Tilt-Shift the Union Town

07.15.06 - County Down Unionist Town Along the A2 (Newry Rd) just north of Kilfeaghan

Sun. Feb. 1, 2009 – It has become quite the thing to tilt-shift one’s photos and make them look like architectural miniatures. Recently, I came across a tilt-shift maker and decided to try a photo or two.
Due to my style of photography, most of my photos were not successful, at least to my eye, when rendered in the tilt-shift mode. Except the above photo of a red white & blue curb in Kilkeel (or possibly Ballymartin – sorry I didn’t geotag this photo at the time due to driving when I took it).
This photo was taken during the Around Ireland mobile / geo-photo project in the summer of 2006. I made many trips to Northern Ireland that summer, as I was attempted to suss out as much of the real NorIE from all the tales as possible.
Frankly, the Unionist towns CREEPED me out. They mean to. All that red, white and blue is meant to give the viewer a big case of the creeps. It is meant to keep you in line. It is meant to let you know who is boss.
The painted curbs and buildings, the Union Jack flags, the flags posted on light poles and painted on bridges in certain towns. It is all meant to send a sign. To the let the viewer and visitor know who rules this town.
Thus, the tilt-shift is perfect for this photo as the whole perspective becomes even more tilted than the drive by tilt already in the photo (taken at driving speed) and the tilt-shift technique blurs/focuses, and miniaturizes the objects in the photo. Just like sectarianism does for people’s perspectives and lives.
Most of Northern Ireland is delightful. I have been back since 2006 to take my mom to NorIE, as her grandfather was from Ulster and much of my father’s people were from Newry and surrounds. This is the land many of my people came from. I felt at home in much of the north. Except the towns with the red, white, and blue.
Fast forward to the recent U.S. election season. All the red, white and blue this election seemed darker and slightly creepy this past year, as if America was blurred and focused on a small dot, tilted in all the wrong places, and miniaturized in all the wrong ways. The emphasis on patriotism with out reflection, lock step to the party.
America, we have fought long and hard for our freedom, let’s not fall down the dark, myopic hole of sectarian, partisanship. The flag is only a sign, a symbol, not an idol to worship. Let’s take the opportunity of a new beginning to work together.
Original photo taken by Ms. Jen on 07.15.06 with her Nokia N80 while driving north in County Down on the Newry Rd to Belfast.
As a small note: I am neither Republican of the Irish or American variety, nor am I an Unionist of the Irish or American variety.