01_01_11 New Beginnings, Old Memories and Other People’s Souvenirs.

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View East from Dalkey Hil, Dublin, 01-01-11

‘..ah well – no worse – no better, no worse – no change – no pain – hardly any – great thing that – nothing like it – pure … what? – what?…’ – Samuel Beckett, Happy Days.

It’s a ritual of mine when possible to view the sea in and around dawn on New Years Day. The primordial soup is always reassuring no matter the weather and it’s not that difficult at this time of year for while we are on the way back the sun is still quite  lazy and today only managed to lift its head into sullen clouds at 8.41 and 11 seconds. I have photographed this view many times, once – in a period of prolonged madness or serenity (I can’t remember which) – I photographed it for thirty days in a row before dawn and then for the next thirty days after dusk and this well before I discovered Mr. Sugimoto who has well and truly peed in the corner with this one so it remains a private obsession. This view is one that many of the Dublin illuminati have as a front garden but its free if you bother to walk up a very small hill. Today was special. It began with the above image but others  unfolded as I stood on a small rock nestled in the heather and on it went for nearly two hours, holding me transfixed in the one spot during which time some light showers of rain passed by and some light winds dappled the surface here and there of a now full sea. I have always thought that this wind effect might also explain naturally occurring crop circles as they have a rhythmic pulse. During this brief period, as large ships and ferries moved through the bay and two canoeists headed out for a sea journey around a small island, in front of my framed view nothing moved and yet all moved. At one point a man and his dog working their way through the heather paused momentarily to ask me if he would be interfering if he walked in front of me – they are polite like that in this neck of the woods.

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View South East from Dalkey Hil, Dublin, 01-01-11

In between these  events the folly began – I decided that I would look East again (towards Berlin or perhaps Frankfurt – our new masters) and make a photograph every minute for fifteen minutes but that I would enumerate the minutes by counting the seconds outloud to myself  ‘one–elephant, two-elephants, three-elephants,……..’ - aah the old style, nothing like it.

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View East from Dalkey Hil, Dublin, 01-01-11, 9.27 and 37 seconds

Fifteen photographs but twenty-five minutes later (so much for elephants, maybe lions next time) as the light has been chased away, evoking a slightly melancholic narrative,  I decide in the spirit of the day to go on for an hour. And

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View East from Dalkey Hil, Dublin, 01-01-11, 9.53 and 07 seconds

on the counting and the watching went, until fifty-four photographs and one hour  twenty minutes and nine seconds later  an equilibrium was reached and I could return safely to the shoebox – a new man for a new year.

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View East from Dalkey Hil, Dublin, 01-01-11, 10.48 and 06 seconds

Driving home and pondering that possibly the best way to visualize this nascent experience might be a small ‘movie’ of stills transitioning one to the other for sixty minutes, my mind meandered back to a New Years Day in Tokyo in 2006 when, far from the sea and looking for something to mark the occasion, I wandered by chance to one of the large parks to discover hundreds and hundreds of people heading to a temple, casting their Yen to the air as they sought good fortune for the forthcoming year before then posing for family photographs, some of which I borrowed as ‘Other People’s Souvenirs’ for a future that would hark back to a past life.