Lensculture Magnum photography awards official entry number 2

image.jpegThis photo was taken in the UNESCO city of Trinidad, Cuba at the end of a hot day in 2011. We had travelled there on a last minute trip as we had started to hear that it was changing and capitalism was starting to seep into the culture. We were, selfishly, happy to see it hadn’t really changed. I say selfish because it remained as we had always imagined, beautiful cars, crumbly buildings and a photographers dream. However after a week of staying with local people in Casas we discovered that despite the free education, housing and healthcare people weren’t happy. Our broken Spanish only gave us a brief insight into the daily lives of the Cuban people; it was one of frustration. The frustration with being controlled on a daily basis. The inability to advance because you couldn’t afford the cost of paint or the shops were empty even if you could. But things were starting to change and this photo shows the silhouette of a young boy as he packs down his make shift tourist stall in the setting sun. While his stall was pretty empty, the juxtaposition of fixed bars and easily manipulated cloth represented the changing landscape in the city of Trinidad, Cuba. Things were changing and if we went back now we would expect to see more fixed stalls and fuller shops. Will the people be happier? Who knows, we hope so.

All photos copyright of Wonky Eye Photography 2016

Lensculture Magnum photography awards official entry number 1

image.jpeg

This photo was taken in 2014 when Andy and I were travelling to the Galápagos Islands. We decided to have a few days in Quito around Easter week and we were treated to quite the spectacle. On Good Friday the historic city of Quito turns into a sea of purple. Locals celebrate their Catholic faith during Semana Santa. The Cucuruchos wear the traditional robe and hood of those awaiting execution while they march solemnly through the streets. The faces of the repenting men are hidden, only eyes are visible to the on lookers. Jesus however is visible everywhere.

I chose this photo as it documents a truly Catholic tradition where Christ is at the centre of everything. The chains and crosses which are carried all symbolise the penance endured by these people but without the iconic figure of Jesus Christ these pointy hooded masks could get confused by modern day iconic imagery associated with the KKK.

Full blog on Semana Santa to follow in the next few weeks.

All images are copyright to wonkyeye photography 2016

Why did this image get awarded first place?

Lobster Pots_CWhenever we lose a competition we automatically think, why did the winning image win? So here at Wonky Eye when we win a competition we want to know the same. Our most recent win was two weeks ago at the International Mayfly Festival in Oughterard, Galway. The adjudicator was the esteemed photographer Geoff Smyth. Geoff worked as a professional advertising photographer throughout the world for 45 years and has just retired to Oughterard, Galway. He was kind enough to send me some written feedback which really helps understand how photography competitions are judged.

The Pier at Tully
Approaching this picture for the first time, from a distance, I had the impression that I was viewing a monolithic structure; something that sits well in an Irish landscape and resonates with other Irish monolithic structures like dolmens.
Closer inspection reveals the remains of wall, once part of a building, occupying the top left hand sweet spot of the image. Cascading down from the wall and reading from left to right, is a variety of cages and lobster pots and completes the structure of the foreground.
The middle distance is the sea, bogland and a few dwellings. The far distance is a backdrop of mountains and sky.
The picture is well composed with everything where it should be. It works as a landscape and it works as a still-life. What could be chaos, the chance arrangement of the lobster pots, is harmonious and very pleasing to the eye. There is lots to see and every part of this of this section of the image is full of interesting diagonals.
The bottom left hand of the foreground is grass and sand bits of rope and the subdued light imbues it with a mysterious quality. In fact the whole picture has an ethereal quality; something spiritual. To my eye, it’s just beautiful.
That’s the text of the photograph; the next bit is the sub-text, the backstory. When I look at this picture I want to know about the people who created this structure, the fishermen, the ones who worked the sea and the land. Are they still alive? What was that building, why did it rise, why did it fall? There is a novel inside this powerful image. People come and go but the backdrop, the mountains endure.
This is first class photograph and passes the; “I wish I’d taken that” test.
GEOFF SMYTH.

Sunday sunshine

image

As we are enjoying the early summer weather in Galway, everyone is taking to the beach to cool off in the wild Atlantic. Despite it only being 16 degrees c the sun does bring with it a sense of freedom and youthful play. I’m reminded of the days in Caye Caulker, Belize. After a day of diving we used to head to the dock to dip in and out of the water, drink some rum and listen to the beats of the drum. Bliss!

This photo encapsulates this sense of childish freedom the sun brings out in all of us.

“Everyone is a photographer nowadays”

Family photography

I keep hearing “everyone is a photographer nowadays” as if it is a bad thing. It isn’t. Photography is now built into our way of life. Every occasion is photographed, every moment shared and everyone is a photographer. Those trying to make a living out of photography are somewhat annoyed by the competition but I think we should embrace it. Surely the more people you are taking photos mean there are more people who are getting frustrated that the photo wasn’t quite right. That their photo doesn’t look like the ones from Nat Geo, that maybe there is a skill to photography that even the latest iPhone can’t create for you. All of us who are trying to making a living from this know that it takes time, lots of it! And specialist lenses, expensive ones, to really help you achieve that perfect photo. Here at Wonky Eye we are constantly trying to improve our photography skills. We want to work with people to help create a story from our photos so if there is anywhere or anyone you want photographed please get in touch and we will do our best to help you create that perfect photo that will freeze your story in time.

Michelle X

Ps this family photo perfectly captures our family on one of our first days out in our new home, it was taken by my sister and she is “not” a photographer!

Isla Galápagos Part III

PELICAN_CLOSE UPAs we mentioned in the last post diving in the Galapagos was spectacular but we were in now way prepared for how amazing snorkelling would be. Sharks, turtles, rays were all common place on each snorkel. What sets snorkelling in the Galapagos aside from any where else in the world is the ability to watch marine iguanas cling to volcanic rocks under water and chomp away at the algae, to have a penguin swim along side you at the equator, to watch a cormorant dive like a rocket from the water surface and all of this while seeing puffer fish, octopus and even a sea horse! But what makes the Galapagos so fascinating is how there seems to be no clear dividing line between sea and land. Many of the land reptiles and birds also spend much of their time in the algae rich waters. Eagle eyed blue footed boobies nose dive from huge heights into the waters below. Marine Iguanas lounge around in the mid morning after having an early morning dive in the waters, searching for food.

In this post we will focus on the sea birds; penguins, pelicans, boobies, frigates and cormorants.

blue footed boobies

Red_Footed_Boobie Red_Footed_Boobie_1Penguins Penguin Penguin_3 Penguin_2 Nazca_BoobiesNazca_Boobie Frigate Frigate_2 Female frigate cormorant Cormorant_2 Chick boobie chickblue footed boobie_1boobie in flight

 

 

 

Isla Galápagos Part II

Sea_Lion_04

Sailing for eight days was obviously going to be an incredible experience, especially aboard such a beautiful schooner, but we had no idea just how fascinating being on, and in the water would be. As we sailed along we were treated to the sights of dolphins, whales and lots of tuna jumping out of the water.

Dolphin_Pod_01 Dolphin_Pod_03 Dolphin_Pod_02

We also saw huge schools of Mola Mola (ocean sun fish)  jumping clear out of the water. This was a new experience for us and at times the ocean looked like it was swarming with small sharks as their dorsal fin protruded the surface. When they jumped they were gone in a flash and this is the only photograph we managed to take which captured it.

Sun_Fish

We had expected the marine life to be spectacular so we factored in time for scuba diving beforehand and went to the beautiful dive sites of Enderby and Champion at Floreana island. Visibility wasn’t amazing but with so many currents whirling around that was to be expected. Galapagos sharks, although described as curious, thankfully didn’t pay too much attention too us and more often then not, swam away as we approached. We were blown away by the numbers of fish, rays, turtles and sharks. The most fun and impressive of all were the beautiful sea lions that would jump in to play when we snorkelled, swimming right up to and around us, like puppies! (more to come on that in part III!) Here are a few photos of these beautiful creatures taken from the land.

Sea_Lion_01Sea_Lion_Baby_01Sea_Lion_05Sea_Lion_02Sea_Lion_06

 

 

All Images © Wonky Eye 2014

To see more of Andy’s Photography and Graphic Design Work please visit www.behance.net/greavsie

 

 

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