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