Monthly Archives: January 2009

Sitges by Night

This is in Sitges in Spain, just south of Barcelona. This promenade is by the beach, just below the Catholic Church, where my brother got married last September.
Nion F90X, Ilford XP2400, scanned neg.

By Rory O’Toole

Siofra pensive

By Ann O’Kelly

It’s Curtains for CorkAP

By Padraig Spillane

Storm clouds Gathering

By Dee Moriarty

Pigeon Rocks

Photo by Dee Moriarty

Grafton Street

By Rory O’Toole

Anchors Up

By Brian Dunne


By Padraig Spillane

Go together like walls and fences

I’m Watching You

By Brian Dunne


By Padraig Spillane


By Rory O’Toole

Miroslav Tichý

Reading Aidan Dunne in the Irish Times today, there was a review of shows by photographer Miroslav Tichý and Irish artist Orla Whelan. They were somewhat tenuously linked in the article partially due to their subject matter and partially due to the photographic appearance of Whelan’s paintings.

Tichý, now in his 80’s, is from the Czech republic. He originally trained as a painter before turning to photography. He never intended to exhibit, but his work has recently been discovered. A neighbour, Roman Buxbaum, began collecting his work and this led to his first solo exhibition in Seville in 2004.

What can be said about his methods and photography? Tichý cobbled his cameras together from old Russian bodies and lenses from bits of old pipe and various other appendages. He developed film in a kettle and printed by moonlight. The current generation of “lomographers” could learn a lot from him, not to mention the legions of digital shooters spending thousands on the latest DSLRs and discussing their merits on countless forums across the web.

The resulting photographs are grey, washed out, stained and poorly cared for. They are quite voyeristic, women and the female form being his favourite subject and making up the bulk of his work. I think they make up a fantastic body of work, 30 years of obsessive homemade photography with the eye of an artist.

I suspect that Orla Whelan did not have Tichý on her mind when producing her current exhibition, At The Heart of Chance. What interests me as a photographer is that she has painted almost monochrome. As Dunne says in his article

“…The paint surface is relatively mean, not especially sensual at all, and in this (as well as the fact that the paintings are monochrome) the work seems to refer to photography rather than to, say, Lucian Freud’s practice of embodying flesh in pigment through exhaustive observation. …”

You can read the article in todays Irish Times, or online at the IT website –

Miroslav Tichý , plus, in Gallery 2, Annelies Štrba Photographs . Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Until Jan 22. At the Heart of Chance , paintings by Orla Whelan. Gallery Two: Inhabit Works by Black Church Print Studio members. Draíocht, Blandchardstown Centre

– Rory

Photobooks for Christmas

Ilse Bing, ‘Hellerhofsiedlung, Frankfurt – my shadow and the shadow of the architect Mart Stam on the roof’, 1930. Bequest of Ilse Bing Wolff. Museum no. E.3028-2004

One of my favourite indulgences is photo books. They’re expensive, but splashing out on one or two a year shouldn’t break the bank, and within a few years you will have a nice little collection. Even more cost effective is to receive them as gifts! I see from the poll that at least four people received photobooks this Christmas. I received one – “Ilse Bing Photography Through The Looking Glass”.

Born in 1899 in Frankfurt, Ilse Bing was one of the early users of the Leica, having bought one in 1925. She spent most of the 1930’s in Paris, photgraphing people, architecture, fashion, landscape amongst everything else. Forced into exile by the war, she moved to New York, where she continued to photograph until the late 50’s, when she put her camera down. She died into 1998.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Ilse Bing until I received this book as a gift. But like hearing old music for the first time, part of the joy and fascination with photography is discovering something or someone whose work was current a long time ago, but is still there to be rediscovered and enjoyed, when you find it.

By the way, I must mention TK Maxx, a shop I love to hate. My Bing book was purchased there at a knock down price of about E20. The cover is a bit tatty, but it’s a lovely big hardback edition. TK Maxx’s book section is well worth a browse, and definately seems to have some hidden gems


Passage lifesaver

Rory O’Toole