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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Some things I love.. #1

What's better than a market?

Believe it or not, the question is absolutely not rhetoric, neither sarcastic.
In fact, despite my love for brand new designers clothes, the feeling and the look they have when they are hanged inside of a bright lighted shop, the fancy smell around them and the fact that they look pretty much like beautiful pieces of art exposed in a gallery,
the fascination of a market will always beat that for me.

I don't even know why I do like markets so much.
Maybe because I've been brought up by a woman who has always been a market lover and who has found some of the most significant and spectacular pieces of her wardrobe by browsing around markets all around the world.
Maybe because of the relaxed feeling that a market has, very different from those fancy shops mentioned before. 
When you go to markets, there's no pressure for buying, there's not even a fixed price!
You are not expected to buy first but to find something that would really suit you, something that capable of catching your attention among thousands of other things that don't.
And then, when you find that very thing, if you do, it feels like it totally belong to you.
It feels like you had to be there in that place at that moment to find it and God knows how old it is and how many people have been feeling the same way about it before: captured.
That's why, after trying to put the price down, trying it and imagining yourself with it, acknowledging how perfect it would be with pretty much everything else you already have, falling in love, hating yourself and realising that this thing you are feeling so torn about it's going to become one of the statement pieces of your own wardrobe, you walk away with your plastic bag that has no logo on it and no fancy lace to close it, but whose content makes you the happiest and most excited ever.

People makes a big fuss about luxury retail and the whole shopping experience thing that people are supposed to be given when they pay so much money for clothes.
In my opinion, there's no shopping experience that outshines the one you'd have shopping in a vintage market.
Apart from the fact that it's a way more clever way of buying as you are not just picking up an orange something that looks so right now and that you are going to take out of the closet next year and think what the hell?! 
Au contrer! You are choosing pieces of clothing coming from various epochs, from the last seasons to the 40s, but also the 20s (if you are lucky enough..) and that you decide to make yours because they really represent you and suits you!
During the long, cold winter, overwhelmed by the new trends and the things you have to have, the new delicious options that the fashion industry has been packing and selling you in a way that they seem absolutely irresistible, you are probably going to forget about those pieces of clothing you bought in the market the previous season, but when you re-discover them and take them out from the closet you see them under a completely new light: they still shine! You still love them!
But most of all: you still wear them, proudly.

Another highlight of markets is that they offer you a chance to bring back an extra memory when travelling.
In fact, every country has their very own markets (well, almost every one) and even thought location and items can differ a lot, the feeling you get from discovering a new one somewhere else is the same: excitement, happiness, the awareness of having found a place where you'll be able to take some time off for yourself.
A market will always make you feel adventurous, ready to explore, but also patient and of course unique.

You kind of have to be in the mood for it, but if you are, then your game is on and you better tell your boyfriend to get a book and sit at the cafe as it's probably going to take a while.
In case you have a boyfriend that actually looks forward to follow you around a market, looking around and maybe taking pictures, then marry him.
Or even better, give him my number.

I've been going to markets and vintage markets for all my life, everywhere I've been from Africa to Europe to Asia and I loved Dublin markets in a way that I didn't think was possible.
For the ones of you that have been following me, you might have noticed how excited I used to get for the Flea Market, the biggest vintage market in town, every last Sunday of the month.
Now that I'm here in London, a whole new universe of opportunities is opening in front of me.
From West to East to North, the plan is to chase the most famous markets and discover new ones as well.

For now, I've just been browsing around the markets I already know, some of which are absolutely magical places that give me different feelings and make me discover something new every time I go there.
At the same time though, it feels like home to go back and walk on that same road once again.
Portobello, which is now about 15 minutes away from home is still one of my very favourite ones.
I would never miss a chance to go there and I've spotted my favourite walk to get there, throughout Holland park and on the right, passing in front Valentina, an Italian delicatessen shop that I have the feeling I'll visit just as much as the actual market in the future.
Maybe even more…

But what's the most exciting thing about London is the fact that there's so much of everything that you'll probably hardly ever finish to discover something new.
Last week, for example, after attending an interview close to Farringdon, I took a walk through Barbican toward Liverpool Street where I then caught the tube and on my way there I've found a place that opened my eyes (and my nose thanks to the lovely smell) on London markets.

That street is called Whitecross Street and apparently even on a random Tuesday morning if you walked by you'd spot one of the most sensational food markets ever.
The colours of the veggies and the scents of the various cookings are just inebriating and you'll probably won't be able to choose what to have on the spot if you were really sure of what you wanted.
For once in my life, I thanked my food allergies for obliging me to chop at least some options out of the list.
Moroccan, Vietnamese, Spanish, French but also Italian (the real one…), salads, burritos and Mexican fusion, juicy burgers, wraps with pretty much everything, fruit…
I mean, it was amazing.
As I said, spotting the food market in Whitecross really made me reflect.
Vintage markets are amazing and they'll always be my favourite, but they are not the only markets and if I want to make it my mission to discover as many of them as possible I should really broaden my orisons and start including other types of markets than clothing ones.
Probably I haven't thought about it because it's very typical to find some food even inside of vintage markets. 
We all know that shopping is to be considered among your cardio routine activities and that of course makes people hungry!
Plus, shopping for amazing unique pieces you love so much (just saying…) makes people happy!
And happy usually means keen for food, in order to be even happier

Sounds almost too amazing?! 
I told you!

I actually hope to have persuaded you enough to make you feel like trying the markets of your own country and the countries you'll visit as well.
Trust me, there's very few better ways to feel like getting to know a place that going around a market, eating some typical food and looking at the people around…
Let me know your experiences at the market and your thoughts about it!

And of course, stay tuned!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

From the green to the smoke...

Hello everyone!!

I know I know, another long silence during which I've left all the readers of my beloved blog wondering where (the hell) I've been and what (the hell) I've been doing.

Well, now it's time to uncover all the cards and reveal you the biggest surprise I've surprisingly be able to keep for myself until now!
In fact, I no longer live in Dublin…
Despite that made me suffer very much, since the beginning of my last year of college I knew that at the end of it I would have needed a change.
Plus, despite having fell in love with Dublin which became my home and which will always be a pace where I'll be looking forward to go back to,
it's still me here and the ones of you who have been following the blog know how I just cannot stay in the same place for a long time…

So here I am: in London! :) 
I moved here at the beginning of June as I got a period of work experience in Drapers, a wonderful magazine where I sat alongside the Features and Special Reports editor contributing to some of the features published.

 James, my boss, and the whole team made me feel so welcomed that i wish I could just go there everyday, despite the internship being over already (but that's another story…).

What I haven't told you is that I had been here earlier in May with dad house hunting as after getting the internship I realised that time just got extremely tight!
After two pretty traumatising day being brought around looking at horrendous studio apartments and being shout from my dad that "I was never going to live in such a place but most of all he was surely not going to pay for it…" we were lucky enough to find a place that satisfied him and myself of course and that is now my very own studio apartment!

The area is lovely, just two minutes away from the tube and 10 minutes walk from one of my favourite places in London: Notting Hill, where  just go around browsing and thinking every time I can.

Also, Kensington gardens is literally two minutes away, which comes pretty handy considering that I moved here in the summer and that there's nothing as gorgeous and refreshing that a huge park in London…

I must say: 
I miss my friends in Dublin so much, especially the person I've been living with for the past none months, with whom I've spent endless nights chatting in the kitchen until we got to the point where we didn't even want to look at the watch anymore knowing that we both has class in the morning. My girl, my smoke buddy (still need to find one here!) and my very very good friend Matea, who thank God has already booked a flight to come and visit me in the big smoke.

Despite that: life here has been so good so far that I am almost shocked.
First of all, the internship brought me a new friend, another amazing woman that caught my attention since the very first moment.
You know the kind of person that has that sort of aura around her? 
And she is lovely as well…
Plus, she is a Londoner and that is something I am definitely going to remember the next time I get lost in central and I end up wondering around Soho for about one hour before to find Oxford Street (no comment…).

On the day of my birthday, drinks were poured and roses were sent along with some lovely cards.
When all the wishes came from my friends all over the world, for the first time thinking of all those people I love and are far away didn't make me smile: it made me cry, a lot, while drinking my coffee at breakfast and that's why I really appreciated the presence of some amazing people on that day, among whom a bit of Irishness brought by one of my friend who comes from the little green island.

Another highlight of my staying has definitely been the fact that my neighbours, the people I live in the same house with are so, so nice.
And then, there's that little crazy person I've found in the basement (just kidding, she actually lives in the ground floor…) that provided extra fun, extra laugh, extra girls talk, even extra food shopping! All things that are absolutely essential in my life and even if she maybe doesn't know that (yet…) make me consider whoever I happen to do all of them very special!

So here I am, 
new city, new life, new job hopefully even if the hunting has been pretty messy so far being caught together with the settling down and the internship…
Of course I will keep you posted on all the news.

Before to come here I felt pretty calm and confident knowing that I would have already known my way around. 
But now, after just a couple of weeks living in London, I feel like this city is a whole new universe and that I am not going to be able to state that I know it for a very long time. 
There's much to scratch under the surface and that's going to be my mission from now on, in order to really connect with this place, or at least try.
Who knows, this could maybe end up being my place…

Of course, you'll be very well informed on any further discovery!
Right now I wan to leave you with this: a beautiful sunset on the Serpentine lake of Hyde Park.

Stay tuned!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Griffith College Creative Show 2014

Good morning everyone! 

I hope you are enjoying this bank holiday Monday to the fullest and that, wherever you are, you are able to enjoy a bit more sun than what we are having in Dublin today.
After so many nice days the dullness has came back and I feel like this Monday which should be dedicated to pic nics and games in the open air will look much more like a staying-at-home-with-a-blanket-and-a-cuppa one…

Anyways, for me it wouldn't make much of a difference as sunny or not I was planning this day to be dedicated to packing already.
And as many of you know very well, packing is not really the kind of activity you'd do outdoor.
Well, I could actually argue about this but I feel like this post is not the place and today it's not the time for that…

Today, I want to share with you the news I've been anticipating in the previous few posts I've written.
It's the reason why I was stuck on my chair a couple of days ago, in the venue of an exhibition in Griffith College.
Well, mystery revealed: I was invigilating in the room where my colleagues and I are exposing our final works before our graduation in the course of Journalism and Visual Media from Griffith College.

The exhibition, which we have been working at for the past months, was part of the Griffith College Creative Show, that major exhibition disposed all around the campus, in the rooms of the respective faculties and in the auditorium where the future photographers are exposing their work in a huge and pretty amazing exhibition.
There's video (my documentary, B-Breakers which I previously showed you, was selected to be among the ones showcased…), photographs, digital animations, fashion (some incredibly good pieces this year…) and of course multi media, our section which was with no doubts the most various one.

In fact, our course has been teaching us so many different skills and introducing us to so many possible carriers that in the end many of us went toward very different directions, despite all of us coming from the same faculty.
Aaron for example, with his photographic images, edited with Photoshop in order to communicate messages about media today and its controversies;
Sarah, with her gorgeous fashion illustrations, keeping the beauty and elegance of a fashion image but also reflecting about some of the biggest question marks regarding the values of this world (without being ignorant and judgmental as some other pretending-to-be "illustrator" has recently been…);
Lauren, with her absolutely gorgeous illustrations, painted with water colors, drawn and digitalized, representing the animals of the woods and one of which I personally bought and I cannot wait to see hanging in my room!

It has been a lot of work, reflecting on what we wanted to do and beginning to work on it, along with Aoife's advice as she has been there for us every step of the way.
But apart from thinking of a concept for our final project, develop it and put it into practice, in the end we actually had to hang it on the wall, which was surprisingly fun despite being more challenging than I thought.

Thank God, I chose to print my pictures on boards, which happened to be much lighter and easy to hang than heavy frames.

My exhibition was about something that I've been doing for the past three years non stop, one of my favorite things, one of the things I've been sharing with you the most: Backstage!
Having to produce an artist statement, I tried to make it as clear as possible about my intentions and what I wanted to show and communicate with my work.
In fact, differently from many of my colleagues who produced real pieces of art (Roya for example, with her incredible photographs of rotten food she picked up and kept for that, questioning capitalism and consumption), my work was much more voted to show a concept, to tell a bit about what I do and communicate a feeling of curiosity which in my opinion would have been able to suggest why I am so interested about this and why I do like it so much…

This was my artist statement, which appeared on one of my walls with a picture (so professional it almost felt unreal…):
"The backstage of a fashion shoot is where the interaction between the various members of the team happens.
The way in which each and every single one of them brings his very personal contribution highly influences the final result: backstage is where fashion really is.

Attending fashion shootings is something that has significantly characterised my college carrier, making me realise how complicated yet fascinating the work that happens behind the creation of a fashion image is.

By portraying two different backstage I would like to represent the factors that make this job thrilling but much more difficult than many might think.
By using black and white for the first backstage and colour in the second one I wanted to highlight the jump from one dimension to another.

My ultimate desire would be to communicate the feeling that comes from working in an industry where everything is about beauty, but also stimulate a reflection on how wrongly people often think about it, as they forget the actual message carried by the fashion image.
A message which was in many occasions able to influence an entire generation."

Before hanging the pictures, at the end of the semester, we had been speaking with Aoife about the kind of installation we would have had to have in order to showcase our work.
Some of us needed just a screen for a video (Christina for example, who decided to showcase her colourful and communicative shots about the reaction to the war of the Ukrainian community of Dublin…), some of us just a wall where to hang their pieces.
I needed both, as my work consisted in two sets of pictures and a video, each one representing a different backstage.

That's how I ended up with a lovely cubicle, which happened to be very handy as we used it to hide our bags but also other stuff that remained available after our hours of work setting up the venue.
The day of the inauguration of the entire Creative Show we were all much more excited than what we would have thought.
Everything looked so good and we were so proud of ourselves that the glass of cold Prosecco we drank at 4.30pm seemed to be very well deserved.

Personally, I was so happy for everyone and because some of my favourite people in the entire world were present on the day.
Nico, who came back to Dublin after two years and stayed the week end, providing after-exhibition fun and a lot of extra happiness, and blondness.
And of course Alex, who has been showcased in the Creative Show for the second year in a row (last year my documentary about him was selected to be showcased as well…).

This is definitely the best thing that I will always remember about Dublin: the wonderful people I was so blessed to meet in the past three years of my life.
Not only friends that will remain for life and whom I feel very attached to, but people who have the power of inspiring me and making me believe in talent and passion day by day.

As I told you, the photographs I exposed were taken in two different backstage which of course I've been telling you about already but whose official backstage photographs I haven't showed you yet as I was actually waiting for this moment.
The first backstage I exposed was the one of Alex and Caitriona's music video, show by Aidan Farrelly for the Red Queen Contest.

The second backstage was the one of the fabulous editorial shot by Nicky Johnston in Connemara with design from Linn Marie Karsler.

In both cases, choosing just three pictures from the whole series I had was probably the hardest challenge.
In the end, I was pretty sure about the ones I selected and I think in terms of colours and shapes they fit in together well enough.
The video I exposed was the backstage video I shot during Fashion Shed Int.'s official shooting and which I've showed you in a previous post.

This Final Show was not only a great opportunity to show to our dearest ones and everyone else what we have learnt and which identity we have developed during the course of the past three years, but also the last opportunity for us class mates, future colleagues and friends to share the same feelings about our journey and its end, which came so fast.
Now, despite the fact that everyone will go toward a different directions from the others, his very own direction, we will always share the memory of this great achievement and of our time spent together.
We have learnt a lot, we have changed and we have discovered some things about ourselves we wouldn't probably know by now if we didn't go throughout this process of self-discovery which took three years.

I will always remember this period of my life as one of the most important ones, no doubts.
Saying goodbye to go toward a new adventure is bitter sweet, my eyes are watering and I actually don't know if I should call this sadness or happiness.

Thank you to all the people who have thought me so much in the course of these wonderful three years together.
Good luck to all my friends and colleagues, some of the people I respect the most in the whole world.
But most of all, congratulations.