So the first post on the Radharc Images site blog so I’d better explain how and why I’ve reached this point.The beginnings of my agency work go back to events after a riot in Belfast in July 2005. Up until this particular evening I had always self marketed my photos, digital photography and delivery was still growing so there were mechanisms for individuals to send images to publications and get published with enough frequency to earn a living from it.
It was my first real big job back after spending a year out after suffering an infection in my leg injury which caused a 2 month spell in hospital and a year learning to walk again. I’d missed a lot in that time.
What I’d missed was the increase in agency work and the faster turnaround time for images. During the riot I watched a couple of colleagues sit down and get the laptop out and wire the pictures in. Most of the rest of us were still taking photos and didnt want to be burdened down with the heavy laptops of the time particularly in a riot situation.
I got home, edited and sent out my pictures and got a lot of ‘sorry we’ve already had a set in from x agency’ from people I already knew.
Time to start making those phone calls and sending out emails. I sent my portfolio out to a contact I had in London and after a few phone calls and emails had a telephone interview with a US agency with a London base (Wireimage). They sent me out on an initial test job and the rest is history. 2 years later Wireimage were taken over by Gettyimages and it looked like this was a good move. 2 years after that contract issues with Getty and the decreasing editorial market and increased use of account subscriptions made it virtually impossible to earn a living from certain jobs here in Ireland. It was time to re-evaluate what I was doing.
In the interim 4 years things had almost gone full circle, the opportunities for photographers to self market on the web has almost reached the point it was at 5 years ago where a phone call with ‘photos on their way in’ was enough. Now I dont think they even have switchboards.
So the idea of starting an agency with like minded individuals was formed but in the myriad of websites and photo sites out there what was the USP? (unique selling point)
Back I went to an evening after the IFTA film and television awards in Dublin in 2008. It was a late finish so I thought I’d head across country to stay with friends in Galway rather than head home to Belfast. Now this does sound stupid as Belfast is closer than Galway but ignore the logic. I left the press room starving (as usual I was wiring photos in whilst my colleagues scoffed all the free nosh) and thought I’d just stop off in a wee village somewhere on the road, get a burger, get a pee and take my time. Not having driven that road in years I didnt realise it was all straight motorway and dual carriageway. After about 2 hours I was busting and still hungry. Where was the old Ireland that we all cursed as it took 7 hours to drive anywhere but where you could get fed and watered at any time of the day or night.
Old Ireland is dissapearing fast and many things have changed beyond recognition in a very short space of time. This isnt good or bad, just different but I thought now in 2009 that some things should be documented before they disappear forever. Of course a lot has disappeared but things are continually cycling so it would be a lifetime project. Theres the USP, use my formal grammar school education, delve deep into the irish history, folklore, legends and geography and do my best to capture as much of it as possible. I originally thought it would be a 2 year project and I laugh now 10 months on having only really covered Northern Ireland in the depth I thought I’d do everything in the first year.
I’ve lived here for almost 40 years and in the last 10 months I’ve seen many places I’ve never seen in my life, despite being only 1/2 an hour up the road, so in a way its more of a series of pilgrimages than a project.
So do I only include photos of Ireland? Well yes initially but I was on a job in Spain a couple of years ago and produced a set of photos and one of the people reviewing them said ‘oh thats very Irish’. I didnt really get it, it was a spanish model, spanish site, everything about it to me said Spanish but it was explained a spanish photographer wouldnt have taken that shot. Interesting. I suppose one way of explaining it is to illustrate a recent trip to Cyprus, because I’m from Belfast we have an unnatural fascination with conflict and divided cities, so I spent an entire day going up and down the Green Line in Cyprus taking photos. They may never sell but talking to people either side of the border it was easy to emphasise with people and easy to see that people are the same all over the world and if left alone will generally get on together. So I think thats where the Irish Eye comes into it. Well thats what I tell people and if you believe that you will believe anything 😉 Of course it could just be me being greedy and wanting to add all the photos in, I’ll let you decide 😉
So OK, Its basically all my stock photos with a heavy emphasis on Ireland and very tenuous links to places that you can travel to from Ireland, all I had to do was pick a name.
Names. Northern Ireland. Names. People have died in this country over names.
Do I include an Irish aspect and risk alienating half the population of Northern Ireland, do I risk alienating potential employers by using the Irish language? Do I play it safe and come up with some PC bland euphemism that noone gets?
Well sort of, halfway between the two. 😉
I wanted something both Irish and British, something that means something yet nothing. So decided on a gaelic word and an english word. Photos is too bland, too ‘blah’. Images conjures up ideas of it being a whole thing rather than just a 2D photo of a whole thing. Images means more than just recording a scene without going into the whole idea of a word representing misty mountains and flame haired coleens running through the barley wearing aran jumpers because thats not Ireland, dont think it ever was except in the Quiet Man. So that was the english side sorted, what about Irish?
I wanted a word in Irish that had a hard translation into English, preferably one that didnt have a direct translation but had multiple meanings depending on how and when its used. Plus it had to be pronouncable in English even if it was mispronounced. Its not rad harc but depending on dialect (see we cant even agree) its ra arc or raa irk. It can mean sight or vision or view or scene but in its purest form means a way of seeing which can mean the actual act of seeing or the way something is interpreted. See I told you it mean little in english!
So thats it, job done, well thats the easy part, the hard part is doing all of the above justice, and taking the photos, captioning, uploading, displaying etc etc. Which leads me on to the blog. The blog will be more about the way of seeing than the actual photos, how I get to the point I take the photos and this is just the start of it….
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