The chief inadequacy amongst my many photographic skills is the portrait. In fact I don’t think of them as portraits, but the more prosaic “pictures of people”. I really struggle with them, with imposing on people, especially when I know that it’ll usually be a waste of their time. So I try to grab snapshots unobtrusively where possible, and that’s when I remember. I have had to learn that people are mostly interested in pictures of people. And then I cheat in making them look better by using black and white. I’ve read a comment by a photographer I can’t find, that colour photography shows you the picture of their clothes, black and white shows you the colour of their soul. Take that for whatever it’s worth being repeated by an atheist.
Here are some of my favourite photos of swimming people from 2012. Apologies to all the important people, friends and family, in my life who aren’t here. And bigger apologies to those who are.
Alan Clack, aka the George Clooney of open water swimming. I actually took this on my phone, hence the slightly grainy look (which is not deliberate).
Stephen Redmond signing my book after returning from his final triumphant Ocean’s Seven swim in Japan.
Billy Kehoe, President of the Newtown and Guillamenes swimming club. Seventy five years swimming there and a gentleman.
English Channel soloists Craig Morrison (left) and Rob The Bull Bohane (right). Craig set a new club record for the English Channel. And then Rob set a newer club record. It’s worthwhile visualising the pair drinking champagne from a bucket on Sandycove Island one autumn Friday night at twilight… in a storm. The bottle was in the bucket.
At nine feet tall, English Channel soloist Liam Maher is twice the height of the average four and a half foot tall French person, Sylvain Estadieu, the Flying Frenchman excepted. Sylvain is a strangely small four feet high but with a wingspan of nine feet.
Yours truly at Coumshingaun. How arrogant is that? I’m trying to overcome self-consciousness only exacerbated by this photo. This may not be the image to do it with. Photo taken by Dee.
She’ll kill me for this. Irish Queen of the Sea, Lisa Cummins, visiting the spot where she tumble-turned off France after her first lap of the Channel.
English Channel Soloist and King of Cold Water Finbarr Hedderman hides his happy face. He had just recently lost his flowing locks. Micro-seconds after this was taken, I sure was subject to the usual Corkonian abuse.
Channel swimmers Rob Bohane (right), Ciaran Byrne (left), and myself (centre), after a training swim in Dover.
Owen O’Keefe Maybe Lisa actually took this photo with my camera? I finally remember, it was Super Crewman Kieran O’Connor! The Fermoy Fish did well. Only after you’ve struggled out of the water up Dover’s almost-lethal shingle can you appreciate its difficulty.
Sandycove island Club Chairwoman Liz Buckley (no relation, fake half-sister) is mammy to us all, while Club Secretary Ned Denison downs a quick swig of gripe-water. Not at all like the Soviet Politburo. At all.
I said on the day it was the best picnic ever. Cap Gris Nez. This was definitely better in colour, as was the day. Left to right: Liam Maher, Rob Bohane, Lisa Cummins, Paraic Casey, Riana Parsons, Catherine Walsh, Craig Morrison.
I need to swim now.
7 thoughts on “Swimming 2012, continuing the pictorial tour – faces of 2012”
Very nice photographs, Donal. I doubt I took that picture in Dover Harbour though, I believe I was in Ireland at the time…
Continued great stuff, Donal.
Making you famous!
I’d forgotten that I was actually in Dover when you weren’t there. Probably Lisa took it so, but I don’t recall.
Loving your pictures Donal, they are really good, you have a good eye and you frame things well. As for inadequacies, well everyone is a bit stronger in some areas than others but I think your portraits are great, especially love the last one here
Thanks Clare, yeah the last is my favourite too. But I am aided by the significant power of post-processing to create the frames and adjust the contrasts and sharpness!
Like the rest of us!:)I always have to straighten things at least because crooked photos drive me nuts and I sometimes do a bit of messing with the colour, brightness and contrast to try and get right what I got wrong in the taking. It’s all a part of the process these days and anyway editing is down to having a good eye too. Well done.