The Irish Centre, Digbeth. Contact Sheets #2.

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I made sure that I focussed on a few people in particular, and learnt their stories. I am very pleased with how the portraits of William came out, both the full length shots and the closer head and shoulder photographs. I was really trying to channel the work of Spencer Murphy and Nadav Kander through these portraits, and I think the off camera gaze works very well in this instance, and allows the viewer to contemplate with him. There is a lot of wonder and many stories stored within his facial expression. He told me that his wife had been in hospital for over a year, and will continue to be there over the course of the next year. He seemed quietly concerned and slightly distraught, but keeping it together magically at the same time – the epitome, in my opinion, of being an older Irish man. I can imagine that he was the ‘breadwinner’ in his partnership, and so to be without another person to ‘provide’ for, I think he felt like he had slightly lost his way. Nevertheless, he was there with other people his age, and from the same community as him. I felt his struggle, and his coy, shy smile in the full length portrait shows his humanity, his humour and his ability to smile even through the darkest of days. He truly was a remarkable man, and honestly the best portrait sitter I have had the pleasure of meeting and photographing. The connection between him and I, between myself and the camera and between him and the camera was magical, and not something that I can imagine will happen again in a long time.

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