St Brigid, Reeds, Pollardstown Fen, County Kildare, Ireland by Lisa O'Dwyer-1


You know how your life brings up reoccurring themes and interests? I hope I can explain this succinctly. When you are young, you discover what your interests are and these carry with you through life. As a child and young woman, I was always interested in nature and history. I loved the feeling of nature being vast and mysterious and overwhelming. As I studied art and history in school, I became interested in the history of places… particularly natural places. How old is this landscape, who lived here, what are the stories of this landscape, will this landscape be the same in the future, how long has this landscape been like this.

I lived in Ireland for 10 years and my husband is from there. We intend to visit Ireland at least once a year, and hopefully more. Ireland is a place of full of history-infused landscapes. You can’t escape it…it is what ties Irish people to the land…and what makes those with Irish blood long to visit.

We lived near Pollardstown Fen in County Kildare for nearly 8 years. I loved to take the kids for walks here. I always brought my camera because the landscape changed with the seasons and light. There are reeds growing in the fen and in the autumn the reeds turn a beautiful wheaty gold. Local people and school kids make St Brigid’s Crosses from reeds like these. You can read more about Brigid here, and the crosses which are meant to hang above a threshold to a home, like a door, to ward off fire and to provide protection. St Brigid was the ancient Celtic pagan goddess Brigid and she was a patroness of the home and fire. Her feast day is coming up the on the 1st of February, which incidentally is the pagan festival of Imbolc. I can imagine the centuries of people coming to the fens in Kildare to collect the reeds to make crosses and baskets. You can feel the history of the place as you walk through it.

These shots of the fen were taken with Fuji 400H during Deidre and Andy’s engagement session at Pollardstown nearly one year. Andy grew up near this landscape and I love how he and Deidre have become a part of the history of it. The B&W of Andy & Deidre is Tri-X.

For a newly engaged couple, I think it is important to think about your engagement photographs and your history as a people and who you will be as a family. Think about the landscape you want to be photographed in and how it relates to you as individuals and as a couple. You don’t need props for an engagement session to be successful. Interacting and appreciating the landscape, will make your photographs poetic and heirloom.

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