New York St Patrick’s Day Parade 2014 in Retrospect

New York St Patty's Day Parade with Irish and American flags

New York St Patty’s Day Parade with Irish and American flags

Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone around the world today! This day last year I was in New York for St Patty’s Day as they call it over there. It was absolutely freezing. I could barely feel my fingers when using my camera that day! These are some of my favourite images, which I wanted to share in retrospect. That day I experienced one of the world’s largest and most famous parades.

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

By pure chance I met lots of Irish Americans including from the Donegal Association of New York, who had emigrated from small seaside townlands such as Kildoney in Donegal, only a few miles from my family farm in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Of course, in the typical Irish way…they knew my father! Like me, he’s a very friendly guy.

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a great St Patrick’s Day and if you’re in New York you might still be able to make it to see the parade in person. If not, you can always watch it in the comfort of your own home via links on the NBC New York website.

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

New York State Troopers

New York State Troopers

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from home, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association - some of them new my father of course!

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from my homeland in Ireland, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association – typically they new my father of course!

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer

“When Irish eyes are smiling!” as the song goes!

US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Knights of Columbus Piper I

Knights of Columbus Piper 

Knights of Columbus Piper II

Knights of Columbus Drummer

The NYPD who I had great craic with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

The NYPD who I had also had great “Craic” with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wonderful Co-Founding Editors Zoe Jewell & Tim Dickens, celebrating the holiday season and successes of their Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign

Brixton Blog & Brixton Bugle Party at Effra Social Club, Brixton

The Wonderful Co-Founding Editors Zoe Jewell & Tim Dickens, celebrating the holiday season and successes of their Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign

The Wonderful Co-Founding Editors Zoe Jewell & Tim Dickens, celebrating the holiday season and successes of their Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign

Just before i jetted off to Ireland for Christmas with family, covered in my last blog post, I went along to the Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle (our monthly local newspaper) Christma my local Effra Social Club, Brixton. It was great to catch up with Tim & Zoe again after I’d made their double portrait earlier in the year in support of their Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign for a new part-time news editor.

I met many lovely new people at the event and wanted to share this gallery so you can put faces to the names of some of Brixton’s solid gold local journalists. Their work really enriches the community of Brixton and further afield, with reporting on everything from Lambeth council and the police to arts and music. They are such an essential part of the cultural fabric on Brixton. Crowdfunders were also invited to pick up their perks from donating. A great night was had by all and I look forward to collaborating further with these lovely creative folk.

Crowdfunder and Lovely Brixton Local Gillian Gould picking up her reward of her very own Brixton Blog T-shirt

Crowdfunder and Lovely Brixton Local Gillian Gould picking up her reward of her very own Brixton Blog T-shirt

Eric The Fish Illustrator Pam Williams shows us her handiwork

Eric The Fish Illustrator Pam Williams shows us her handiwork

The Faces behind "Faces of Brixton" feature, Alex & Cat

The Faces behind “Faces of Brixton” feature, Alex & Cat

Felix Derosen, French born American Electronic Musician

Felix Derosen, French born American Electronic Musician

Surprise New Staff Member soon to start with Brixton Blog & Brixton Bugle

Surprise New Staff Member soon to start with Brixton Blog & Brixton Bugle

Delightful Arts & Culture co-Editors, young husband and wife team Barney & Ruth Evison

Delightful Arts & Culture co-Editors, young husband and wife team Barney & Ruth Evison

Music Reviewer Dan Kelly, Barney Evison & Keith Lewis, Deputy Editor, sporting his very fashionable Brixton Blog bag!

Music Reviewer Dan Kelly, Barney Evison & Keith Lewis, Deputy Editor, sporting his very fashionable Brixton Blog bag!

Wherever you are in the world….stay in touch with what’s happening on the Brixton Blog and in the Brixton Bugle!

Connect up directly to these wonderfully creative folk on their websites or Twitter as follows…@Zoe_Jewell@Tim_DickensPam Williams (Illustrator/Writer/Coach), Alex & Cat @ Brixton Faces, @BarneyEvison, Ruth Evison @MinimalismBlog, Daniel Kelly @DPAKelly, @KeithJohnLewis

The Wood Beneath the World, A Truly Magical Experience

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Exploring The Wood Beneath The World

Before Christmas I was lucky enough to visit my old neighbourhood of Leeds, Yorkshire, in the North of England and catch up with some of Leeds most creative folk. I popped into say hi to James Abbott-Donnelly and Laura Wellington, co-founders of creative and photographic space, Duke Studios. Then downstairs from them, the lovely folk at Colours May Vary, all at the wonderfully eclectic Munro House. The My Patch exhibition at CMV was brilliant, featuring a host of great designers connected to Yorkshire, most of which I know from my eight years living in Leeds. They included Jay Cover of Nous Vous, Nick Deakin, Lucy Ketchin, Dan Mather, Drew Millward and Peter Mitchell. You can have a retrospective look at or buy their prints in the CMV online shop.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Old Christmas – beautiful set design by Lord Whitney, The Wood Beneath The World

I was super excited to hear that our mutual friends, Lord Whitney (Art Director Duo Amy Lord and Rebekah Whitney) were putting on a fantastical immersive theatre show in the depths (The Crypt) of the epic Cuthbert Broderick designed Leeds Town Hall. This also happens to one of my favourite buildings in the world. I already happened to be joining some other lovely friends at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Leeds Festival Chorus in the Town Hall that evening so popped into Lord Whitney’s The Wood Beneath The World beforehand.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Mystery and Suspense – The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

It was a truly wonderful experience, full of intrigue, fantasy and suspense! Everyone was asked not to use their phones so we could fully envelope ourselves and our senses in this world. The set was created exceptionally well and the actors played their part perfectly. The Crypt at Leeds Town Hall, which used to be prison cells really complimented the ambience of Lord Whitney’s clever narrative. Locking the intimate party of guests in between jail gates as we journeyed deep into the bowels of the immense dark building, left us in suspense. One or two guests were syphoned off from the group which had knees trembling when they didn’t return.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

Soon, we were reunited and brought into a characterful room full of mystical items relating to research about the woods, folklore and much more. An old vintage formica phone and typewriter, pages of material about Celtic culture and history including Ogham stones. Coincidentally I went on a pilgrimage to find and experience the largest Ogham stone in Europe last August when road tripping with my brother around the West of Cork in my home country of Ireland. We were then armed with torches, brought into another room and encouraged to explore freely.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Celtic Ogham Stones and more – The Wood Beneath The World by Lord Whitney

Surrounded by magical trees and wandering paths, we winded through The Wood Beneath The World, punctuated by impromptu, often one to one performances by our guides. We went about discovering small rooms full of slightly eerie but charming suspenseful magic, lost in time, whilst admiring and inspecting items from a time gone by…an old text about Christmas, more information about the stars and a spellbinding display of the Milky Way. Our experience then ended with a performance by our two guides, where we felt their eyes glow in the dark, through such strong and yet light acting of their dreamy parts in this mystical world.

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Discovering the Wood Cabin in The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Discovering the Wood Cabin in The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

The Stars in our Galaxy – The Wood Beneath the World, by Lord Whitney

The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Our Milky Way Galaxy at Night – The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney

At the end I managed to catch up briefly with the lovely Amy Lord, one half of the super talented Lord Whitney. We hadn’t seen each other since the opening evening of their studios in Meanwood, Leeds just before I went off to travel the world for a year in 2011, after which I moved to London. Since then they have worked on numerous international projects in art direction, prop design and set design for the cream of the crop.

Amy Lord, Half of the Dynamic Creative Duo that is Lord Whitney - The Wood Beneath the World, immersive theatre by Lord Whitney at Leeds Town Hall, England, UK

Amy Lord, Half of the Dynamic Creative Duo that is Lord Whitney

Their rapidly growing client list includes Missoni, Hunger Magazine, Transport for London (TFL), Tate Liverpool, London Collections, Glastonbury Festival, The Princes Trust, Computer Arts Magazine and YCN Agency. It was great to catch up with some of Leeds finest creative talent, who I can assure you will be hearing much more from in the future.

Thanks to the gloriously talented creative duo Lord Whitney for the opportunity to see this wonderful show. I’m already looking forward to your next project!

Feel free to explore their fantastic world further on Lord Whitney’s website, where you can commission them for work or just sign up to their mailing list to keep in touch with their adventures in creativity!

My good friends at The Beehive Cafe in Riverstown, Sligo, Ireland

John in action at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John in action at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

On the 14th of January 2013 I wrote a long and detailed blog post all about my friendship with the Tenacious JHCG (John Henry Coe Graham). I explained a little of how our lives have unfolded since we studied together at Greenmount Agriculture College in Northern Ireland, now part of Cafre (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) from 1996-1999 (last century!).

The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John serves me my first delicious coffee with handmade chocolate brownie at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John went on to work as an agricultural policy advisor in Dublin, whilst managing farming in Sligo at the same time. He found the woman of his dreams Brid McNulty on a night out in Dublin. They bought a beautiful Sligo farm and house, married where Brid studied Trinity College Dublin and John had her picked up from the hotel for the wedding in an gigantic brand new Claas Tractor (which I had the honour of photographing!). They had their beautiful baby Judith and opened a fantastic new cafe called The Beehive, in Sligo Folk Park.

The Beehive Cappuccino  ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Cappuccino ©gavinfreeborn

Me photographing The Beehive © John Graham

                                  Me photographing The Beehive © John Graham

It was fantastic to see my old friend and we had a good laugh explaining to his local customers how we knew each other. It was hard for folk to believe that I, the gentleman photographer swinging the Canon 7D camera, dressed in tweed jacket & silk cravat, once studied agriculture with John almost 20 years ago! Two of John’s lovely customers Margaret and John, who farm sheep, suckler cows and the beautiful Connemara ponies in the Sligo mountains even posed for a quick portrait.

Sligo Farmers Margaret Finan & John Duignan at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

Sligo Farmers Margaret Finan & John Duignan at The Beehive ©gavinfreeborn

John was in full flow as gracious host deftly moving from kitchen to front of house, hand making fresh scones and all sorts of delicious delights which I was lucky enough to taste test. The chocolate brownie is some of the best I’ve tasted on my travels as are the scones. Both have been created and baked to perfection resulting in a crunchy bite, followed by a soft centre of utter succulence!

The Beehive Handmade Chocolate Brownies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Handmade Chocolate Brownies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive handmade scones ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Handmade Scones ©gavinfreeborn

Their macaroons and christmas mince pies look so enticing too…

The Beehive Macaroons ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Macaroons ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Christmas Mince Pies ©gavinfreeborn

The Beehive Christmas Mince Pies ©gavinfreeborn

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Meet Zoe and Tim – The Talented Folk behind Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle

Zoe & Tim at Brixton Farmer's Market

Zoe & Tim at Brixton Farmer’s Market

After meeting them initially on my Twitter, today I caught up in person with Zoe Jewell and Tim Dickens, founding editors of the fantastic Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle at Brixton Market for delicious coffee from Wild Caper. We then went for a blissful foodie induced wander through the wonderful Brixton Farmer’s Market which runs every Sunday from 10am-2pm. It was great to hear about the history of their immense passion and energy which created Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle. Both publications have become such integral elements of Brixton culture.

Some facts on their concerted work:

  • Nominated for “Innovation of the Year” in the British Journalism of the Year Awards in 2013 (runners-up to The Guardian) .
  • Average of 100,000 monthly page views on the website .
  • We print 10,000 copies of the Bugle each month, and we’ve printed 27 editions
  • We’ve got a combined Twitter following of 27,000.

They’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for a part time news editor which I’ve just donated to. Whether you’re in Brooklyn, Berlin or wherever…feel free to share this good cause and donate if you share their passion and energy for high quality local news reporting!

Honorary Freeborn Emma

Part of the Honorary Freeborn Family

Freeborn Emma Birthday Portrait Brixton Village October 2015

Originally from Trieste and educated in Venice to masters degree level in arts management, Emma moved to London from Italy last winter 2014. We met by chance when Emma was counting people at UAL for a living. Emma kept passing my office and after we had greeted each other several times I spoke to her in Italian. I had been thinking of developing this project towards an exhibition and possibly a publication, so it seemed as if Emma had been sent me by fate. I told her about all things Freeborn, we became great friends and Emma has been and continues to be a key part of my support team ever since. I now consider Emma an honorary Freeborn!

Armistice Day Portraits, Chelsea College of Arts, London

Les Eastwood, World War II Veteran - Wireman on Landing Craft at Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944

Les Eastwood, World War II Veteran – Wireman on Landing Craft at Normandy on D-Day 6th June 1944

World War II Veterans at today’s Chelsea SPACE and London Taxi Benevolent Fund’s Armistice event: A Day’s Silence at Chelsea College of Arts. Such wonderful characters! It’s quite something that these people were part of D-Day…an event which changed the history of the world as we know it! They were in great spirits and continue to tour with the project Veteran’s Road Trip orchestrated by artist in residence Janet Louise Hodgson.

Singing Veteran

Singing Veteran

©gavinfreeborn (2)

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran in Scarlet Uniform

Still in fighting form!

Still in fighting form!

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran

Royal Hospital World War II Veteran

Retired London Black Cab Owner/Driver and Tour Guide, WWII Veteran Roy H Knight

Retired London Black Cab Owner/Driver and Tour Guide, WWII Veteran Roy H Knight

WWII Parachute Regiment Soldier

WWII Parachute Regiment Soldier