While many photographers have been struggling with the lockdown in major cities, others have used it as an opportunity.
This year the streets of Dublin have been emptier than ever before. With restaurants and shops opening and closing it’s been an odd time for the usually busy city.
However there have been some people making the most of a negative situation. Dublin’s photographers have been out and about trying to get the perfect photo since the streets emptied.
I spoke with one photographer who managed to capture the lives and the stories of the people during the pandemic. The interview began coincidently with part-time photographer, Lukas O’Neill, telling me about his newly purchased lens.
“Nature photography and I just don’t work. If you’re taking landscape photos by the sea that’s great but if you’re just like ‘that’s a lovely flower’ I don’t know, for me that’s just really really boring. A lot of things happen around Thomas, Francis and Meath street, there’s a lot of interesting faces, a lot of unique individuals that you spot.”
“There’s some interesting lighting there as well. I always find just before the sun is setting there’s a nice mellow atmosphere there. Fortunately I’m always working at that time when I’m there.”
O’Neill who has been working throughout the pandemic told me about his experiences with street photography during Covid-19 times.
I asked O’Neill who focuses more on street photography of locals if he had any stories to share of the individuals he had met. One individual he recalls sticking out more than others to him.
“So I was walking around dame street and towards the liberties and Thomas street because that’s where I worked at the time, I noticed this individual sitting on a stool and he was drawing a building across the street, so he was like squatted on this stool in the corner of the road and all these people were walking past him. So I decided to take a photo of him.”
“I asked him if I could take a photo of him and he was like ‘yeah sure, it’s not going to end up in a newspaper is it?’ and I said, ‘no no, nothing like that’.” Lukas says with a laugh.
“Then I asked if I could follow him on Instagram and he followed me and I looked at his work and thought it was really impressive, and I found out he used to work for Pixar and he quit his job right before Covid stated. He’s from the United States, he worked in San Francisco and he quit his job to travel around Europe and sketch, then Covid happened and he thought it would be the perfect time to do it. He was travelling alone so he wouldn’t be putting anyone at risk.”
The artist can be found @khaase_travel on instagram, where his sketches of places around Europe can be found.
“He’s in Croatia at the moment. In Dublin I asked if he’s been talking to people and he said, ‘No you’re the first person to talk to me in the last 4 weeks’, that’s extremely lonely.”
Many photographers during this time while the cities closed, for Dublin city many shops and businesses were forced to close meaning less people have been out on the streets.
“When people were trying not to go out. Every photographer I bumped into, was struggling to find things to photograph. Because if you’re walking around Dublin you’re kind of looking for people doing interesting things, and no one was doing anything. Thomas street never really died, I remember walking down Thomas street a lot, before Covid, during C
ovid and now. It hasn’t changed really, it’s the same amount of people, same stalls everywhere.”
Lastly I asked O’Neill about his photo taking process.
“Every time I go out, I end up taking 300-400 photos and I get back home, and I only like two. 6 hours wasted, but sometimes they’re worth it.”
“I have this whole thing about seeing the world through the lens as well that’s a bit more interesting, cause like the field of view, you just see things you wouldn’t normally see. So I suppose that works as well when you’re taking photos of people on the street.”