Many Irish pubs are rightly famed for their murals. This is the side wall of An Bóthar (The Road) Pub on the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. The pub name on the sign is written in An Cló Gaelach, the traditional Irish script. I have some familiarity with Scottish Gaelic, having lived in the Scottish Highlands for a few years and worked with people from the Outer Hebrides and I made some effort to learn the language, so written Irish in modern text is often familiar to me also. However, the traditional Irish script can be difficult to read for a non-Irish speaker because it has now become so diversely stylised. I mistook the first letter of the second word for a 'D' and made an amadán beag of myself ( a little fool; it's just about the same in Scottish Gaelic) when inquiring why the pub was called An Dóthar.
I've since learned that this wonderful work of art no longer adorns the end wall of the pub, being replaced by a copy of a vintage advertisement for Guinness and the pub name in a modern, diluted version of An Cló Gaelach. Is mór an trua!
I was sitting in a café across the street watching an earnest and lengthy conversation taking place with a woman on the footpath below. A split second after I pushed the shutter, both the woman in the window and the woman on the footpath waved at me and smiled broadly. I guess the conversation wasn't as serious as I first thought.
Detail from the Calatrava designed City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia visited when much of it was still under construction. This is one end of the Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe, an interactive science museum completed in 2000 and modelled on the skeleton of a whale. At the time, the vast majority of images of this place on the web were in colour, so I deliberately chose to shoot in black and white also. Unfortunately I found I only had ISO 400 film in my bag and was concerned it might suck in too much light in the strong sunlight, resulting in washed out images. In hindsight, the film had quite a bit of latitude and I quite like the subtle high-key effect.
The tiny village of Cadgwith, situated on the southern Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, is one of my favourite English villages (though calling anywhere in Cornwall English sometimes meets with raised eyebrows in these parts). It has everything I like in a traditional village. It's relatively carless and private cars, even those of the residents, have to be parked on the outskirts. The houses are traditional with many thatched roofs, no hideous new builds. A couple even have paintings on their stone walls depicting bygone galleon days. But my lasting memory was forged in my first night staying in the 400-year old Cadgwith Cove Inn, after a hearty fish supper, drinking one of my favourite ales, the local Doombar. Afterward I was highly entertained by the sea shanties of the acapella Cadgwith Singers.
The story surrounding the singers is so wonderfully Celtic. Apparently the Irish monk Saint Inebriatus, was the sole survivor of a shipwreck nearby and was forced to forge a makeshift raft from beer barrels bound together by virgin's hair. His raft ran aground at Cadgwith on a Saturday night and he hastened himself to the pub. Hence every Friday in Cadgwith is known as St. Inebriatus' Eve and reverently and irreverently celebrated in song. I also had a lengthy and interesting conversation with a guy who had worked, a decade or so earlier, as one of the camera crew on a documentary on the life of Henri Cartier-Bresson. So all-in-all a few hours well spent courtesy of St. Inebriatus. This image was the first of the following day, captured the following morning.
Whenever I look at this image it's the eyes that grab me. I can't decide whether they're in the world or not, sad or inquisitive, brain cogs quietly turning. I'm reminded of a line from Charles Bukowski:
"But your eyes - they're beautiful. They're wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire."
Taking photographs of a shabby but photogenic apartment block in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerifé in the Canary Islands, I turned around to see this guy sitting on the footpath staring at me. I hadn't noticed him before. He kept staring, emotionless-faced, which was a little disconcerting, so I decided to break the ice to ask, by gesturing toward my camera if I could photograph him. He nodded. So I knelt down, changed my lens and ran off a few frames. He sat patiently and all the while his demeanour changed not one bit. Before I left, I thanked him and offered him a few Euro coins which he slowly pocketed and again he nodded, still staring intently. Not a word. After I'd walked away perhaps 50m I turned around and he was still staring intently at me.
This 17m high statue, has been walking down Leopoldstraße in Munich since 1995. Leopoldstraße is a very busy city centre street and the Walking Man statue, by American sculptor Jonathan Borosky, is surrounded by a lot of urban visual clutter. Most photographers choose to include the office buildings in the background but I felt the artwork deserved more sole attention. This was the only angle I could find that isolated the work from the background. Even if it does cut off the lower legs and feet, it gives the impression of an alien being walking through a forest. At least it does to me.
Yr Wyddfa is the local (and correct) Welsh-language name for Snowdon. At 1,085m it's the highest mountain in Wales and the highest mountain in the British Isles outside of the Scottish Highlands, ranked 19th overall. Captured handheld, half-hanging out of a second floor bedroom window of my home in the village of Llanfrothen. It always looks most handsome after a fresh snowfall, especially when it floats above cloud.
Cnicht looking simultaneously elegant and moody. This is the mountain that overlooks the Gwynedd villages of Llanfrothen and Croesor, my home for the past 25+ years. It can't claim to one of the larger Welsh peaks, being only 689m, but it's the most illusionary. Although the classic pointy peak adds to a misperception of greater height, especially so when covered in snow, it's not really a monolithic peak at all, but the eastern end of a long ridge which is hidden from view from this angle.
I captured this image late afternoon as the sun was setting and cloud was rapidly forming on the southern side. I rarely do landscapes. I haven't the patience to sit and wait all day for the right quality of light, so this shot was purely opportunistic. Luckily the camera bag was close to hand. Because it was a low light shot, captured at a relatively high ISO, the colours looked washed out and not in a pleasant pastel way. Rather than boost the saturation, which often looks awful and obviously forced, I converted to monochrome. I'm with mountaineer and author Jim Perrin on this one: "The artist Nature often achieves greatest effect when not working with a full palette." As so often does the photographer.
The white house in the foreground is Cae Glas. It's a very good example of the old Snowdonia architectural style. Dendrochronology dates the main house to the winter of 1547/48 and parts of adjoining barn could be as early as 1497. The earliest written record of ownership, from 1598, refers to a David ap Retherch of Hardelech, described as a 'gent'.
A vintage advertising poster for Guinness found on a pub wall in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region) of County Kerry. This is one of many produced by the artist John Gilroy in the 1930s and mint copies are now worth big money at auction. I do enjoy an occasional Guinness or two but bestowing strength or energy isn't something I'd immediately associate with the velvety beverage.
I once met a guy who had a goal of photographing every traditional red Royal Mail post box in Wales. I don't get it. But I have to say, they're photogenic when they have a strongly contrasting background and have recently been washed in a rainstorm.