The Joy of Books and what they get up to when you’re asleep

The charming film below is called The Joy of Books and it inspired me to do a blog post and a little photo project today. Sean and Lisa Ohlenkamp made it by spending“many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type Bookstorein Toronto”. 
They were inspired to make the video after re-organisingtheir bookshelves. After all, books can’t organise themselves…or can they?Maybe they just choose to do other things. I even have photographic evidence of this rare event. It only happens in The 25th Hour in Twilight when Everything isIlluminated
The Horse Whisperer and The Book Thief try toget off with Porno

Hannibalthinks We Need To Talk about Kevin

The Reader is writing Four Letters of Love

Orlandowants to break up with Jane Eyre. Subtlety is not his strong point….

The Crying of Lot 49is so loud it’s driving Rose Madder to violence…

The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest has taken itupon herself to compile a new Schindler’s List

A Short History of Nearly Everything is learning Howto Talk about Books you Haven’t Read


Catch me if you Can!!!”, the books tease. They’re making such a racket I can’t wait for TheHours to pass before dawn. They’re drivingme to Insomnia! The television is all White Noise and the radio offers only TheShipping News. I long for Nightmares and Dreamscapes. At this rate, I’ll behaving Breakfast at Tiffany’s before long…

PS: All the words in italics are book titles from my veryown bookshelves. I wish the books could organise themselves! No books were harmed inthe making of this photo essay. 

Travel Photography exhibition at Friar’s Gate Theatre opens this Friday

Travel Photography, an exhibition by local amateur photographer, SiobhainDanaher, will open in Friar’s Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, this Friday (January13) at 7.30pm.

The exhibition willshowcase work from Siobhain’s recent travels in Cuba,Venice and the remote Himalayancountry of Bhutan. Entryis free but any contributions/proceeds from sales are in aid of a very worthycause, The Hope Foundation. THF is a Corkbased charity that works with street and slum children in Calcutta, India. Theexhibition will be opened by local professional photographer, Cormac Byrne.

By the way…
If you’re looking for more nice photographs to admire ormaybe buy prints of, some of the guys from Limerick Camera Club produce somefantastic work of Limerick and beyond. You might want toperuse their websites:

Is the world’s most expensive photo overrated?

Look at this photograph closely. It’s called Rhein II byAndreas Gursky. Now, guess how much it’s worth or rather, what someone paid forit in an auction?
Rhein II
The actual number is $4.3 million, or €3.2 million. Now payingthat amount FOR A F**KING PHOTOGRAPH is crass enough. But to add insult toinjury, it’s not exactly eye-catching or heartbreaking or executed withextraordinary skill. It is big—80×140 inches, but they say size doesn’t matter. My first impression wasthat it has very strong lines but it’s still only a picture of a river on adull day. It is, allegedly, the photographer’s favourite photo and “an allegorical pictureabout the meaning of life and how things are”. I think it shouldhave been called The emperor’s new clothes.
Untitled #69
Florence Waters in The Daily Telegraph said “his image is a vibrant,beautiful and memorable – I should say unforgettable – contemporary twist on Germany’s famed genre andfavourite theme: the romantic landscape, and man’s relationship with nature”. Really?!Maeve Kennedy in The Guardian said it was a “sludgy image of desolate, featureless landscape”.Guess which one I agree with?
It has ousted the previous record holder, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled#96, which sold for $3.89 million price point last May. I think this photograph is 10 timesmore appealing…still not €2.3 million good, but slightly better.
White Center
It reminded me of when I saw the painting, White Center, by Mark Rothko. It was besidea news item explaining how the painting had been sold for $73 million (€55million). Granted, it’s contemporary, simple and colourful. I like Rothko’swork but is it €55 million good?!

No. 5
Incidentally, the world’s most expensive painting at the minute is called No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock and it set some crazy art lover back $140 million, or a cool €105 million smackers. Any painting by Pollock is sought after and he has some fine work. I like his frenetic and vibrant style BUT on the other hand, if I didn’t know the artist and you told me a five year old had painted this, I’d have believed you. You’re essentially paying over €100 million for an autograph. 

It’s hard to put a monetary value on art and hard to quantify an individual emotional reaction to a piece of art. But there’s a global recession on, for everyone except art dealers ha ha. I can’t help thinking €3.2 million would go a long way toward oh, around 3.2 million things A LOT more meaningful than a photograph. It’s like Nero fiddling while (a photograph of) Rome burns.
PS: If you like photographs, Time Magazine released its Top 10 Photos of the Year here

Gerry Andrews at Limerick Camera Club

There was a really interesting presentation by Gerry Andrewsat the weekly Limerick Camera Club meeting tonight (November 9). Gerry is a formerclub member and an excellent photographer. He was an avid shutterbug asa young man and then took a 30 break from the hobby, before picking up a cameraagain in the past few years. His interest lies mainly in taking pictures ofpeople going about their daily lives. He is heavily influenced the work of American photojournalist, W Eugene Smith.
He showed some great black and white images taken inLimerick Milk Market in the 70s. They document a special aspect of local life andthe characters that frequented the market or lived around it. The portraits areextraordinary (you can see them on his website along with lots ofother photos of Irelandand the world). The Hunt Museumis seemingly going to put on an exhibition of the market photographs next yearand judging by the hard-copy prints he brought, it’s going to be good. I think it’llbe popular; Gerry himself said he was amazed by the interest in the picturesarising from an article in The Limerick Leader last summer.
There were also some cool shots of a big fire at my old primary school, the Model School on O’Connell Avenue,in the 70s. He also showed photos taken on his travels in Europe,Asia, Africa and America—mostof which wouldn’t have seemed out of place in National Geographic. He was very modest though.
Gerry’s website is well worth a look and I’ll flag that exhibition when it’s on. If you’re interested in what thecamera club does and photos by members (who are a lot better than me), see

Graffiti Photo Essay: Part 2

I’ll start with examples in Limerick…

This was taken in late 2009 in a vacant lot in the Dock Road literally covered in graffiti. The next few photos were either taken of the inside walls or the external walls. I presume the lot is still there but the graffiti might have changed since!

Munster and Ireland stars, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara. This was done by All Out (; you can hire them to do murals and there are several examples around Limerick. The taxi rank in Davis Street has a few more Munster players on its walls etc.
This photo and the one below were also taken in 2009 at the skate park down in Mount Kennett, by the river. The building is Riverpoint.
This photo is more recent, March this year. Do chalk drawings even count as graffiti? There were a lot of them around earlier in the year going up Mulgrave Street (there’s one there now; another statistic on a boarded up window across from the fire station. I wonder is some artist/art student doing it as an installation or some person just drawing because they’re bored). Anyway, I took the photo because it stood out in its randomness. The text is “75 million birds die each year in road related accidents”. The wing could be a representation of a chalk outline of a dead bird…maybe!

Taken on the same day in March, down in Mallow Street. It looks like a stencil, done with a roller. I like the vivid colour on the white wall.
This is the bridge behind Ceannt Station in Galway in March 2009. The graffito word is “TRUE”. I just liked it, especially as it was right in the centre of the photo and it was gone the last time I checked. 

And now to some examples abroad…

This psychedelic shot was taken in Amsterdam last summer. I was on a moving boat at the time so it’s not as clear as I wanted.
This is the side of a building in Nantes, France in 2009. It is the birthplace the of subject, Jules Verne, who wrote the book Around the World in 80 Days. I’d say it’s a mural rather than graffiti but I can’t be sure; it’s a little spoiled by rubbish graffiti up the top left. The next few images are also from Nantes, much of it in little alleys and back streets. There are lots of graffiti around France (and Spain). I spent a good few hours on trains while travelling in both places and it’s very prevalent but not always good!
This is really cool and unfortunately some eejit has sprayed a blue tag all over it.
The words mean “Either with or without you”.
Is this defacement or tribute? This is graffiti from the grave of  famous writer, Oscar Wilde, at the most visited graveyard in the world, Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The black writing is a famous quote of his…the white text is not *lol* Wilde’s grave is literally covered in graffiti. Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, and a load of French dignitaries are also buried here. Morrison’s grave is cordoned off. I think Oscar’s should be too, and maybe sandblasted!
This photo was taken on top of a hill in Sete, in the south of France. It’s on the bottom of a big broadcasting tower. The black stencilling seems to be done over previous colourful tags/lettering. I especially like the woman with the shopping trolley. I’m not sure what the words mean; ‘paroles’ is words or speech; ‘jamais’ is never and ‘pardonner’ is to forgive; ‘rigole’ is channel…and I still can’t speak French after five years ‘learning’ it in school!