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Dublin Against the Grain

Wade Suarez
November 23, 2021
A masked person looks out a tram window

When I have not been stumbling, um, frolicking through Irish fields, meeting people from six feet away, or sipping tea on my rooftop, I have been learning to look. 

An image of a green burial mound with an opening, in front of which a person is kneeling to look in

I took a photography course this semester despite having had no prior experience with the practice. I needed the credit, and there are worse problems than crash-coursing an art form. I didn't expect to be so taken with it, but my instructor and a masterful peer of mine sparked my intrigue.

An image of an instructor speaking to students in Dublin

Watching that peer fiddle with a film camera, and seeing the results, and recalling that my childhood homes were adorned by my late grandfather's landscape photography, I decided to give it a shot. Film cameras are expensive, though - I had only budgeted to use my phone, slap a filter on the result, and beg for an A. So I emailed my instructor to ask for his recommendation for a cheap-enough entry-level camera. 

A stone circle, with somebody crouching at its center

Well, he had just about a heart attack when he learned that I had considered spending money on a camera rather than a bus ticket. So he showed up to the next class and slyly handed me a mysterious package. In my room, I discovered that it was the Olympus Trip 35mm. It was an antique! But a later conversation with my professor revealed that that is what is so cool about the Trip - it can still do so much in the right hands. That being said, I'm a Gen-Z with anxiety and, uh, my hands shake. 

A tent, and in the background a person on their knees holding a cup out.

That shake, plus the first four rolls being expired (which is fine - they were free and I was learning), plus the fact that I simply will not slow down and purchase a tripod? Well, you get a lot of photos that are out of focus, or maybe even damaged, and thank GOD for that. It is in this way that I learned that film photography can show you something that the human eye forgets to see. 

The mountains open up; little is visible besides the sunlight cutting through the crags.

The photos that I now share with you are overwhelmingly amateur. Their composition shivers;

A tilted image portrays a lad playing bagpipes adjacent to an onlooking passerby

their aperture is imperfect, and so their subjects are blurred;

A couple sits looking at one another across from a landmass on the Giant's Causeway. The image is grainy.

their film was expired, or damaged, and so the result is marred;

An image vaguely portrays several shadows

and each one has played a part in my love for Dublin and for photography. This photo essay portrays a person learning in the best way possible: hands on, haphazardly, and happily.   

A young man holds a cigarette; a person next to him looks away

It also shows you some of the parts of Ireland that have been the most captivating to me.

An image of a house and clothesline

Studying abroad has given me my curiosity

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Wade Suarez

<p>Yo! My name is Wade Suarez. I'm an English Creative Writing major attending Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am attending the Dublin Writer's Program in Fall of 2021, and my current plan is to not shut up about it the entire time I'm there. My favorite thing to do is to write (shocking, I know), but my next favorite hobbies are exploring, reading, and hunting down the best nooks and crannies I can find, wherever I am. My ultimate goal while I am in Ireland is to connect with a place and people that I've never known, so check it out if you want to see how that's going. I'm pretty pumped to share with you the things I learn and the connections I make while I am adventuring abroad this Fall.</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Augsburg University
Cushing, TX
Creative Writing
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