Evensong 1

“Evensong” The word evensong’ refers to a church service traditionally held near sunset, focused on singing psalms and canticles. In origin, it is identical to the canonical hour of Vespers, when all the candles in the church are lit.

The first five photographs in this essay comprise the beginning of my experience with infrared photography, and the experience of having only an infrared camera to work with during the first 6 months of lockdown. It was here that, unexpectedly, I began to develop expertise in a niche area of photography, with my only available subjects. The plants and flowers that I could photograph during the brief periods lockdown was lifted, This experience led me to making short films in infrared, and a collaboration with a school education project to promote awareness, dialogue, and self-acceptance for LGBQTIA and neurodivergent young people.

This culminated in a film for PRIDE about celebrating of hidden and invisible beauty that lives around and inside others. Ultrafast lenses, sunlight, and IR/UV photography techniques I had were used to illuminate and explore the structure of wildflowers and plants, under a spectra of light visible to other animals but invisible to humans. Stills from this film comprise the rest of the photographs.

The film is dedicated to the artist and storyteller Coral Mallow and the ongoing movement for LGBTIA rights and visibility in Ireland, with special mention of Dublin Pride and Dublin Trans and Intersex Pride, as well as Neuropride Ireland.

As a cis-het person, making this film, which took several months, is my small act of service and solidarity. By witnessing sacredness in the strange and beautiful rather than fear, we can change our story about what it means to be human.

Nature is not a monoculture. Our ideas of what makes a good person can’t be either.

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