Memories of Kilkenny

Reflection from Upper John Street, Kilkenny.

Reflection from Upper John Street, Kilkenny.

View south, down Upper John Street, Kilkenny.

Early morning view south, as seen from Kilkenny’s Upper John Street.

Door to a courtyard beer garden along Lower John Street, Kilkenny.

Door to a courtyard beer garden along Lower John Street, Kilkenny.

Cubism under a Chilly Sky

I noticed this cubist-inspired building facade this morning, while walking down Liffey Street in Dublin.

After the dazzling sunrise Thursday morning, a covering of clouds had rolled in.  This cover suspended the melting process, extending the pre-dawn frost into the morning.

I was scurrying along en route to an all-day seminar.  The topics being covered (leadership and change) are central to the paper I’m writing at the moment.  So I’d signed up to attend this event hosted by DIT’s Learning, Teaching, and Technology Centre to see how Irish folks talk about the topic and frame the issues.

On this particular morning the sidewalks — which the Irish refer to as footpaths — were still slick.  A thin layer of frozen mist remained.

This distracted me from capturing images for the first few blocks of my walk.

It wasn’t too long, however, before a facade that I’d never-before noticed captured my gaze.  I dug around for my camera and started to compose.  I was eager to show you this built example of cubism.

The Cublist Museum in Prague, a built example of cubist. Photo downloaded from Portal of Prague.

The Cublist Museum in Prague, a built example of cubist. The building is known as the House of the Black Madonna. Photo downloaded from Radio Prague website.

Unlike most styles of art, cubism never really flourished in architecture.  It’s rare to find built expressions of cubism most anywhere but Prague.  Portal of Prague explains, “Prague is the Mecca of Cubism lovers. This is not only because some of the Prague pre war art collectors were in favour of this style but mainly due to the fact that Prague is the only city with so many cubist buildings. The worlds unique buildings were build within four years from 1911 until the beginning of the First World War.”

I speak from experience when I say that the sky in Prague is often chilly.  I visited with a group of Hampton University students one chilly week in March several years ago.

Here in Dublin on this particular morning, the lights on this facade brought the building to life.  The cubist facade glowed warmly against the steel-grey sky.

The chilly sky actually helped me to see something I’d overlooked many times before.

Juxtaposed buildings.

Reflection of skyline in the Liffey River.

Dublin Sunrise

Here’s a photo of this morning’s amazing Dublin sky.

The best part?

The sky is this beautiful nearly every day!

Dublin sunrise reflection

Snapshots from a Saturday in Dublin

Reflections of old City Hall in shop windows along Dame Street (© Shannon Chance, August 2012).

Tall Ships along the River Liffey in Dublin (© Shannon Chance, August 2012).

Visiting artist Aga Szot at her exhibition “Punctuation.” One of Aga’s original paintings hangs in our home in Portsmouth.

BT2 storefront reflection (© Shannon Chance, August 2012).

Reflecting Trinity College

Reflection on Brass Sculpture at Trinity College. (Copyright Shannon Chance, March 2011)

What is it?

Can you tell what this is?  What clues does the image give you about life today in Dublin?

Dublin, Ireland. (Copyright Shannon Chance, March 2011)

Reflecting Dublin

Traveling with a professional photographer has its perks.  I get to use fabulous hand-me-down cameras and I have a most astute technical advisor on hand.

It’s got some drawbacks, too.  A few years back, I’d started to adopt Dave’s eyes and to automatically see the world through his frame of reference.  The problem was:  I found myself all too tempted to copycat his compelling visual language whenever I was behind a camera.  Most people would see that as a blessing, but we found we were competing for the same spot of ground everywhere we went.  There always seemed to be one most-logical place to stand to capture that perfect image and Dave got there first.

I’d have to find my own photographic niche. So I started capturing images of what lies beneath the surface. I became fascinated by the reflections that dance off metal, glass, and water.

In this pursuit, I’ve combed cities throughout the US and Europe in search of reflections that tell a story.  I seek to capture the essence of each city I visit and mark its place in time.

I hope that when we look back at these images in years to come, we’ll know intuitively “that was Madrid in the ’90s” or “Dublin in the early part of the new millennium.” We’ll be able to learn something of history, of the city, and of ourselves in the image’s details.

For me, this hobby never grows old.  Each shop window becomes a full-length motion picture, revealing to me layer upon layer of time and of social reality. Every puddle and each car fender provides a kaleidoscope of vibrant images waiting to be discovered.  In the blink of an eye or the subtle shift of the lens, a reflection can transform completely.

My camera captures what the eye sees but the mind generally ignores: the fleeting images that inform our understanding of the world without us even realizing they are there.

Below, I’ve posted the first of the Dublin Reflections I will share with you on this blog.  This particular image is quite straightforward.  I hope it will be very easy for you to untangle the layers, determine what it “is,” and decide for yourself what it means.  There are far more challenging visual puzzles to come….

I selected this particular reflection to share with you today because I think it does a nice job summing up my hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.  It was taken in Dublin in March 2011.

Cultivate Living and Learning (Copyright Shannon Chance, March 2011)