I have to admit the colour green is generally not a favourite of mine, except for nature, grass, trees etc. Its my mum’s favourite though. Memories of Dame Maggie Smith in the film Gosford Park with her unscripted ” Difficult colour green…. very tricky.” Well as it is St Patrick’s Day today I’ve complied 12 green images I’ve shot over the years.
Despite spending so much of my life travelling on the London underground I never been that fond of Car parks especially underground. Car parks are mostly dreary, dark and uninspiring, but very occasionally one catches my eye. Here’s a recent series .
Back in 2004 I called up art directer Joanna Wenley at the London advertising agency Boase Massimi Pollitt (BMP) who replied ‘Ah yes Kelvin, you were my dead body’! After a spit second of hesitation I then recalled my doomed ‘car crash ‘ modelling career back in 1986 whilst assisting John Claridge at a secret location. He was commissioned by Joanna and the brilliant Frank Budgen to photograph Derbyshire County Council’s anti drink drive campaign during the Christmas period. John rewarded my corpse like modelling with a not to be sniffed at 50 quid. I came across these ads recently while reading Dave Dye’s excellent nostalgic blog ‘Stuff From the loft’ https://davedye.com/
Drive safely this Christmas. Photography by John Claridge
There were forms of cricket played in Ireland as early as the 1600’s with stool ball and other stick ‘n ball games emerging. In the 1730’s Charles and Lord John Sackville played cricket in the Phoenix park but the first recognised match was the Garrison (British army officers) verses an all Ireland team (Irish aristocracy ) in 1792 playing annually. Cricket was and still is the game of the British Empire cementing the ties of the colonies. Although Rugby spread to other countries such as South Africa, Australia, NZ , cricket spread to India largely due to their climate. Carlow CC formed in 1830 as well as Wicklow. The Phoenix which is the longest surviving club formed in 1834. Trinity College in 1835 and Royal school of Armagh 1854. The biggest and most successful sporting celebrity in England in the late 19th century was WC Grace who played regularly at Trinity College grounds. A game that was associated with gentry and the elite quickly became a game of the people, played by all classes across Ireland in the late 1800’s. It was the most popular sport in Ireland. Cricket clubs formed in every county. Even the Irish republicans were playing the most Englishness of games. It was reported that the indigenous game of Hurling was a problem because it was ‘seen as barbaric’ causing excitement thus leading to violence, whereas cricket was seen as disciplined with organisation.
The game went into decline towards the end of the 19th century, a victim of politics and class, as the growth of Gaelic Games became a rallying point for the disaffected and disenfranchised working-class tenants of Ireland against their upper-class, cricket-playing, landlords. Although the game of cricket itself was not anathema to the downtrodden, its affiliation to England was.
Although the game continued in the north of the country and in the heartlands of central and northern Dublin, the GAA introduced the draconian Law 27 in 1902, banning GAA players from either participating or even watching the so-called English sports of football, rugby or cricket. The ban lasted for more than 70 years, ensuring the game became unknown in much of the country. internal issues within cricket didn’t help, such as the failure to organise a governing body which might have unified the sport and helped it maintain its popularity. Anybody who showed an interest in cricket was regarded as a traitor. The success of the Land Acts in reducing the land ownership is indicated by the fact that in 1870, only 3% of Irish farmers owned their own land while 97% were tenants. By 1929, this ratio had been reversed with 97.4% of farmers holding their farms in freehold. So as a result of this (in rural areas) the large estates that were used as cricket pitches were now owned by the tenant farmers who were not interested in giving or letting the land as cricket pitches, as farming to feed themselves took priority .
The departure of the British in 1922 from the new Free State also contributed towards the game losing further ground, while in the north of the country it strengthened where ties to Britain remained strong.
It took until 1923 to attempt the formation of the Irish Cricket Union with a brief to organise the national squad, arranging fixtures against the Scots and the English MCC, with occasional visits by English counties and test teams. But due to internal politics the Irish Cricket Union wasn’t officially formed until 2001 which became Cricket Ireland.
The Irish Cricket team went on to beat the West Indies in 2004 and went on to beat Bangladesh and Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup. Followed by a win over England in the same competition in 2011. Cricket in schools in Ireland is gradually increasing with girls as well as the boys. Women’s cricket has had its own success which I’ll be featuring next season.
As a footnote….. In 1740 during the mid Georgian period , George Smith the leaseholder of the Artillery ground ( London’s main cricket venue ) who was also the landlord of the Pied Horse Pub. To gain access to the ground the spectators had to pass through the pub, so he was able to charge them an entrance fee as well as drink! He then also bought in Hurling teams which although was a success , Hurling didn’t ‘catch on’ in UK. Shame though.
A major part of this project is to shoot a variety of cricket teams in a proud gladiatorial style. Having shot numerous groups in this style over the years. It’s always a challenge to get everyone looking ‘right’ in limited time as the cricketers had often finished their match with food, drink and a change of clothes being their main concern. Invariably a few have either been blinking, laughing and smiling or looking in the wrong direction. I have been shooting a variety of positions along with variations of holding different items of equipment. This often creates tough decision making when editing, for example the cricketer in the foreground might look perfect but the one to the right’s bat would be at another preferred angle or another cricketer has moved resulting in him being obscured. Also when shooting, consideration is given with the changing light with cloud and sky variations. It’s very much ‘work in progress’ as I have many more team set ups to achieve next season such as women, male and female juniors with more emphasis on arranging the full team (as you can see only 9 in some) and wardrobe (no shorts!).
The images below are of The Theatrical Cavaliers at the St Columba’s school.
Set at the foothills of the Dublin mountains. Its has the oldest original pavilion in the country. Inside has a list of all school teams dating back as far as 1850 to the present day.
Next week Part 3 – Cricket Portraits.
During this summer I’ve been shooting a personal project ‘Irish cricket’ which has often been dismissed over the years as a colonial sport in Ireland. Overshadowed by the more popular Hurling, Gaelic football, Association football (often known as Soccer so as not confuse with Gaelic football) and Rugby. Cricket was never my sport but visually it was what attracted me to this ongoing project. The helmet, the pads, bat and ball, stumps/bail and of course the stylish ‘Cricket whites’. I have been compelled to create ‘set up’ team portraits as well as individual ones. With the help and co operation of Merrion and St Columbas in Dublin and numerous visiting teams.
The Theatrical Cavaliers Cricket club
Merrion CCThe Theatrical Cavaliers CC at St Columba’s Cricket Ground.
Fascinated by the behind the scenes at the matches in and around the pavilion, I shot documentary style images of the cricketers especially the batsmen, (I will be shooting women’s cricket next season) who are waiting in turn to perform. Also the scorers, friends and family watching. Pets included. I didn’t want to shoot as a sports photographer with the usual action shots which have been done so well. The history is interesting which I’ll feature in the next post. With the increased presence of multiculturalism, the impact of South Asian communities has enriched Irish cricket and has contributed to a revival of the sport. Its rarely been seen on Irish television nor would you see a village green match or hear the equivalent of John Arlott (BBC tv/radio) or the wonderful GAA RTÉ commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. Cricket in Ireland is organised on an all-Ireland basis. Following the team’s success in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the sport’s popularity increased. The country was, until 2017, an associate member of the International Cricket Council and played in tournaments like the World Cricket League and ICC Intercontinental Cup, which are qualifying rounds for associate teams for the Cricket World Cup and ICC World Twenty20. Ireland qualified for the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, the 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2010 ICC World Twenty20. In the 2011 World Cup, they beat England in the group matches. This major upset caused a wave of nationalistic pride resulting in the newspaper headline ‘England toasted by Johnston, Mooney and O’Brien’ which references these cricketers with their namesake, the name of a well known Bakery!
In 2017, domestic cricket in Ireland was recognised as first-class cricket for the first time. In recognition of their progress as a cricketing nation, Ireland were granted Full Member (and hence Test) status for the men’s national side. Ireland played their first men’s Test Match against Pakistan in May 2018, losing by 5 wickets. Ireland’s women cricket played a test match prior to full membership in 2000, coincidently also against Pakistan.Cricket Ireland announced the recipients of six part-time professional contracts for members of the senior women’s national team, in what is a landmark step forward for the game’s development. This year The mens test team played England at Lords. Despite a great start the experience of the home team proved too strong.
part 2 Next Week.
The Theatrical Cavaliers Cricket team at St Columba’s
Today on a Facebook page I was reminded of the Brooklands Museum in Surrey which I had visited a couple of years ago. An activity-filled heritage museum on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor- racing circuit – which went on to become the largest aircraft manufacturing centre in Europe. Despite the site’s pioneering role in aviation history – during the second world war and, later, when Concorde was part built here – the museum seems to fly under the radar of most tourists.
Brooklands was the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation and the site of many engineering and technological achievements throughout eight decades of the 20th century. The racing circuit was constructed by local landowner Hugh F. Locke King in 1907 and was the first purpose-built racing circuit in the world. Many records were set there. Many aviation firsts are also associated with Brooklands, which soon became one of Britain’s first aerodromes. It attracted many aviation pioneers prior to World War I, and was also a leading aircraft design and manufacturing centre in the 20th century, producing a remarkable total of some 18,600 new aircraft of nearly 260 types between 1908 and 1987 (see McSwein, D R).
The ‘Daily Mail Round Britain Air Race’ of 1911 started and finished at Brooklands, and both the event and the location later influenced the theme of the classic 1965 Twentieth Century Fox British film comedy ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines‘ (based at the fictitious but remarkably similar ‘Brookfield’). Flying training was an important function of the aerodrome both before World War I and between the wars. Visitors can see many displays and exhibits portraying the contribution made by Brooklands to the British aircraft industry in both world wars, and also in the post-war years with Vickers and later the British Aircraft Corporation and British Aerospace
The Grand Prix motor racing exhibition which features a Formula One simulator can also be seen. A major new visitor attraction, ‘The Concorde Experience’, opened in August 2006,centenary celebrations occurred in 2007 and a full-size modern working replica of Alliott Verdon Roe‘s 1908 ‘Avroplane’ was completed and unveiled on 7 June 2008.
As well an exhibition of aircraft, racing cars, motor bikes, vintage cars there is also a bus museum . Next to Brooklands is Mercedes Benz World which is also worth a visit