Family

“We all carry inside us people who came before us”. -Liam Callanan by TaraD

I have always wondered about “belonging”.

Where do you fit in, when you move from what you always knew?

I remember my first year in art college, we were set the task of creating a piece to do with “Identity”.

Most seemed to find the task so easy, as they had moved from home to college and they all identified with a particular place and the people from there.

Especially in Ireland you identify as being from “Kerry” or “Cork” for example.

I had no idea where to start. I didn’t have “one home,” I had lived in different places and my family were spread apart.

Almost 20 years later, a “random” video led me to being on a 3.30 am zoom call and we were discussing creating a piece about “Generations”. This would be a film piece, I am a photographer (challenge number 1! ). We had 8 weeks to complete it (challenge 2) and I still had to figure out all the technical details! (challenge 3-199 LOL!)

But unlike the feeling I had in college, this time I knew where I wanted to start and I was excited to try! So what’s the worst that could happen?

My mum has renovated a house that is over 100 years old. The house her grandfather built, my great-grandfather. A Kerryman.

I have always had a deep connection to my grandfather on my Dad’s side but I never knew much about Harry O’ Sullivan, until now. I decided to embrace this “Generations” project and started filming the land that my great grandfather worked and built his family home on. I decided to film my two boys who love to explore this land that we fondly refer to as “The hill”.

Conversations started with my mother reminiscing of days where she remembered helping her grandad on the hill.

My sons began to ask her questions and I realised how far back our family connection to this special place is.

As my film footage expanded, I tried to figure out how I could condense all this history into something that made sense for my boys in the future. I thought about the music and then another piece of magic happened. My mother handed me a cassette tape of an interview with her grandad and I converted it to digital and heard him sing….. WOW

I edited the piece within a few hours as I couldn’t stop. It all made perfect sense.

This was our story.

This was my great grandfather, born in 1890 talking to us and my children who were born over 120 years later!

To go from concept to a finished piece and feel that sense of accomplishment is amazing. I thought about keeping it just for our family, but that was coming from a place of fear. A place of worrying what others thought, being outside of my comfort zone. I ignored that feeling, uploaded the film and hit submit for what I thought was to receive review and feedback on how I could improve it…..

A couple of weeks passed and I woke up to AMAZING messages in my inbox from filmmakers in America congratulating me!

I had to go and find out what for!!! 🙂

The Educator’s Choice Awards have been chosen by the Lead Educator of the film project GENERATIONS, Allison Redmon, as those that fully embody the spirit of the FilmingLife® ArtHouse, and are noted for their storytelling, creativity and unique interpretation of the theme.

What Allison said about Tara’s film –
From the first moment I pressed play on Tara’s film I knew this film was truly something special. Hearing the actual recording of her ancestors singing voice, seeing the old photos and hearing the stories of generations past, Tara masterfully edits her family history on their land in a way that made me teary. It’s a powerful reminder to record our family members, their voices, their pictures, their thoughts and to keep them alive in our own storytelling.

You can view Tara’s award-winning film below and find her on Instagram @TARADONOGHUEPHOTOGRAPHY

My heart went into making this film and I hope to pour it into 1000’s more.

Not only for our own family but to be the first in Ireland offering heartfelt family films.

I feel so drawn to this as I know it is something that I “am meant to” do and I am grateful to those of you who have already reached out and asked me to capture your story.

As a photographer I have always loved capturing the essence of people’s stories. It has never been about “just pressing the button” for me. I see it as capturing moments that will become priceless in years to come. Now I have the opportunity to offer so much more. A way to capture the sound of laughter, as well as the visual reactions. A way to hear those conversations as well as view them. This isn’t just for us, this is for our future generations. This is for my boys and for their families.

Thank you to my mum for saying yes to all my crazy ideas, especially this one! I know it was way outside of your comfort zone too!

Thank you for introducing us to Harry.

I think he would get a kick out of “The hill” being seen in places as far away as Saudi Arabia, Australia, America and Canada.

Made with love,

Tara x

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Family films by TaraD

As someone who is used to shooting weddings, a day full of beautiful things and beautiful beaming people, this last year has been a great challenge to stop and view what I shoot differently.

I am used to making everything look “perfect”, often ignoring the “mess” and creating the beautiful finished look.

Without weddings I have chosen to look at every day things in a fresh way that is equally as beautiful. 


These are often the things that we take for granted. If the last year has taught us anything, it should be not to take anything for granted again. 
Planting strawberries is a simple task but now I have recorded it in such a way, that it is a beautiful memory for me and my husband and I know it will also be a beautiful memory for our boys to relive, maybe with their children. 

Family films were born out of the idea to stop living for tomorrow and wanting this all “to be over”. Instead let’s start living for today.

Let’s find the beautiful in today because when we start to look, it is everywhere. 


Take a look…. 

If you would like me to capture your family story please get in touch and I can book you in for this summer.

Past clients can avail of a fantastic offer for 2021.

Dates can be rescheduled if needed. 

We will be working in line with all government guidelines. 


Lets create beautiful memories for the future. 

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Control the things you can control… by TaraD

Almost a year into the pandemic and I am sitting here writing this with a heart full of gratitude.

That sentence sounds strange. How is gratitude possible in a world where there is so much suffering? It doesn’t mean that I am oblivious or unsympathetic to what is happening right now. In fact it is quite the opposite. I often empathise too much (if there is such a thing). I have shred tears over the loss of people I may have had the honour of only meeting once. We also lost two beautiful women from our own family during 2020. But I decided that for my own sake and for my children’s, that I would choose to control the things that I can control. To let go of what I can’t and to be truly present, as none of us know what tomorrow has in store for us.

Yesterday I got up early and had a great plan for the day, but my youngest choose to take our day on a different journey by getting a bead from a toy stuck up his nose! We had to make a dash to the local gp and then onto A & E! As I sat in the waiting room with him, I thought about how lucky I am to have this service within 12 minutes of my home. I thought about how I was grateful he wasn’t in any pain and how he could breathe through the other nostril. I chose not to sit in a panicked, fearful state, thinking of all the worst case scenario’s (which I would have previously,) but instead in a calm, grateful mindset. I asked where I could get some water and a nurse went out of his way to buy me one from the canteen! I sat there thinking how lucky we were, while other patients were shouting at staff and complaining about the wait. Guess what, our patience and gratitude paid off as we were seen after about an hour (which is super fast compared to previous visits). The GP’s original plan for anesthetists etc, were all avoided when another Dr said, “lets try this first” and managed to coax my three year old to breathe out as hard as possible and dislodge the object himself! I was grateful and relieved, the two Dr’s also told me they were grateful for a good news story from their shift with very little intervention needed!

 

So why am I sharing all that? Well because we always have two choices. One is to panic, shout, fear, complain. Focus on all the doom and gloom and worst case scenario’s. Or we can choose to trust, to stay calm, avoid negativity and focus on what you can do in this current moment right now. What can you do that will make you feel great? Can you turn up some music and dance around your kitchen? Will you feel silly? Maybe, but will it lift your mood? DEFINITELY! Can you go for a walk? Can you take some time to sit and read a book or start a project that you have always wanted to do? Let’s use this time as an opportunity. Find things to be grateful for in your life today and I promise you, your life will change.

Stay safe,

Tara x

 

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30 days 1000km walked! by TaraD

Well we kicked of June with a 1000km, yes that is correct a ONE THOUSAND KM challenge to walk from Kerry to Manchester AND back in 30 days for Heidi.

Some of you may remember and some of you may have bought tickets to join us for our mother’s day event that unfortunately we had to cancel due to lockdown.

The event was to raise much needed funds for Heidi Patterson who has Cerebral Palsy. Heidi is almost 3 years old and the daughter of one of our couples from 2015.

We have spent months trying to come up with alternative ideas within these current restrictions it has been difficult. But I got this mad notion to go walking and for me it has always been go big or go home” so I thought lets blow it out of the water with a big challenge like this.

I asked the team who were organising the mothers day event with me, Diana, Siobhain, Dave and Romy (who is one of our 2021 brides got roped in to this too lol) and they all said YES!

We started on Monday (June 1st) and with 3 days to spare we reached 1000km! It was an absolutely incredible journey for all of us. Mentally and physically it was absolutely amazing!

When we announced the idea so many people contacted me to ask if they could join in with us.

We had people walking throughout Ireland, the U.K and as far away as AUSTRALIA!

We wanted to keep the challenge of 1000km as a team and if we split that between more people it would make it much less of a challenge.

So we asked those who were happy to “walk with us”, to set their own km target for the month and raise some sponsorship if possible and

You can still donate to Heidi’s go fund me page here…

https://gf.me/u/x56n3j

We have reached our financial target of €5,000 and people are still donating! Thank you!!!

#1000kmforheidi or #walkforheidi

We also had a live raffle of all of the amazing prizes that were donated for our original event and Grace Foley who was due to sing at our live event, kindly sang on zoom for us.

I am sad to see this journey come to an end. After a week of no walks I am anxious to get back into that routine again.

So I guess there is no time like the present and I better get my walking shoes back on!

Tara x

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