It started with a simple idea. Make a calendar to give to clients as a thank you. Now that tradition is ten years old (Purple Rain will be 12 in February) and to celebrate, I have created a special edition with pictures from not just around Northern Ireland, but Italy as well thanks to my participation in September in the ENAJ AGM in the Veneto region.
A Venetian scene of two gondolas floating towards a bridge makes the cover image, an ode to travelling into a new year of 2023.
Previously the monthly pictures were things taken on my travels but the 2023 edition includes two special commissions especially taken for the calendar.
The image for January is our family Baptismal gown that dates back to 1901 when my Grandfather James McConnell first wore it. It has now been worn by four generations of the McConnell family, most recently my nephew in November 2021. To help create a strong contrast, I shot it against a wall in the home where my grandfather was born, the brown bricks a stark background to the softness and tenderness of the white cotton gown. I have to admit it was an emotional shot to take as I thought of all those, including my father John, who have worn the gown over the decades. It is a piece of history and therefore something I wanted to include in this special edition.
For December’s image, shot in the Twixmas of 2021, I again created a composition especially for the calendar to show the joy of the season that comes with the birth of Jesus in a stable building. Roy McMurray’s farm Bullsbrook in Kinallen was the setting, in a farm building he transformed into a little church complete with a ringing bell and ornate stained glass windows. The candles burning show the light in one of the darkest months of the year.
No calendar of mine is complete without some hints of Fermanagh, a place I like to chill out in, and animals including my pet collie-kelpie, Peppa who makes her fist appearance.
My travels to picturesque Venice and its neighbouring islands forms July and October – you can read more about that amazing trip here
Of course, Ireland has many scenic views such as Killiney Hill looking down on Sugar Loaf Mountain and Dun Laoghaire, the Victorian town south of Dublin’s bustling city.
So as we approach a new year, with blank pages and room for new adventures, May it be a Happy and Healthy one! Let’s welcome in 2023!