Monday, 16 July 2007

The 12th of July

I got to Rydalmere Street at 8 and got some photos of the lodge forming up and heading up the Donegall Road.


I also got shots of several more lodges and bands as they came up the road to the bridge.

I then went down to Sandy Row and got some shots of all the lodges forming up and heading to Clifton Street.

I took more photos of the main procession as it reached Barnett's Park and also photographed the crowds relaxing at the field. Later in the day I took more photos of the procession heading back to the city centre to get shots of some of the wild costumes of the bands and lodges.


The IIth Festival on Donegall Road.

I arrived at the Empire at 11 said hello and found out where the various events were taking place and then had a wander round looking at the various bonfire sites and photographing them before they were lit.


Bob Stoker gave me contact details for 2 of the lodges and a time to meet up with them the next morning at 7.45am as they set out for Sandy Row.

The bouncy castles and assault courses, the balloon man and the face painters had arrived on the Donegall Road. The DJ was set up and music was blasting out. The barbecue was being set up. I took photos of all the activity and spoke to a lot of people who were interested in when they could see the photos (first showing will be at "The Women's Centre" in September.

There was a display of Highland dancing followed by Bingo in the Empire and a Tea dance . I got some great photos of all the action plus a burger and drink from the barbecue and offers of lots of cups of tea.

The Whitburn Flute band arrived and did a quick few tunes down the Donegall road.

At about 6 I headed off to return at about 9 to photograph the bonfires. I met and photographed the people around the sites and waited for the bonfire at Roden Street to be lit.


Then I went round to the Ladybird site and as the fire started dying down I left.


Monday night 9th July at Village Focus Group Meeting

Margaret had invited me to this meeting which was to finalise details for the community festival being organised for the 11th and 14th of July.
I introduced myself and passed round the books of photographs from the first 2 exhibitions plus my business card. I met Davy McDonald, Gwen Kilpatrick, Noreen White, Pauline Magill and Anne Magill. They all gave me their phone numbers. i arranged to see them at the Empire at 11 on the 11th morning.

Anne is going to start writing up a list of groups in the area for me to photograph.

I also met Glen from GVRT and he is going to help me with the various sports groups he ls with.

I also met Keith ? and went round the corner to discuss which street I might photograph. One of them has his brother living in it and he may be able to explain to the other residents what I intend to do.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Posters and Meetings

I dropped off a copy of a small A4 poster about the photography in the Village at the Women's Centre. I met Hazel and she will try to get a list put together, after the July fortnight, of various groups who use the centre (and any others she knows of).

I also dropped off the poster to Tommy at GVRT and they are going to get them put up in suitable places for me and if possible enlarge them to A3 size. I also emailed a copy of the poster to GVRT.

Bob Stoker is going to get me details on the various orange lodges in the area so that I can try to get photos of each lodge on the twelfth (or at a later date) as the prepare for the big twelfth parade in Belfast.

I spoke to Tommy Wilson and I will be seeing him on next Monday afternoon.

Margaret has suggested I go to a meeting of the Village Focus Group on Monday night at 7 and gave me the number of Noreen White who is a member of the group and who could tell me more about the arrangements for the 11th and 14th festivals.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Starting photography - July 2007

I will start taking some photographs of the streets and buildings and general area. There is a street festival on the 11 and 14th of July which I will photograph. I will also be photographing the main Belfast procession on the 12th and at the field.

I will also speak to Tommy Wilson about the plan to photograph a whole street and all the people who live in it.

I will also start photographing groups in the community. I NEED NAMES AND CONTACT DETAILS.

Thank you to everyone I have met so far.

What do I look like. This is me at the first exhibition of photographs of "The Northern Family" in 2005.

This is the award I won last year. Peter Grugeon is a very famous photographer who donated this trophy at the time of the Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. His photographs of her were used for the postage stamps (which as you can see is used on my trophy) and also on many banknotes worldwide.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Walkabout with Tommy Morrow

Despite a wonky ankle Tommy walked around the area and spent 2 hours with me giving me info on what is happening in the area. He also introduced me at TREE (Michael and Kerry) and the offices of GVRT (Bob Stoker , Roy Wallace and Paula Bradshaw). He has also volunteered to photocopy and distribute a poster I give him explaining about the photo project, this will help those in the area to find out about the project.

When I originally met Tommy I had shown him a book made up of the photos from the first exhibition of "The Northern Family" this is one of the exhibition photos of primary school children in Belfast during the morning break out in the playground. I hope to produce a similar book from my photographs of the Village Community.

Girls Alone

Screenings of Photos every 4-6 weeks

Eleanor Jordan at the Womens Centre has offered to give a room for me to show photos once every 4-6 weeks. This will allow everyone to see some of the photographs I am taking as I go along.
The first showing will be in September which will include the photographs taken around the twelfth. I will post a few here in the next 2 weeks.

Initial Meeting

June 2007 - Eleanor Jordan of the Women's Centre intoduced me to Margaret Crouchman who offered to introduce me to some local people so that I could explain what I was intending to do and to find out if they thought it was a good idea. I met her, Tommy Morrow, Tommy Wilson and Joanne Smit. They were all very enthusiastic and so I started to work out what to do to start off the project.

At the time the BBC featured a photo of mine which I had just taken of the BEAT PARADE in Belfast City centre, this is the photo. It will be in another part of the project which will feature street parades, music and festivals in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Basic Info on what I intend to do.

Here is the info I sent out in my one and only email. I have decided to use this Blog to let everyone keep track of who I meet, what I intend to do and to post up some photos of the various elements of the project as I complete them.


The next steps are to (a) have a wander round the area with Tommy Morrow and (b) to meet with others to introduce myself, it was suggested that I could do this at a meeting of a focus group.

The photographs are to show ordinary life and it is not intended to do posed photographs however there may be times when my photographs may be of help to various organisations and I will of course make them available free of charge.

I also intend to record my conversations (with permission) to use these as a soundtrack for a possible multimedia exhibition.

It is my intention to photograph the community as a complete project, I mean by that I do not regard it as just a small part of "The Northern Family" project. I hope over time you will fully appreciate how serious I am about doing this to the very best of my abilities.

The project will cover the next 6- 8 months and I will be photographing as time is available.

The target of the project is to create a photographic exhibition and if possible a book and multimedia movie. The images may also appear in the newspapers and on the web to promote the exhibition and "The Northern Family" project. I get no money for any of this but I live in hope that eventually my project will be recognised as worthy of support. All expenses come straight out of my pocket. I will be trying to raise money from various sources for the ongoing expenses and the final exhibition, if you can pass my name on to anyone (or introduce me) who might help me I would be very grateful.

Here is a photo from the Junior Orange Lodge parade in Carrickfergus 2006. This will be in another part of the project which will feature street parades, music and festivals in Northern Ireland.


What to photograph?

People and more people. That is what a community is.


Each of the following could become a separate part in the overall project.

1. People who are the leaders of the various groups (social, sport, hobby etc.) in their club etc. Unposed.

2. People who are representative of the community. Old - young, male-female, Black- white. etc.

3. General photos of everyone going about their life in the area.

4. Events eg the area festival over the Twelfth, Christmas etc.

5. People in various clubs/groups including those at work in the area and people visited by helpers eg pensioners etc.

6. POSED group photos. I know I don't want to have posed photos but I reckon that in 10, 20, or 30 years if you (as a community) had a photograph of every group in the community it would be very valuable and would be a great memory jerker for those who like me are that bit older. So if you want me to do this please say so.

7. A STREET. I mentioned this when I was in. The idea is to start at one end of a street (or several) and photograph each house with the people standing/sitting outside. I could then link all the photos together in the computer to create one very very long photograph. I could also do this for a row of shops.

My BIG Idea. What about turning your streets into Belfast's biggest photographic gallery. Put the photographs everywhere (some could be 12' x8') and have an exhibition with a catalogue inviting everyone in Belfast to come and meet you. Photographs on gable walls, portraits in the windows of houses (same size as the window), photos in shops, photos on fences etc etc.

"The Northern Family" Project - The Big Picture

This is an ongoing project recording daily life in Northern Ireland. In time it will become more representative.

Folio I was exhibited at the Linen Hall library for the month of August 2006. They gave me the full gallery plus all the rest of the building to fill with the photographs.

Folio II was exhibited at the 2007 Balmoral Show in Belfast. This was outside along a 150' wall with 40 images of either 6x4' or 4x3'.

Here is a picture from the most recent exhibition which was also featured by the BBC. These 2 men are pig farmers I caught them having a chat in a pigpen at the Balmoral Agricultural show in Belfast in 2006. They told me this year that they reckon they are famous especially as this photograph was blown up to 6 feet by 4 feet.


This was featured on the BBC website :- Click here to see it

The next folio is an attempt to record a community in Belfast. Everyone from the very young to very old and in as many different social and work environments as possible. I also intend to photograph the streets, houses, shops and workplaces.


"The Northern Family" is a major project being undertaken by Louis McCullagh to record ordinary life in Belfast/N.Ireland. This will cover all aspects of life and work by all age groups/sections of the community.

The main impetus behind the project is the thought that whilst in previous decades many photographic essays of daily life and work were commissioned for magazines this is no longer the case with the dominance of TV and the Internet. There is no shortage of images of 'The Troubles in N.Ireland' but who is recording ordinary daily life in any sort of systematic or detailed way.

Louis' heroes are Willi Ronis, Robert Doisneau, Lewis Hine and August Sander who recorded the ordinary life of their respective countries' citizens with a special emphasis on street life and workers. August Sander went a bit further and photographed various groups of people brought together by work, art and communities.

The first part is the 3500+ images taken of Stranmillis Primary School from which 55 images were selected for the first exhibition. Louis has recorded not just the activities of the staff and children but the atmosphere and emotions of school life and indeed childhood itself.

The second part is 1700+ images of the Balmoral show taken in 2006 which formed a major exhibition at the 2007 show from 16-18 May07.

The method of working is to select a specific subject and then record all aspects related to that subject through the medium of photography. The photographs are all unposed and natural giving a genuinely authentic glimpse of ordinary life.

Each of the subjects can be regarded as a piece of a big jigsaw; over time these pieces together will form a clear picture of life in Northern Ireland today.

It is intended that the images recorded of the business/community life will give special attention to small businesses/services, particularly those that are in danger of disappearing. The subjects will include: work, play, sport, religion, particular locations, specific communities, music and events.

"The Northern Family" is therefore not a record of places but a record of how we live our daily lives.

This initial work in the project has not been funded by any organisation but it is hoped that in time the exhibition will encourage both public and private involvement. Many thanks are due to The Linenhall Library, British Telecom, Arts&Business and the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society for their support and encouragement of the 2 exhibitions of the project todate.

There are currently no funds for the "The Village" -A Community Portrait.