In the Dark – Mill No.1


© David Creedon

Mill No.1 is a photograph from the series The Last Cooper. This work documents the interior spaces of the now closed Beamish and Crawford brewery in Cork. The title of this project comes from my father who worked here as a cooper (someone who makes wooden casks, bound together with hoops and used for holding beer etc.) The old mill is situated at the very top of the brewery Built by the well-known brewers’ engineering firm of Henry Stopes & Co. of Southwark St. London in 1880 this is one of three mills that Beamish used. Stopes also built kilns and malt houses to their own unique design.  I photographed this late at night. This part of the brewery is disused  and has no power and working here you are doing so in total darkness. I also did not wish to use flash guns because they have a tendency to flatten the image. I remember trying to focus the lens being a big issue and we had to use a torch to make sure it was correct. To light the mill for the exposure we used a hand held torch and panned the light over the machinery throughout the long exposure. Working out the exposure was also going to be tricky and there was a bit of trial and error involved. the main problem was to make sure you covered the entire mill with light so it looked even. We started off I think with exposures of six seconds and worked our way up from that. I think this exposure is about 40 seconds. I try to get everything right on location, I’m not one to hold to the philosophy of fixing it it photoshop when if you take your time you can get it right first time.

Posted in brewery, cooper, cork, ireland, mill, photography, portraits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Short Stories – Daina Kārkliņa

Daina Kārkliņa

© David Creedon

I think that I prefer doing portraits than any other type of photography. There is always a back story to all my projects and these usually contain a historic narrative. For me photographing people is far more interesting. There is an old adage that every picture tells a story  but this is not true in all cases. We as viewers can guess about a persons character from a photograph but never get the complete picture and its only by sitting down talking and spending time with your subject that you can access what is hidden. Historians write about a country’s history by conducting academic research and examining state papers, but for the people on the ground who lived through these historic events what is sometimes forgotten is how valuable their stories and perspectives are in understanding the past. In my recent work The Summertime of my Autumn which revolved around themes of aging and memory in a rural society in Latvia. As a country Latvia has experienced a lot of changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union going from a socialist country to the free market economy. One way for me to help my subjects recall their life under Soviet occupation was through their photographic albums. Leafing through these albums, the memories of their youth come flooding back as if it were yesterday. For some, they just closed their eyes and replayed past events as if they were rewinding a scene from a film, while others didn’t want to say anything as it seemed the weight of the past may be too traumatic to recall.  A case in point is the photograph above of Daina Kārkliņa, when I met Daina at her farm in rural Latvia I could not guess the story that she was about to tell. As the project developed the stories became just as important as the portraits so I also tape recorded these stories.

Daina Kārkliņa (b. 1956) On a cold winter’s morning in December 1979, Daina went to the shed to work not knowing the tragedy that was about to unfold. After completing her tasks she returned to her house to find it in darkness. When she entered the kitchen black smoke and heat came out to meet her. She ran back to the shed which was about two hundred metres away and called on her neighbours for help. They removed her three children Aiga, Andris and Mareks from their beds but by then it was too late. When the medics arrived they tried to resuscitate them but by then there was nothing they could do; “It was the worst day of my life”. The tragedy put considerable strain on her marriage and eventually divorced her husband. Five years later she remarried and now has another three children.

Posted in culture, Latvia, photography, portfolios, portraits | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maria and Raul

Maria and Raul, Havana Cuba

© David Creedon All rights reserved

Maria and Raul – Paso Marti, Centro Habana, Cuba

My assistant Orlando called me at my hotel and  said he wanted me to meet this couple who lived opposite  El Capitolio, or National Capitol Building in Havana, Cuba. It was a very hot afternoon as we walked the short distance to their apartment on the Paso Marti. Their apartment was on the forth floor and when we arrived the front door was open. Sitting in a rocking chair was Raul. The apartment is quite small and the heat is overbearing I think it must be about forty degrees in here. Looking around this small dark room I now see Maria asleep on the bed. Her head is at the bottom and she is in the fetal position. Their whole life is wrapped up in this room and for most of their married life they have lived here. I select my position to take my photograph and Orlando and I move a table out of the way to make room for me to take the picture. The light is very low and Orlando uses a reflector to illuminate Raul. We also have to wedge something under Raul’s chair to stop its movement for the six second exposure.

There is a sense of tenderness and a bond between the pair and both seem comfortable together. Raul is blind and Maria looks after all his needs but in some way Raul is now Maria’s guardian, protecting her vulnerability as she sleeps. The couple were married in 1959, the year of the Revolution and in that time they have witnessed the many challenges that have faced the country. The  quietness of the room  was sporadically broken by the hum of a 1950 Gibson Refrigerator in the corner. Despite the realities of life there is a dignity, spirit and love displayed between them. In December 2012 after a short illness Raul passed away and Maria died about six months later.

Posted in art, Arts & Design, cuba, culture, photography, portfolios | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mortality of Vicente

The Mortality of Vicente – Güines, Cuba

© David Creedon All rights reserved

The Mortality of Vicente – Güines, Cuba

Vincente is 87 years old and in the final stages of dementia. He is cared for by his daughter who is also caring for her bedridden mother. Even though he can’t communicate and suffers from memory loss his daughter has placed him in the doorway so he can still be a part of family life.  The juxtaposition of Vicente lying on his bed and the tapestry on the wall depicting a bullfight both reflect the impending reality of what will be the inevitable. In the case of the Bull one can visualize the cheering of spectators as he finally succumbs to the matador in comparative to the mourning that will be experienced by a loving family for their father.

Posted in art, Arts & Design, cuba, culture, photography, portfolios, portraits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment