For Oliver

Oliver Stanley was a beautiful man, and a really great friend to me. He died, aged forty-one, on this day in 1995. Remembered with warmth, much love, and this dedication.

He’d be pretty tickled to know I was posting a picture of his arse to the entire world, all these years later. There’s a portrait of him in this gallery.

Flattery in Paris

We saw these two walking towards us, and I said “He must be in love”. “He must have done something terrible”, replied Nicole.

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I first met Nicole Flattery when we were both in the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris, and was really impressed by her clever and funny short stories. We did a portrait in the centre that became the author photograph in her new collection, which was given a rave review ("a highly addictive mix of deadpan drollery and candour") in the Guardian yesterday.

Nicole Flattery in Paris, 2017.

Nicole Flattery in Paris, 2017.

There are more portraits of writers in this gallery.

A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot

“One night, Majella O’Donnell brought her son Philly to be shot in both legs”. So begins this week’s episode of An Irishman Abroad, featuring journalist and film-maker Sinead O’Shea telling the story of how she came to make the feature documentary “A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot”.

Director Sinead O’ Shea, photographed in my Dublin studio last year.

The Image You Missed

Donal Foreman’s “The Image You Missed” is a really interesting essay film about his relationship with his estranged father, Paris-based documentary maker Arthur MacCaig. I saw it last year in The Pompidou Centre, and asked Donal to sit for a portrait the next day. We met at the cafe in the 5th Arrondissement where he last saw his father, who died in 2008.

As I was shooting, a man who looked like Arthur MacCaig passed by in the background.

“The Image You Missed” screens this evening at the Odeon Point Square Cinema in Dublin, as part of the Five Lamps Arts Festival.

What have you got to say for yourself?

Portraits of Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden for a piece on married couples in The Telegraph Magazine. They refused on principle to appear in the same picture as they weren't actually living together. Margaretta filmed me as I photographed her, and when we were finished took me up to the attic where there was a tangle of wires hanging from a bare bulb in the ceiling. She flicked a switch, thrust a microphone into my face and said "You are now broadcasting live on the world's only Irish language, feminist pirate radio station - what have you got to say for yourself?" Not a lot, as it turned out.

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Trans / Punk

I shot some portraits recently of Irish transgender people for Michele-Ann Kelly’s Transition, Family and Me project. When Sarah R Phillips and I started talking about music it turned out we’d both been to many of the seminal punk gigs in Dublin. I asked if she’d seen the legendary Slaughter & The Dogs play in Belfield, and she told me not only was she there, she still goes to see them every chance she gets. Respect.

A History-Making Nerd

Liz Carolan is a self-confessed data and transparency nerd. In 2018, she set up a project to bring transparency to online advertising in Ireland’s referendum on the 8th amendment which banned abortion. That project led to a change in policy by Facebook and Google, and prompted commitments by the Irish Government to reform electoral regulations. Reading about her work makes it even more obvious that treating social media, particularly Facebook, with an ever-increasing degree of scepticism can only be a good thing. See also: T-Bone Burnett’s incendiary keynote from SXSW.

I photographed Liz last week in the new Fumbally Exchange, Dublin 8.

A different kind of portrait

Sometimes something very different comes along, such as the couple of times I’ve been asked by friends with cancer to help make a record of their experience. One such friend asked me recently to photograph her lumpectomy scars, and we were both very happy with how the pictures turned out. I’m also very glad to say that she’s doing well now, after a gruelling round of treatment. To be asked to do something like this feels like a real honour.

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