I photographed Real Madrid's pre-season training in Carton House, Co. Kildare, for Platinum One Group. This was a great experience, as I am a big soccer fan, and to see players like Raúl, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema play and train every day was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was pretty nervous when I had to set up and shoot a team photo- knowing that these players were worth 350 million euros- but it went well and even got most of them to smile. My favourite photographs however are the ones taken of Heinze and Pepe, when they found a Ronaldo pin-up calendar which a fan had for Ronaldo to sign.
In January 2009 I went to Palestine with journalist Tom Rowe. We were making a project about how Israel controls the drilling and supply of water within the West Bank. As part of this project, we went to a protest match in the border town of Ni'lin in the West Bank. The locals were protesting about the building of an illegal wall, the Israeli West Bank barrier, through their land. The protest march had been taking place for months- every Friday after morning prayers. There was great tension, as one week earlier 2 young stone-throwers were shot dead here by Israeli forces. You can see their graves in some of the photos. Tom and I had to walk through fields with a complete stranger to avoid an Israeli checkpoint, as the Israelis did not want Westerners in Ni'lin. After the march, many young Palestinian men traded stones from their sling-shots with tear-gas and then live rounds from the Israeli army. I photographed one man as he was carried away by others after he was shot in the leg. I was then hit by a tear gas canister. It hit the ground in front of me, and then bounced up at me and luckily hit the shoulder-strap of my camera bag. It went off in my face and I ran for cover where locals helped me by giving me perfume to inhale to stop the tears. It was the most unbelievable experience of my life- a complete rush of adrenaline, excitement, fear, and anger.
I travelled to Northern Thailand with Trócaire to work on their 2009 Lenten campaign, which focused on displacement. I had not known much about the plight of Burmese refugees before this, and was shocked by what I learned. The military dictatorship in Burma make it impossible for many minorities to live there, and tens of thousands have been fleeing across the border into Thailand over the past 50 years. Many Burmese refugees only realize the extent of the problems in Burma when they reach Thailand, as that is the first time they have access to free media and education.
Here is an Irish Times photo-slideshow.
Trócaire's website is www.trocaire.org
This was a photoshoot for Powers whiskey, for use in press ads and billboards. The brief from the advertising agency, McConnells, was for a natual look- and I think we achieved that. I used my cousin and three friends from my football team as the models, and used natural light as much as possible, just supplemented by reflectors and a little artificial light.
Art direction by Tom O'Haire and styled by Siobhan O'Donovan.