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A Different View

The difference between looking at something and actually seeing it

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s a thought that crosses my mind every time I see a group of tourists stopping in their tracks in the middle of town – does anyone actually look at anything anymore instead of simply photographing it and then never looking at it again?

Go into any Cathedral or historical edifice in the world and all you see are visitors with cameras and iPhones at the ready to snap everything that comes into sight – instead of actually looking at the attraction, letting it wash over you and recording the experience in your mind’s eye instead.

Take a quiet moment for reflection, read the brochure; stop, stand and look all around you – and then if you want to capture the moment for posterity, take out your camera and try to capture what you’ve felt in a visual format.

Then the photograph might mean something to you when you find it fifteen years later.

But most of the time it looks like a competition to see who can snap the subject the most, and from as many angles as possible before swiftly moving on to the next target and repeating the process over and over again.

It’s the same thing at concerts – as soon as the band’s big song comes on, it’s camera phones out, recording devices on and phone calls made to people who couldn’t be bothered to come to the gig so they can experience said big hit in glorious fuzziness.

If they wanted to hear the singer, they’d have bought tickets. Even if they wanted to hear the song, they’d play it on their home stereo rather than down a phone connection from a hall or a tent.

It wasn’t always that way, probably because we didn’t have too many cameras and no mobile phones – but it doesn’t mean we don’t have memories of cities visited, gigs witnessed, experiences enjoyed.

And even decades later, you can see them in your mind’s eye – whereas if you’d taken a photograph, you’d have been looking through a lens and now, given that your chances of finding said photograph are virtually nil, you’d remember little or nothing of it at all.

Sometimes it’s enough to enjoy the moment yourself and remember it in your own way, without a photographic or audio crutch to lean on.

It also makes the moment better for others; their view of the stage isn’t blocked by your camera held over your head, or their path isn’t blocked by forty tourists taking a photograph of a window.

There’s nothing wrong with capturing the moment – but first you should experience that moment, rather than approaching every Church like an adrenalin-fuelled Marine who will shoot anything on sight and ask questions as to what they shot much later.

What’s the point of coming home from your holidays with hundreds of digital images of things you cannot, for the life of you, remember?

We don’t want to be spoilsports or dissuade visitors from capturing the west’s beauty for posterity – but at least look at it first to see if you actually like it….and then shoot away to your heart’s content or at least until there’s no memory left on your phone.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Selfies mean autographs are now just a relic of the past

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When you look back through old photo albums, you realise what an occasion that family portrait used to be – best clothes, hair combed, standing to attention like soldiers off to war.

These days, we probably take more photographs in one week that our parents took in their entire lifetime, and so the sense of occasion or formality are no longer.

Now the trick is to capture those unguarded moments, where no one is posing for the picture but rather is caught unawares.

When we used to go to weddings in larger numbers, you’d find it was no longer enough to have an official photographer and videographer on hand to capture the unfolding now – now each table had a disposable camera to capture those accidental moments as well.

At least the wedding album is still a thing – even if, as ever before, its primary duty is as a door-stopper with the express purpose of gathering dust.

And the wedding video remains a great way of clearing the house of interminable guests; just stick it on and watch them reach for their coats as they suddenly ring for taxis.

Less so the days of everyone getting dressed up in best clothes again a few days after the Communion or Confirmation and going to a photography studio to pose beside the potted plant in front of the drop screen of big castle doors.

The upsurge in photography on foot of easy access has also seen another evolution – the celebrity autograph being usurped by the selfie.

There’s still a huge market for autographs of course, but it’s just no longer what young fans wait around stage doors or stadiums for – now it’s a pic on your phone with your favourite star.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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