I'm reading Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren.  
"Wabi-sabi (a Japanese philosophy) is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional."
I remember when I started this blog my tagline was "celebrating the ordinary and the everyday in a place where nothing much happens."  I must be a wabi-sabi photographer (of an Irish rural variety maybe?) as every page of this carefully crafted book feels like a comfortable old pair of slippers.......

So I am re-inspired to sink into the elusive and the mysterious. To believe again that beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. That in the wild time and the human time there is always space for perfect imperfection. 

More about Contemplative Photography here


Out of the shadows

We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.
John O Donohue

It wasn't a great summer; grey skies, too much rain, cold seas. But for a couple of days the golden sun lit up our lives and we all came out of the shadows.

Photographers call it the "golden hour".  It's that time of the day, early or late, when light slides in at an angle casting lanky silhouettes and tinting the world with warmth. When you study light and peer endlessly through a lens, you are drawn to this like a moth to a flame.

But the best part? In the gloaming, back doors, front doors, windows and hearts are opened to the light. Glasses of wine and cups of coffee are brought down to the shore. Youngsters are chatting, perched on the low walls, barbecues are set and smoking. Our small community is united by staring into the light show of an evening sky.

This golden life force, our sun, makes us smile, feeds our souls and entices us out of the shadows. And this is even more true for photographers!


Wild honeysuckle is the thing

"If you don't love things in particular, you cannot love the world, because the world doesn't exist except in individual things"
Thomas Moore

The ditches are a jumble of briars, a tangle of weeds, a mess of curling browning leaves. They cascade onto the lane, in the subdued light of early autumn. 
A heady scent draws you into the middle of a phenomenon. The wild honeysuckle is budding, flowering and fruiting all at once. In the darkening days of autumn this climber is still in it's stride, an exotic reminder of life cycles. 
The young ones on the lane have returned to school, a trio of thrushes are practicing their skills at the top of a tree, the now enormous cattle are munching the EU grass.

And wild honeysuckle is the thing today; absorbing, beautiful, tender.

More life cycles of flowers here in the Petals Gallery

And if you have a minute, you can still vote for Foxglove Lane in the Blog Awards here 

Thank you! 



12 minutes in Bruxelles Nord

Up the wide stairs onto the platform of Bruxelles Nord Station. The clock said 7.43, the train would arrive and leave by 7.55.  

In the golden light filled space there were constant comings and goings. For twelve minutes I am pure presence. Absorbed in what I miss most about city living.

Straight lines, edgy shadows, bits and pieces of the lives of others. My last 12 minutes in the city of Bruxelles.

Visit the Gallery here to join in the full 12 minutes.

And then if you have another moment I would LOVE your vote in the Blog Awards for Best Photography Blog