Nostalgia Strikes

I attended a table quiz in Donabate Golf Club recently in aid of the local boys school. We had a great night, but that’s a story for another time. We did the usual buying tickets etc. for spot prizes, and knew we were on to a winner when we were told that it was €5 for a strip (cue plenty of schoolboy style smutty laughs etc…!!) Anyway, I digress, and back on to the reason behind the blog. My better half won a spot prize of a tin of biscuits & voucher for a local restaurant. When we got home the biscuits had a short life, but, while doing my best imitation of sesame streets cookie monster I was suddenly hit with a blast of nostalgia. The reason ?? A chocolate ring biscuit with a pink jelly on top. I hadn’t seen one in years and all of a sudden I was transported back to my childhood and the Christmas tin of biscuits, including the elusive aforementioned chocolate ring with pink jelly. Being the youngest of 5 kids I rarely got my little hands on one, but there was always the second layer – perhaps I might get that one ?? Woe betide anyone who dared venture into the second level without all the first level being fully cleared – inevitably the second layer was broken into by my parents when we had been shipped off to bed, and we were left to finish the slightly soft mariettas or custard creams. And so began the year long wait for the next tin !! The biscuits in question could not be bought in their own packet, they only appeared in the large tins. I was surprised at how vivid my memories were (although I’m sure Arthur G. had a small bearing !!) but I could nearly smell the tree, which was mighty strange as it was an artificial tree, which, like my head, became threadbare with each passing year. I could certainly remember the box of Lemons Christmas Assortment, the Clarnico Iced Caramels which were pink & white lumps of icing & toffee which kept Dublin dentists in jobs for many a year, the paper decorations, Christmas dinner watching Top of the Pops, the plucked turkey hanging on the back of the bathroom door, always with a drop of blood on the beak – I could go on, a ton of memories came flooding back, all brought on by a biscuit !! If you have stuck with this till now, I will explain what this has to do with photography. This is what I want my photos to illicit, memories, brought on by looking at an image from a family wedding. A wave of nostalgia, a “do you remember” moment. This is also why I have, over the years, focused more & more on reportage photography, trying to capture a moment rather than a pose. Yes,  its nice to win competitions, its great to get recognition from your peers, all our egos can do with a bit of massaging every now & then, and I will continue to put my images forward each quarter for judging,  but, the biggest reward and the real test of a photograph, would be that in 20 or 30 years time, it can bring memories of a wedding day back to one of my clients. This is what I strive to achieve and this is what keeps each wedding fresh & unique.

Tom - Did I ever tell u that cheesecake evokes just as strong a sense of Christmas for me? Not an early Christmas. I was about 20 or 21. You, Robert and I had taken too much porter on board one particular Christmas eve (let’s face it, we did that most Christmas eves!). Having delighted my mother with our obligatory pre Christmas visit, we “took” Robert to Heuston to be sure got the last train home to Cork safely. It was at Heuston, with you, that Christmas, I tasted my first cheesecake. It was disgracefully bad…warm, gelatinous and insipid…..but strangely comforting at the same time. We had good laugh about it before heading home to be with our families. Ahhhhh thankfully cheesecake has improved a lot since then. But nothing replaces moments like that….except perhaps the pork we had in Santa Ponsa!!! How I wish you cud have “reportaged” that!!!

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