Here’s just a limited selection of some of the many bizarre though quite fascinating statues that I came across on my trip to Prague in the Czech Republic a while back.
I don’t know whether the surreal nature of Prague’s public art is due to the influence of Czech surrealists such as Jan Svankmajer, or Franz Kafka. Or, perhaps it’s the result of the destruction wrought upon Czech art and architecture by the second world war that required such artistic reinvention. Maybe the Czechs choose not to celebrate historical figures through public effigies because of their country’s troubled period of communist rule that may have left them weary of hero worship after suffering the destructive state sponsored propaganda of fallen idols such as Stalin for so many years. Perhaps it’s simply the prevalence of mind altering drugs on the streets of Bohemia since the decrimalisation of drugs for personal use that has unleashed such a creative approach to enriching public spaces with artistic ingenuity.
Whatever the reason may be for Prague’s bevy of idiosyncratic street sculptures, I for one am all for it. Through a haze of cannabis smoke I trawled throughout the city of Prague constantly surprised and enthralled by the many surreal incursions into my day that these works of art provided me with.
Upon my return to Ireland, whilst trudging through the streets of Dublin I couldn’t help but feel short changed by the lack of invention of our own Irish artisits in their creation of public pieces of art. There are only so many grey statues of long dead war mongerers, or bronze casts of expatriate Irish writers that can be stomached before you start to question what the Irish are lacking in so sorely when it comes enriching public spaces.
I remember once reading the Czech writer Milan Kundera describing his Czech countrymen as “heretics” as a result of their lack of enthusiasm for religous or political doctrines and the simple pleasure that they take in living life to its fullest. As I stood in O’Connell Street in Dublin after my trip to Prague, I looked towards the GPO, the scene of Ireland’s greatest act of rebellion in 1916 which eventually led to our country’s independence. However, my view across the road to this historic building was partially obscured by the great phallic monstrosity that is the Millenium Spire quietly spunking its celtic tiger euro millions into the air. And I thought to myself, that perhaps there’s something that us conformist Irish could do with learning from these Czech herectics.
You may have noticed that my daily posting has slackened off considerably of late, but this has not been the result of laziness on my part (well not completely), but rather because I’ve been off enjoying celebrating my 28th birthday in the lovely city of Rome.
Rome is a beautiful city with so much to see and do that even with a whole week to explore its environs, there’s still a hell of a lot that I missed out on. Whatever I did have the opportunity to visit though, I’ve dutifully tried to photograph, and I hope that you’ll enjoy this little taste of my photographic record of my voyage to Rome.
The juxtaposition of ancient Roman ruins alongside the elaborate architecture and artworks of the Renaissance is a continuous feast for the eyes, whilst the opportunity to indulge myself in my first experiences of authentic Italian food was a delight for my belly (as was evident by its increased rotundity upon my return).
All the photographs that you see are available to buy in my store, which can be visited by clicking here, or on any of the photos.
Thanks for stopping by,
Yesterday I had the (dis)pleasure of attending the Galway Races 2012 courtesy of a free ticket that I got from Galway.com, so that I could take a few photos of the happy day.
I have to admit that it remains somewhat of a mystery to me how the Galway Races is considered to be the highlight of the summer for so many Galwegians.
Yesterday was Lady’s Day at the races, which meant that I bore witness to many Irish women exposing far more of themselves than could ever possibly be considered visually alluring to anyone but the most fool hardy fans of flashes of Irish pasty skin overspilling ill fitting dresses. These uneasy style afficianodoes then todder along upon unfeasibly large heels, to which the wearer has clearly not had the chance to become accustomed to wearing before at such high-faluting fashionable occasions as the races. Or in fact ever, judging by the amount of stumbling style icons that I encountered throughout the day.
That’s not to say that there weren’t a few well attired beauties amongst the maelstrom of ill adorned ladies, which I’ve done my very best to take a few shots of, though these were admittedly few and far between. Taking photos amongst the heaving drunken masses is also one hell of a challenge, especially coupled with the incessant rain that we’ve been damned with all summer long here in Galway.
However, Galway’s stubbornly maritime climate didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of all that many weather beaten Irish punters, whose sunny dispositions I jealously witnessed and then dutifully tried to document.
The races also appear to me to be the most utterly elitist gathering of people that takes place in Galway. The rich take helicopters in and sit in reserved booths sipping champagne and being waited on hand and foot, whilst the rest of the plebs take a bus that progresses through the infamously egregious Galway traffic at slower than walking speed in order to painfully soldier onwards to the course. Once they have the pleasure of eventually arriving at the races, they can then que like mistreated cattle for half an hour to get a cheeseburger that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies, which is served alongside chips refried in dirty frying oil so many times that they now seem to have only a faint recollection of their time spent as a potato.
The taste of such culinary insults demands to be washed out by a pint of Guinness, which is served in a plastic cup that seems to magically evaporate to half its size on the sharp elbowed trip back to your square foot of standing position back outside in the rain.
A cantankerous young man I may well be, but I can think of a whole lot more fun ways to spend the day in Galway that doesn’t involve wringing every last cent out of my pocket for hospitality that could be bettered in Butlin’s holiday camp circa 1958.
And don’t get me started on those unfortunate race horses. I mean they say that they’re made for racing and that’s what they enjoy, but if that’s the case then why does it take up to ten men to man handle them in order to force them into a trap that they obviously have no wish to enter.
If forcing animals to do something they don’t want to do for our own enjoyment is considered a sport, then I think it’s about time I made my monkey tennis dreams a reality.
Anyways, here’s some of my photos of the day of people that seem to be having a lot more fun than I could ever possibly muster, and good luck to them, I certainly admire their unquenchably positive outlook!(in a way)
I’m now away for a quiet pint in the dark corner of an unassuming little pub far from the tourist trail, where I can escape the heaving throngs of these alien effervescent souls so hellbent on having fun, in order to wait for all these corporate sponsored summer festivities to draw to a close, so I can finally have my nice quiet miserable little city back.
Enjoy the rest of the races everyone else! Only 3 more days to go!
Here’s another couple of shots for the day that I thought I should get up as soon as possible, cause it’s not too often, nor for too long, that the Titanic berths itself in Galway Bay.
This is a scaled to 100:1 replica of the Titanic that arrived on the Prom over the weekend in order to raise money for something or other.
It’s quite an impressive bit of model making that is definitely a somewhat surreal addition to the coastline of Salthill, but I do think that it lends itself well to some photographic distortions of scale.
I hope that you like it, and of course if you’d like to purchase this image or any others, then click on the picture to be taken to my shop.
Here’s one of my favourite shots that I’ve taken of Salthill from a few years ago when they used to put the big wheel up with the rest of the amusements overlooking the seaside. When the sun was going down there was always some great shots to be taken over the bay when it was still there, but alas now it’s no longer part of the funfair, which is a bit of a shame really. However, it does lend my photo some added resonance as an archival document of times past, so no complaints really.
If you’d like to look at some more of my photographs or buy them in my shop then just click the photograph above.
Here’s a little selection of shots that I’ve gathered over the years on my travels throughout Europe. I enjoy shooting statues like they were live people and framing them accordingly, because it seems to breathe life into these static objects.
I think photography is often the most satisfying way of looking at statues, because photos reduce everybody to static statues frozen at the point that the camera’s shutter was released. And as a result of the stasis enshrined in the photographic process, pictures of these lifeless sculptures can sometimes appear just as alive any person photographed.
Let me know if you can recognise any of these, as I can hardly remember where I took them myself!
For today’s post I thought that I’d offer my own little celebration of one of Galway city’s greatest institutions- The Market at St Nicholas’s Church every weekend.
Every Saturday the prospect of the finest falafel I’ve yet found, a tantalising chicken teriyaki roll, a delicately spiced vegetarian madras, or some enjoyably fattening fresh donuts, is more than enough to convince me to cut my Saturday lie-in short in order to proceed to fill my belly and my shopping bag with some of the delectables found at the Galway Market.
Sunshine is far from guaranteed, and I can’t say that the prices are all that cheap in fairness, but by heck it sure is nice to have somewhere to go and buy a nice piece of fresh fish, some organic vegetables, and a few nice pieces of fruit to turn into something a little extra special in the kitchen later.
Here’s a few shots of some of the produce and crafts on display that I hope that you’ll enjoy alongside some photos of the dishes that I’ve prepared using food that I’ve found at the market.
A feast for the eyes awaits I hope….
Blooming at the market’s florist…
A nice set of buns…
Vegetarian Madras and chappati…a warming antidote to the Galwegian climate….
Though admittedly not terribly attractive, I can assure you that the fresh fish is quite delicious…
A sea of strawberries announces the onset of another dubious Irish “summer”…
Though at least the chillies are hot…
Free holes with all donuts…
I can’t vouch for the geographical accuracy of this jigsaw, but it sure does look nice…
This is what I do with a prawn when I get it back to my studio…
And here’s some of that fresh fruit looking quite zesty…
My own Heston Blumenthal inspired Lemon Sole atop Galway Bay Prawns in a creamy white sauce- a good recipe to do justice to the fine fresh fish that I obtained at the market…
My Gordon Ramsay inspired Pan Fried Sea Trout and Fricasseed potatoes doesn’t taste half bad either….
And finally there’s no finer way to embrace a rare glimpse of Irish sunshine by a barbequing a nice bit of steak from the market and piling it onto my own very special signature steak sandwich….
Well that’s about all I’ve got for you on the market I’m afraid, well done if you’ve managed to scroll down this far, I’m glad that I’ve managed to hold your attention. Let me know if you’ve got any queries about my photos or food, as I’m happy to share any of my recipes to anyone that’s interested (that is if anybody is interested).
Cheers for reading and hooray for the Galway Market; an example of capitalism at its least appalling, I’m sure you’ll agree.