Throughout the pandemic (I won’t call it ‘the lockdown’ as I’ve been into the factory every day), I seem to have struggled to take pictures. Partly it’s the motivation that exploration and travel brings that has disappeared, for obvious reasons, but I’ve also been struggling to work out what my end goal or audience was. Did I take pictures to make zines, for this blog, for Instagram or solely for my personal satisfaction? It’s classic ‘analysis paralysis’, where thinking about something has got in the way of actually doing it.
Of course none of this matters. I don’t pay the bills with photography, and any pressure that I feel is entirely self-imposed and therefore ridiculous. So in an effort to shake myself out of this spiral, I’m going to try to shoot the familiar and straight-forward. To think less and shoot more.
A visit to Quin Abbey today fit that plan and was a step on my road to (photographic) ‘recovery’.
The friary is five miles away from us and has had quite a history. It was founded in 1433, and built on the remains of an Anglo-Norman castle built in 1280 (that the Irish destroyed just six years later!). Henry VIII dissolved the friary in 1541, Cromwell had a go at it as he passed through with the New Model Army, purging Catholicism as they went. The last friar of Quin died here in 1820. If this place was in the UK, you’d pay a lot of money to enter and look around. In Ireland, like so many of these ancient sites, Quin Abbey is free.It’s considered a ‘National Monument’ and quite rightly too.
The friary was built around a central cloister and it’s an atmospheric spot. I had hoped to records the sounds of the echoing hallways, but there were a gang of excited youngsters, scaring themselves at the idea that people were buried under the stones they were standing on.
The winter light seems to have arrived already, with sun staying low in the sky all day. This did make for cool shadows though…
Yup, nothing new or groundbreaking, but it was a workout for some atrophied camera muscles. I shot without colour and using only a 21mm lens to make the choices I was making more about the pictures than the gear – a favourite old technique…
Leica M Monochrom (M9M-CCD), Voigtlander 21mm Color Skopar