Self-Portrait


This is more than a little bit outside my comfort zone: It's really very rare that I post photographs of myself anywhere online. I've been half-wanting and half-afraid to post this for a while now though, and the indecision is starting to seriously frustrate me. Ultimately, because I like to think of this space as a personal account of all the work I do, and because I want to try this project and more self-portrait-ish projects when I have more time, I've decided to go ahead and post it. So, tentatively... here's a (rotoscoped) portrait of myself. Click through to see the original photograph. Consider yourself warned. 





1916 Easter Rising


I'm a little bit late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! In Ireland, Easter is significant both religiously and politically. I'm not going to go into detail (knock yourself out on the 1916 Easter Rising page on Wikipedia if you feel that way inclined), but I thought it would be an appropriate time to share this still video project.

You might remember last October I shared the colorization project above. Well, at the beginning of this semester we were asked to add movement to those photographs. So I came back to this one, separated out all the different layers within it, and added a bit of camera movement. I'm pretty happy with the end result!


Colourisation



I'm back in college! This is one of the first assignments of the year; to colourise a black and white photograph that has something to do with the 1916 Easter Rising. The photo I chose was taken in 1915, in Cork City. It's of a group of the Irish Volunteers, including my great-grandfather, Sean Scanlan (second from the right in the back row). Click through to see the original photograph and my progress with it.



The picture when I found it was in a pretty bad way; there were fingerprints, tears, scratches, and splattering all over it. So the first step in the process was trying to repair as much of it as I could. After some thought, I decided to crop and straighten it, then used the spot healing tools and adjustment layers to make further repairs.



Next up: masking everything out. Using garishly obvious colours to keep things separate I selected various parts of the image according to what colour I wanted them to be in the final version. So all the green uniforms fell under one mask, all the pale faces fell under another, and so on until everything in the image was some form of violent hue.


Once everything was selected, it was a case of tweaking the colours, and making overall adjustments to the image. Using all the reference I could find from the time and from uniforms and things that have survived, I tweaked it until I was happy.


The White Lady of Kinsale


My latest Visual Communications assignment was based on the theme of Macabre Ireland. We were asked to go out and research a local myth or legend, and create a book cover for it using photography, collage, and photo-manipulation. I chose to base mine on the story of the White Lady of Kinsale.


The story goes something like this:

In the early 18th century, Charles Fort was governed by a man called Colonel Warrender. He had a beautiful daughter, named Wilful, who fell in love with a man called Trevor Ashurst, an officer stationed at the fort. On the night of their wedding, Wilful and Trevor took a walk along the battlements. Wilful noticed a crop of flowers growing on the rocks at the base of the fort and set her heart of having them. Trevor, eager to please his new wife, promised to fetch the flowers for her, and sent her home to wait for his return. 

Once Wilful had left, Trevor turned to the nearest sentry on duty and asked that he retrieve the flowers instead. The sentry agreed, on the condition that Trevor take his place in the sentry box. The two men switched uniforms and the sentry set off to fetch the flowers. Trevor promptly fell asleep in the sentry box.



Colonel Warrender, Wilful's father, was known to be a strict disciplinarian. Upon discovering the sentry asleep at his post, the Colonel immediately shot him through the heart. After the shot was fired, the colonel examined the body and discovered that he had just killed his daughter's husband.

When Wilful heard the gunshot, she ran to the battlements to investigate. She was so distraught by the sight of her father holding the dead body of her husband that she immediately ran to the edge, and threw herself from the fort and into the waves below. 

To this day, the ghost of Wilful Warrender is said to wander the battlements of Charles Fort, still wearing her wedding dress. 



I ended up making two trips to Charles Fort, in Kinsale, over the past month or so to do research and to gather photographs. On the second occasion, I brought my dear friend Emily with me, who very kindly wore a white sun-dress and posed as Wilful for me, despite the freezing damp and bitterly cold weather. I'm forever grateful to her! The top image is the final book cover that I came up with, and the rest are a few of the photographs I took in their original state.