olli thomson

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Tag: Northern Ireland

Lagan Weir

These two shots were taken from an almost identical location one year apart during return visits to my home town of Belfast in Northern Ireland. I like the similarities – lone man crossing bridge shot from below – but I’m also struck by how different they are and how small changes can change the look of a picture.

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Belfast & Donaghadee

I took a trip back home to Northern Ireland in May this year. Wanting to experiment a little with my film photography I left my largely manual 1970’s vintage SLR’s behind and ordered a early 2000’s Nikon F75 with 50 1.8 AF lens which was waiting for me when I arrived. The F75 is an entry level camera but when it was released it incorporated most of Nikon’s latest and greatest technologies. I also ordered a five pack of Kodak Pro 100 film to try out. In the end I decided that I prefer my film cameras a little more old school, a little more hands on. The F75 is fun to use – and these days an absolute bargain – but I found that I was taking shots more quickly than I would with my less automated cameras. This may be why I ended up with very few shots I thought were worthwhile, or it may just have been me. Who knows. Here are a few shots from those five rolls that I thought were not too bad. The first set is pictures taken around Belfast, while the second is from a small seaside town not far from Belfast called Donaghadee.

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Donovan Wylie – British Watchtowers

My friends had decided to go wind surfing on Camlough Lake. Not seeing the appeal of windsurfing myself I chose instead to go for a hike on Camlough Mountain. Calling it a mountain flatters it somewhat; it’s more of a large hill rising to less than 1400 feet.

I can’t remember exactly when this was except that it was probably in the mid 1980s when Northern Ireland was still in the midst of what we euphemistically called ‘the troubles’ or sometimes ‘The Troubles’. Since Camlough was in South Armagh, an region known as ‘Bandit Country’ in testimony to the intensity and ferocity of the violence there, the area wasn’t exactly a tourist hot spot and so I had the mountain to myself. Mostly.

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Toby Binder – Wee Muckers Youth of Belfast

A mucker is a mate or a friend. “All right mucker?” or should that be “alright mucker?” The etymology and origins are unclear with ‘mucker’ being described as both a Britishism and an Irishism. Since we in Northern Ireland have spend more than a few centuries disputing our Britishness or Irishness it seems a highly apposite word for us to use.

Toby Binder is German so even with a thorough grasp of English it seems unlikely that he would have come across ‘mucker’ before he started his long-term project photographing the lives of young people across the United Kingdom. Post-Brexit or, rather, post-referendum – he travelled to Belfast and Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast is the result.

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