On Moore street of Dublin

Moore Street 1959Moore street is like a different country plunged into the middle of Dublin. You turn from O’Connell street, with its nice shops, clean pavement and English speech into the wilderness of foreign everything – faces, tongues, smells and looks. Markets are open, streets smell of fish, people are black or Asian, women are pretty and exotic, and the air is filled with a mixture of curry, baked bread and police sirens. Here, people actually look at you. I feel both in and out-of-place here with my oriental looks and western mentality. Funny, how quickly we forget what we look like to other people (irrespective of expensive phones, shoes and clothes).

This place is nothing like a French bakery you would imagine. It’s more of a shop selling bread with some tables inside. It’s warm here, the owner knows everyone and chats to everyone (female that is), the kitchen behind the window is open and smells travel in. Nothing of your clean normal restaurant. Through the window I see the whole bakery… Here is a guy decorating a cake with chocolate paste. He puts some of it in a cup and hands it to a girl with smiling dark eyes. She licks the spoon, happy, and stand next to him watching the work. It’s a picture from a grandmother’s kitchen. So informal, cosy, relaxed in that way bordering on familiarity. This is all a glimpse of real people living real life in a city of concrete, modern, unemotional Dublin.

After looking at the photo exhibitions (both in galleries and on the streets), I’m shocked by one thing – there are almost no portraits there. Very few of children, some old men but no women – a typical subject. One photographer shoots nudes that look like dead naked bodies thrown into the landscape; tall, blond, cold and asexual. Only one Spanish girl, Lucia, has images that breathe some female life. The two other photographers that stood out at the People’s Photo Exhibition on the rails of St. Stephen’s Green park, were Margaret Morrissey with her foggy landscapes and Gerard McGrath with the birds.

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