A New Start (And farewell to an old friend)
I want to take a little break from the normal photographic topics for today and relay a personal story. This only has a tenuous link to photography, so please excuse the indulgence, but it's worth a read in my opinion.
Last week my wife and I had to move from our home of many years. It had been a move that had been a few months coming, but nonetheless it was a stressful time, especially as it was not a move made out of choice. We lived in rented accommodation here in the suburbs of Dublin and a while ago the owners of our apartment had gone into receivership. For a while we were worried, but then nothing happened so we started to forget about it, until we got the notice to say that our apartment was being sold and the tenancy was being ended. To make matters worse, the rental market in Dublin is extremely stressed right now, so finding a new place was difficult to say the least.
While our old apartment wasn't perfect, it was our home. I have many memories of it and in hindsight, we were very fortunate to have lived there. When I think of this blog, and my journey into more serious photography and photo blogging, It was a constant source of inspiration to me. The apartment was on an east west line and it was on the top floors with great views. In the morning I would be greeted by the sunrise in my home office, and in the evenings we would have glorious sunsets over the city. I would often race in to grab my camera as the sun was setting and the sky would turn a fiery red.
Some of the amazing skies I've taken from my windows over the years (above)
I've shot many test shots from my old balcony and in a particularly harsh winter I remember getting some beautiful shots of snow falling in the fields out the back and on the houses out the front. I've shot roadworks at night and the moon and stars rising over the skies of our home. I wrote my first published book there and I spent many hours and late nights working on various design and web projects.
I proposed to my wife in that apartment. I had been thinking about how to propose for some time, but in the end it happened spontaneously. One night after she had been away for work and returned home, and I couldn't bear being apart any more, I said to hell with trying to find the right time and place so I proposed. I didn't even have a ring so I made one out of an old cable tie.
As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I could be bitter, or angry or sad, but I've exhausted all those emotions already. The whole world has suffered from property and financial market related calamities, and in the grand scheme of things our experience and upset was relatively minor. It was frustrating and worrying for a while as we were beginning to think we wouldn't find anywhere. Dublin is experiencing a shortage of rental properties at the moment, pushing up both prices and demand. The experience of apartment hunting in these conditions is not a pleasant one. Many of the viewings are group viewings, where a bunch of people turn up to look at a place at the same time, many are in similar situations. Everyone then scrambles to either get the first bid in or convince the agent that they're the best prospective Tennant. There isn't really any rhyme or reason to the process, with some setting viewers in a bidding war against each other and others seemingly picking at random. Some even want your personal and financial information even before coming to a viewing.
In the end we found a place and as I said, our situation was mild compared to some of the stories out there. There are tales of whole families being made homeless as properties are taken off the market only to be put back up for rent at significantly jacked up prices. Others have had their rents increased multiple times and been forced to leave. There are news reports of families being made homeless, and people living in hotels because they can't get accommodation. The situation is pretty serious, so we were very lucky.
Rather than focus on endings and past memories, I'm hoping to think of this as a new start. I've been thinking about things for the last little while, especially about my photography and my site. I'm still walking the line between design and photography and lately I've been wanting to cross it into photography properly, but I've lacked direction. The past few weeks have helped me renew my enthusiasm, and have helped me look at what I want to do in a new light.
I'm channeling the stress and frustration of the past few months into optimism and focus. I love writing and I love photography and blogging, so I'm going to look at new ways to pursue that, and to make this blog and site something special. I have some other sites too that I've been sort of half developing, but I'm going to shut them down and re-direct them here. I had been seeing this site as a way to drive traffic and interest to my photography business, but now I'm going to make this site the goal rather than just a means to an end. You may start to see some changes over the next little while as I put my plan into action, with more and varied content. I'm even looking at changing the name to something a little more catchy and specific (rather than being personally focused) but I'm still pondering hat one. I'm also planning big things for my Streets of Dublin site too. I'll soon have prints available for sale and I'm planning a full website for that, instead of just the tumblr blog (which I'll keep going)
As I think about It now I'm quite excited about the possibilities. So as I bid an old friend farewell, and we start anew it's time to look forward from now on rather than back. While we will undoubtedly miss our old place, it was after all just a place. Not to sound to cliched, but home really is where the heart is.