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!

 

 

 

 

 

London Fashion Week Musings

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

With the recent buzz of London Fashion Week I was inspired to share some portraits I made earlier this year. Faye Dinsmore, one of my neighbours from back home in Donegal, in the Irish countryside, dropped by for lunch one day last spring. She had flown over for modelling work, from Dublin, where she is based, after graduating there in French and Classics at Trinity College. Faye is on the books of agencies in London, Paris and Barcelona and is looked after by Distinct Model Management in Dublin. She also recently landed a contract at Ford Models agency in New York which has seen the likes of Elle Macpherson and David Gandy on it’s books.

Faye was interested to hear about my photojournalism travel blogging and I was in turn interested to hear about her life adventures. I wanted to take Faye somewhere authentic and chose one of my favourite cultural delights in Victoria, Costa Coffee Boutique. Far from the regular Costa Coffee chain outlet, when you step inside this cafe you genuinely feel as if you’ve been transported to 1980’s Italy with beautiful ornate tiling and a glass topped bar where you can view a selection of coffee beans whilst you sip on that perfect brew!

Fitting that it is, the owner and his wife emigrated to London in the 1980’s and have never looked back since. The owner’s manner is so charming, as he slowly potters around making your coffee and food with a relaxed latin style. In central London this is a real treat, considering most people move at breakneck speed! The original retro decor matches the ambience and flavour of this wonderful little haven of culture! It’s fair to say we had a grand ole time of it chatting at a rate of ninety whilst soaking in the sunshine on that crisp cool bright day. We’d both been in touch with each other’s lives from Facebook but there’s no substitute for conversing in person. True Irish craic! A term that I explained to the world last March on Humans of New York or HONY as it’s often referred to. More on that in another blog post soon.

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

Coming from our respective family farms and ending up in the creative urban environment, Faye living in Dublin and me in London, through our creativity we have travelled the world, but our hearts will always have a place in Donegal. Both passionate about our homeland, we chatted about Ireland’s development over the past few decades. Most interestingly we’ve seen it evolve into the tech capital of Europe, with numerous international IT companies basing their European headquarters in Dublin, including Google, Facebook, Paypal, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, AOL and Twitter. Apple have their European HQ in Cork.

The existence and rapid growth of this industry has been one of Ireland’s major economic saving graces. Faye’s equally talented entrepreneurial fiance, Wicklow-born Paddy Cosgrave has brilliantly promoted Ireland through international networking. He is the man behind Europe’s top tech event Web Summit which brings over 20,000 of the international IT community to Dublin for a three day event. He also runs a more curated event for 200 guests called F.ounders, which brings the founders of major tech companies to an exclusive event which runs alongside the Summit. 

A lot was said in one lunch hour but of course we’re Irish so rapid conversation really wasn’t an issue for us. Faye and I are also both major fans of Irish craft especially Donegal tweed and woollen products. It’s refreshing that current fashion favors them considering the 70’s folk wear which has made a major return to the scene in the last few years alongside folk music. The international renowned Magee business is based only a few miles from our families home now run by Paddy Temple, who I photographed last summer at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Faye Dinsmore, London   ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

On a recent trip home I visited Foxford Wollen Mills in Mayo, which has a fascinating history, started by a nun during famine times to help support the community. No matter how far we go from home it’s good to know that just like our old Italian friend, we will always value and celebrate the traditional roots we come from.

In a world of increasing consumerism and fast fashion I would encourage you to buy local products where possible. Most importantly buy good quality which will last and always recycle the clothes you no longer need as someone else will be glad to have them. As a child on the farm in 1980’s Ireland which was then a developing country, I certainly got excited when my older family members handed me down the clothes they grew out of…think local, think quality and think sustainability!

I made a few quick portraits of Faye at Chelsea College of Arts, coincidentally home of UAL’s TED (Textiles Environment Design)…experts and industry leaders in sustainable textile design.The first image was taken inside in the magical space that is the Old College Library. The building was previously the Royal Medical College built at the turn of the last century and opened in 1907. Considering Faye is usually seen on the cover of the Italian Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the likes it was really nice to make these natural portraits and see her pure Donegal beauty radiating on that crisp spring day. Later in summer the press reported that Faye and Paddy are so busy they hardly have time to make their wedding plans. Isn’t it great to see two such beacons of nouveau Ireland light shining out of the economy. I’m glad we got to catch up that day and who knows where in the world we’ll next cross paths!

Read more about London Fashion Week

Explore Donegal and Ireland

Follow Faye’s adventures on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Follow Paddy on Twitter and read about the Web Summit and Founders

Shop at Magee or Foxford

Explore the Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh

Learn about Textiles Environment Design 

Nell Bryden – A Pure Legend of a Woman

©gavinfreeborn ©gavinfreeborn (1) ©gavinfreeborn (2)

I first met Nell Bryden years ago when she played at WuFest @ Dr Wu’s Bar in Leeds, organised by our mutual friend and superwoman Emma Tate nee McPartland whose wedding I had the pleasure of shooting a few years after. From the moment I first saw and heard Nell perform I knew there was just something about her. Nell and I met at Wufest a few years running when she was over from New York and we would have our annual catch up sitting by the mesmerising silver ball fountain sculpture on Calls Landing near the river Aire. A year would have gone by and we would hear each others news on life, love and lots more.

Time passed and for various reasons we didn’t cross paths both being busy in our own lives. I was out of the country a few times when Nell played Leeds again, although I was aware she had been making waves in the UK music scene with six playlisted singles on BBC Radio 2. The Irish broadcasting legend Sir Terry Wogan is a big fan! So when I was searching gig listings in London recently and found Nell was playing the Roundhouse in Camden, I was super excited to catch up with an old friend. Then I read news of Nell’s experience with battle with hair loss through alopecia which was detailed in her feature in the Daily Mail.

Nell full life story can be read here. It really is a truly unique and wonderful story showing how life shapes people. Through being a highly sociable person I meet a lot of folk and I feel very lucky to have happened upon such a talented strong and inspirational human being. Nell grew up on Brooklyn and was there when the 9/11 attack devastated her home city of New York. It took her a long time to write about it but when she did she really did! Every time I listen to this track Sirens it brings me close to tears. In my opinion President Barack Obama should have this song as the unofficial national anthem of the United States of America…what would fit better for a nation who are pushing to improve themselves and stay strong in times of uncertainty?

Nell is starting her new tour in May so don’t miss out if you get the chance the voice of this Pure Legend of a Woman.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon Nell.

A Jumping Portrait of the Brave and Adventurous folk who took part in Sydney No Pants Subway 2012!

"JUMP!"

“JUMP!”