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Published work! Autumn 2018 by ellie berry

It’s only recently that I’ve started adding writer to my by-line. It was what I wanted to be when I grew up since about third class (nine years old). My teacher of the time decided that each student was to try and write their own story. Through the unintentional eves-dropping kids go through, I slowly learnt that everyone else's work was very “real life” based - catching a robber who broke into a shop, working on a farm. Mine was about a girl named Rogue who had a (sarcastic) talking horse, lived in a fantasy woodland, and was sent on a quest to find the collar necklace (that was a spelling mistake that mini-me just pretended was intentional. Even now I remember it was supposed to be coral necklace). I’m pretty sure it was heavily inspired by the never ending story and lord of the rings. And I know now that it deeply cemented my love of writing.

Skip forward through many years of amazing English teachers, continued terrible spelling, discovering the magic of creative critical research in college, and we roughly land in Dublin two years ago. I haphazardly wrote this, my personal blog, but was also about to enter the planning stages of Tough Soles. I know that in 2017 I wrote nearly 35k words through that blog, and I’m hoping to break that record this year. It’s not the kind of writing nine year old me would have imagined, but I’ve really come to love it - although I think I’ve exhausted the variety of ways I can say ‘it rained’. I’ve also (tentatively) started letting text have a more interesting role in my personal creative practices; hence the red girls and there is rarely silence while walking.

All of this has lead me to being braver with my applications and ideas, and so over maybe the past month I’ve had my words and work published in places!

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1. In The Frame: Fractured Landscapes

In each issue of Totally Dublin magazine there is In The Frame, a full page given over to printing a single image/piece, accompanied by some text explaining the project. This month I got to share one of the images from my Fractured Landscapes series. At the time of publication, this image was hanging in HALFTONE print fair.

In the Frame: Fractured Landscapes in Totally Dublin is now available online.

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2. Intrepid Magazine - Issue 6

Intrepid magazine is a pretty cool thing in my eyes. They are the only female-first print and online adventure magazine that I know of, and so I pitched them an article where I talk about The Highs and Lows of Hiking - not the most inspired article title, but it’s basically me looking at the different things that affect my motivation while we’ve been working on Tough Soles. In it, I imagine “the elephant in the room” as three actual elephants that lumber along the hillside behind me as I hike.

Note: If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t re-read my article since it’s been published, as I’m afraid I won’t like it.

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3. Del Norte:
self published photobook

This book isn’t exactly new - in fact, I first started making this in 2016. However, when I found out in October that I’d been accepted onto my masters programme I decided to run a little online sale, and included my Del Norte books. Being the first photobook I’d ever tried to make, it’s not the surprising to me that there are many things I would change about it. And, happily enough, there was one thing I decided I could change: text.

When I published this I first didn’t have any text, but when I exhibited some of the prints back in 2016, I printed off diary extracts and stuck them to the walls. Since then I’ve wondered how I could incorporate the text into the book. I ended up making a couple of different versions - in one copy I stuck the text in on tracing paper between or onto the pages. It almost worked, but wasn’t quite right.

Some of my books were wrapped in large sheets with stamps, so then I included a plain leaflet inside the wrapping. There were a couple of other variations, and the design I’ve stuck with for now is the one shown in the photograph - the text in a little booklet, the cover of which is tracing paper with some of the stamps I collected while walking printed on it. Also mentioned in the image above is the fact that the book is for sale in The Library Project in Temple Bar! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy from me, or from TLP.

The last piece that will be coming out before the new year is a short Tough Soles update in the winter edition of Mountaineering Ireland’s The Mountain Log.

Also, thank you for all the book recommendations. I have 50 books on my To Do list, and probably 100 more that are saved in notes apps or scribbled on mislaid pieces of paper. Reading hasn’t been fast these two months, but I think by the time this is published I should have finished: Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville; Doing Visual Ethnography by Sarah Pink; and The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.

At the moment I’m having fun taking part in one of those social media sharing posts “post 7 book covers for 7 days with no titles or descriptions”. To be honest, most of the books I’m reading have all the information on the cover, so it’s not all that secretive or mysterious.

Seeing as this post has turned into just discussing writing; my dad wrote a book - The Dangerous Book for CEOs! It’s just words central right now.

Also, I’m officially 6 weeks into my masters programme, and a lot of things have happened in that time. I think I’ll leave this blog post just to writing for now, and do more recapping in maybe the next post. I do want to mention that Carl and I did some amazing training with Leave No Trace Ireland, and I’m very excited to write my piece discussing it (that piece will probably come out on the Tough Soles blog).

Finally, I wonder would nine year old me be disappointed or relieved to know how bad I still am at spelling.

Space, Place and Obligation by ellie berry

botanic gardens.jpeg

Space

I’m standing at the spire, waiting for Walking in the Eire to finish her incredible 6 month trip walking the coastline of Ireland. It’s a part of Dublin I never visit - it’s reserved for tourists, no “Dubliner” would put themselves through this stressful street (not that I’m sure I can claim that title). Over to my left there’s a guy literally standing on his soap box, preaching to his un-co-operating congregation that Jesus Christ can forgive them, and they can find their immortal life. Even with his small speaker hanging from his elbow I don’t think many people can hear him. There are hundreds of buses, thousands of conversations, and one busker playing drums pretty well but also pretty loudly, and it echoes up and down this wide thoroughfare.

But it’s not as uncomfortable a place as I was expecting - since coming back to the city I’ve had the opposite experience of most outdoor people I know, and find the mass movement of strangers so energetic and energising. I’m still wrecked at the end of a day, it’s still over whelming, but I think the city gives me as much life as I find in the outdoors.

There’s no immediate sign of the inspiring walker I’m here to congratulate so I start jotting notes for a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for weeks. I know how loose time is when you spend all your days walking. I pick a pole wrapped in bamboo and lean against it. I watch old friends collide in screeching hugs, and first dates ask each other what food they like. There are just so many people. I look around me and wonder who is here for what.

There’s a lull in traffic, and my preacher friend across the road can be heard shouting for us all to trust in our Jewish saviour. Saviour seems to be his favourite word. Then the drummer strikes up a powerful tempo, and a swarm of teenage students pour across the road.

So far I can confirm that standing is harder than walking, but I’m enjoying getting the time to write. I’ve been meaning to write something for my own website since I got sick a month ago. When you’re sick and can’t do anything it’s easy to build to do lists of things that don’t involve going places, but still involve more mental energy than you actually possess. But I’m back on feet, so here we are. Time to do a big general update.

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Place

A quick summary of my life this year would be - I walked 1,446km this summer, and then took a short break which resulted in my immune system crashing. In my anti biotic stupor of the past month I; moved back to Dublin, attended a conference, built IKEA furniture, took part in a feminist internet workshop, got lost learning my new corner of the city, more artist takes, and finally, I was accepted to do a Research Masters in IADT Dun Laoghaire!

So lets start from the beginning of this month.

I moved back to Dublin after my immune system crashed and I had to go through a whole series of antibiotics. There are lots of strange things that happen to you when you drastically change life style and living places, so I think I might just say I’m still acclimatising and leave it at that.

The conference I attended has actually inspired the name/grouping of this post. The title of the event was Space, Place, Obligation (An interdisciplinary inquiry into creative practice in contemporary Ireland). Organised by Niamh Campbell in Maynooth university, it was an intense day of artists sharing their artistic practice in relation to the title topics, while also discussing themes of home and sense of belonging. It was still probably too early in my antibiotic days to be attending such a full on event - I hadn’t yet bought a bed so I was camping in my room. My printer stopped working when I tried to print the conference notes off, my shoes cut my heels to pieces running for the bus, and at the event my hands took every opportunity to spill coffee on my notes, shoes, clothes, and hands.
But it was a really great event - thank you to Moran for inviting me to attend it with her. Ideas I had while walking all bubbled up, demanding attention after the event.

People always say that living in a tent with someone must be the ultimate test for a relationship. I disagree - building IKEA furniture for 7hrs together will always be the real exam. We now have a bed on stilts.

I am starting a Masters by Research! It’s two years looking at walking, photography, and the cultural landscape of Ireland. Induction is in two weeks, and I am both incredibly excited, nervous and relieved to have been accepted. To be perfectly honest, I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to afford the fees, so in the next few days I might have a print/book sale.

 

Obligation

It feels a little weird to admit this, but this seems like a good section of this post to write about it. For possibly the past 3 years I’ve kept myself purposefully ignorant of a photographers work. There wasn’t anything malicious in my avoidance, it was purely a naive selfish fear.

I started incorporating walking into my practice while on Erasmus in third year of college. Then during the summer I walked the camino. Arriving back in Dublin to finish my degree, I showed my friends what I’d been working on while I was away. And there was one thing everyone told me: while I was away a photographer had been in to talk about his new work on walking and photography. He’d also made work in Spain. So I looked him up, saw two of his images and immediately stopped. I thought that if I looked at his work before really looking at my own I wouldn’t be able to see mine without seeing his - and I was afraid that if I compared us, I would think his work was far better. Such a scared artist I was. And so I have avoided this other Irish photographer who also works with walking and the landscape for almost 3 years. Now, it’s not like I’d see his book in a shop and frantically jump behind the nearest postcard stand. But I never engaged with his work. Until this conference.

I was sitting on the floor, staring in frustrated disbelief at the pages my printer was spitting out at me. How can it print something without black ink? Why does it have to do this now?! It’s the night before a conference, and my whole body is still fighting me with flus and infections. I haven’t yet really read the conference pack, and because staring at a screen had been hurting my eyes I thought that printing off the sheets would help me. But instead blank pages were being gently washed up against my sock. I sigh as I cancel the print project on my laptop. However, before the new command gets through to the tiny printer brain, the images at the end of the document are being painted onto my the cheap tesco paper, and they look so psychedelic without black ink that I don’t know what’s happening. I smile at the mess, and go to my inflatable bed, falling asleep reading the notes on my phone.

And so at the conference the next day I had the very surreal experience of listening to someone introduce and discuss their walking work that I had selfishly avoided. They went right from that first project 3 years ago, to now. It was a really amazing experience, and I’m glad it was such a surprise to me. I got to see all the similarities and differences in how, what and why we create. I think 3 years ago I would have seen the differences in our work as pit falls in mine, but seeing the development of their practice, and how things changed or didn’t change through each project reminded me how fluid and ever-changing everyones work is, and how impossible it would be for our work to be the same. The fact that I am genuinely excited and like my own work and creative process right now probably helps.


And so here we are.

Most of my writing this year has been for a personal journal or for the tough soles blog. It’s a little odd to remember what and how I usually write on my own site - going back and reading my old posts would be too easy. I’m hoping to use this space as a online visual research journal going forward.

In this post I’ve only talked about a handful of things I want to talk about, so just so future me doesn’t forget:

  • I went to the Sugar Club and heard artists talk about their practice/how they’ve come to be successful. The one that really stuck with me was by Craig Oldham. I think he managed to give a talk about himself and his practice without it just being a slideshow of his life. He was the most eloquent in sharing how and what he learnt from mistakes, and how different choices affected him.

  • The Feminist Internet and Mariam Kauser of Wrk Wrk Wrk collective hosted a workshop in Rua Red as part of the Glitch digital arts festival. I’d like to learn how to think of questions during an event as opposed to just absorbing and then processing at home. The workshop group itself was very small, and so lead to interesting discussions as opposed to working on the exact tasks, which I think I benefitted from more.

  • The Arts Management Ireland site is a wonderful resource and I wish I’d known about it sooner.

  • The botanic gardens are always a good place to go to.

testing the waters by ellie berry

It's been too long, I don't know how to address this blog, this place. What style was I writing in before hand, or was it just messy? I think it was probably a bit .. uncollected, uncurated. I can't decide if I want this to be personal or not. I'm back living in Dublin, and it's been a bit weird coming back. The plan is to leave again at the end of February, 3 months from now. 

Let's see what I make in the meantime. 

Big ideas and hard-bitten feet by ellie berry

 Blue trails are completed trails.

Blue trails are completed trails.

Since April of this year (2017) I have been walking all the National Waymarked Trails of Ireland. These trails, 43 in total, ramble through 25 counties and encompass a combined 4,000km in distance.

This project is known as Tough Soles, and wandering all over the place with me is Carl Lange. The idea came about from previous travels, where we'd noticed a strange thing happening. The further we went and the more people we met, the more we were told what a beautiful, unique, idyllic place Ireland was. To them, Ireland represented the exact type of adventure that we were travelling to find. And so, this project was born from a desire to explore and know my home. To find the Ireland that I hadn’t experienced.

To date, we've completed 20 trails and almost 2,000km. 

We make videos, and share our experiences as we go. 

New Climbing Website! by ellie berry

Hello! 

For a while I've been feeling like this site is getting a little cluttered, and so I am super excited to say that this morning I built a separate sit for all 'Climbing and the Outdoors' photography I do. That's not to say a small bit won't still crop up on this side, but now everything is starting to feel a little less claustrophobic. 

I chose the name allezberry  originally as a twitter handle; because 'allez' means 'go', and is a very popular climbing phrase of encouragement in the climbing world. Also, it sounds a bit like 'ellie'. Now I use it for multiple platforms, and so I thought it fitting name for a new website.

This website isn't going anywhere. It's going to remain my 'personal' site, with all the non-climbing work I create on it. The only changes will be me finishing the spring clean so the place has a flow to it. 

So go flick through the galleries on the new site (click the image above) and tell me what you think! 

Twenty-Four Days in Tallinn by ellie berry

It's been twenty-four days since I arrived in Tallinn (and 10minutes actually if we want to be exact), and I am unsure where to begin. 
In this time I have joined Instagram (just for fun), I've lost my bank card (not so fun). I am in the process of joining Swedbank, and I managed to only fall on my ass once. I have learnt two words of Estonian (hello and thank you), but have had a full conversation with an old lady who thought I was someone else. 

I have not gotten lost. 

I think people need to appreciate how big an achievement that is. On a slightly related topic, I have become an expert at Google Maps. I've fallen in love with both Old Town's towering churches, and the industrial forced beauty the rest of the city projects. I've seen ice sculptures and large format linocuts. I have not attended a "photography" class yet. I am eating a lot of chocolate, but I'm blaming the long nights for that. There is strong coffee! I get to shoot as much film as I want as it cost €4.80 to have a roll processed, scanned and emailed to me. I have visited the old Palace and seen the most amazing ball room. And I have learnt it is really hard to photograph falling snow. 

Now that I've tried to type some words, here are the photos.



 

 

Happy New Year by ellie berry

There is something really special about finding a photo that you took years ago - no matter what platform its taken on (this photo was taken on a terrible phone camera) - and it really resonates with you. The feelings of the time, the other memories it sparks. So here's to a year of 1 million photos and 1 million places. And here's to being positive.

Good Luck.