“The most savage of human kind are the most advanced” Bangambiki Habyarimana
What shocks you initially about a visit to the Nazi death camp in southern Poland is the banality of the place. A banality that belies its infamous place in history as the final resting place of 1.5 million murdered souls. A pool table flat landscape is punctured by rust-coloured brick buildings and a few solitary wooden sentry towers. An intermittent sunny sky adds to the ordinariness of the place. But nothing ordinary happened here. What is extraordinary about the Nazis’ “final solution” was the precision given to the planning, implementation and industrialisation of death. On a massive scale. Cold and concise thought went into the extermination of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and various religious and political communities the Nazis deemed unworthy of life. Or, indeed, dignity when living. One of the many times my blood ran cold, when visiting Auschwitz, was entering Block 11. Here prisoners were made to stand, four at a time, in a cell smaller than a telephone box – sometimes for weeks or months on end – in suffocating total darkness. There is no language to communicate the horror of block 11. Then came my visit to the gas chambers: Silence is the language of such places.
It took me a while to “process” my visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and even longer deciding if I should process my photography documenting my visit. I had posted a couple of shots on Facebook but quickly realised the platform was inappropriate and deleted them. I had also “processed” the shots from RAW files taken with my LGG4 mobile phone. I worked on the aesthetics of photography – cropping? Black and white? Or colour? Tints? Trying to prettify my images seemed sordid in the extreme. I stopped and considered the most appropriate way to bear silent witness to the victims of the holocaust. I now publish a selection of my photos below as I shot them. RAW. 16:9 format. No cropping. No retouching. No adulteration. Just observance.
We are living in dangerous times. Crypto-fascism is on the rise again. Trump and Brexit are manifestations of the banality and reemergence of unthinking thuggery. The possibility of today’s thuggery leading to the the death of innocent millions may seem far-fetched to many. Think again. “The people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are in danger of being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” Hermann Goering. Sound familiar?
Cinemagraphs are still photographs brought to “life”. The Dublin-based creative team of Trista Vincent and Declan Byrne have commissioned me to create a suite of images for their Car’n’Stuff campaign for Liberty Insurance Ireland. Lots of fun. More to come. Click on images to see the magic. Source: Sean Hayes’s Photography Portfolio – Cinemagraphs
Someone, somewhere stated that “Good is the enemy of great”. I’ve been fiddling with my new website for weeks trying to make peace between the two. A truce was called. Time to launch myself into my “second life”. Being an advertising art director for the last 25 years has been incredibly rewarding for me – but my real passion now is photography. When you are passionate about doing something, you tend to do it well, and it shows in the work. Hopefully, my passion for photography will, in time, shine through. If you get a moment, I would appreciate you visiting the site and rummaging around. Please feel free to suggest ideas and thoughts about the site and how I could make it better. Good enough may be the enemy of great, but the will to get better is your best weapon in the fight to do great work.
Link to site: http://seanhayesphotography.format.com
“In Irish mythology, Ériu was the goddess of ancient Ireland. I love shooting landscape in Ireland. The nuanced light combined with the etheric body of an ancient land almost guarantees interesting results. My series of images of this mysterious land are an attempt to capture the special ‘atmosphere’ of the topology rather than classic picture postcard photography. Hopefully I succeeded. All images shot with the LGG4 and edited exclusively with the Snapseed photo app.” – Sean Hayes.
Link to winners page: http://mobilephotoawards.com/mpa-photo-essay-winners/
What a nice weekend. thx you @reservoir_dan and @mobilephotoawards and the #mobilephotography community for reminding me why I love doing what I do. 3 Honourable mentions in the Black and White, Portraits and Photo Journalism categories. Congrats to all the winners and runner-ups.
Delighted to be among the honourable mentions in the black & white category of this year’s annual Mobile Photography Awards. Some great work here. What I like about B&W photography is that it strips back an image to its essentials. Texture, tonal contrast, shape, form and lighting are the building blocks of a photograph. Get all these attributes singing along in harmony and you could possibly end up with a great photo. B&W is the acid test of a photographer to create picture perfect images. Congrats to the winner, David Ingraham, and fellow runner-ups, who pass the test perfectly. A big shout-out to MPA founder (and talented mobile photographer in his own right), Daniel Berman, for his commitment and energy to make the MPA the success it has rightfully become since its inception in 2011. Mobile photography, and the very active talented community that make it so vibrant, is still in its infancy. Baby steps are turning into giant strides. Congrats to all involved.
Link to winning work: http://mobilephotoawards.com/black-white-winner-honorable-mentions-mpa-2015/
Just uploaded a series of shots from the concert to my music photography tumblr site. If you’re a fan, I suggest a visit: http://seanhayesmusicphotography.tumblr.com
I remember seeing Simple Minds straight off the boat from Scotland at the SFX theatre in Dublin circa 1979. Kerr seemed shy and retiring. Still hadn’t found his ebullient stage persona. Then followed them into superstardom with an amazing concert at the Phoenix Park Racecourse Dublin in ’83. Blew me away – best band of the day. And they had competition; U2, Eurythmics, Big Country, Steel Pulse. The concert sound mixers did a great job in retaining the musicality of the nascent stadium anthems off their New Gold Dream album. Sound was pure and nuanced. Caught them again at various venues in Paris and Brussels during the late 80s and 90s. They were awful supporting the Stones at Wechter Belgium 1998 (Nobody’s perfect:). Then back to Brussels in 2010 and again last Sunday night in Antwerp. Simple Minds are very much alive and kicking after more than 30 years of writing, recording and performing some of the best music in Rock ‘n’ Roll. You probably guessing I’m a huge fan. And you’d be right:)
If you would like to see more of my music photography work, please visit: http://seanhayesmusicphotography.tumblr.com
I was delighted to receive an invitation from Virgin Media to be the Instagram photographer for their ‘live feed’ from the V Festival music feast held in