PPAI Exhibition Launch – 09/09/2016


Presentation by East Cork Camera Group to PPAI Press Photographer of the Year 2016, Mark Condren. (l to r) John Tait, Mark Condren and Denis Barry

East Cork Camera Group is delighted to host the Press Photographers Association of Ireland Awards 2016 Exhibition at the Library, Main St, Midleton, the launch of which was held on Friday 9th September 2016.

In order to have the exhibition in the town centre for the annual Midleton Food and Drink Festival on Saturday 10th September, PPAI stalwarts, Robbie and Billy put in a superhuman effort in dismantling the exhibition at AIB, South Mall, Cork and erecting it again just a couple of hours later in Midleton all in time for the official launch at 7pm despite a wet Friday evening and its associated gridlock.

The launch was held in the library and was attended by Press Photographer of the Year 2016 and fourth time winner of the title, Mr. Mark Condren of the Irish Independent. A native of Castletownroche, Co. Cork, Mark cut his teeth as a photojournalist with The Avondhu and The Corkman newspapers before moving to the Sunday Tribune and then to the Irish Independent where he currently plies his trade covering news stories at home and abroad.

The event was well attended with all present very impressed by the high standard of work on show. Following some brief words by ECCG Chairman, Denis Barry and Chamber of Commerce President, Seamus Cunningham, Mark spoke of his work as a press photographer over 20 years in exciting and sometimes dangerous places, as far afield as Syria, Nigeria, Haiti, Gaza and the Middle East as well as at home. "The really big news stories of our time are rarely recalled by the written word", he said, "but we all remember the images". He instanced the destruction of the Twin Towers, the recovery of the body of three-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, drowned in the Mediterranean, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Black Power Salute at the Olympic Games in 1968 as images that are ingrained in our memories courtesy of the news photographers of the day. He complimented the work of his colleagues on display in the exhibition and exhorted all present to study the images and think of the unique stories behind each one.

To commemorate winning the title and the exhibition's first time in Midleton, Mark was presented with a framed image from East Cork Camera Group's recent Cruise Liner / Lusitania Exhibition. Depicting the reenactment of the return to Cobh of the flotilla of small craft carrying casualties and debris from the site of the sinking of RMS Lusitania, the image was made by ECCG member, John Tait.

The exhibition runs at the Library, Midleton for two weeks and is well worth a visit. Thanks to Ann-Marie Kenneally and the staff of Midleton Library for having the exhibition and to Wallis's, Midleton and Day's of Whitegate for supplying refreshments for the launch Thanks also to Mrs. Ursula O'Tuama for providing the musical backdrop that was woven delicately throughout the evening's proceedings and, finally, thanks to Mark Condren and the PPAI for bringing the exhibition to Midleton and in time for the Food Festival's main event.

Click here to see a gallery of images from the launch night.
Click here for the PPAI website.




Press Photographer of the Year 2016 – Mark Condren


For the fourth time in a few years, Mark Condren was, last night, named as the Press Photographer of the Year, 2016.

A native of Castletownroche, Co. Cork, Mark worked with 'The Corkman' before moving to the 'Sunday Tribune' and then to the 'Irish Independent' where he currently works. An award winning photographer and published author, Mark won his first P.P.A.I. Press Photographer of the Year award in 2009 and followed it up with another win in 2010, came second in 2011 and won it again in 2012. Considering that this competition is open to the top press photographers from the thirty-two counties makes this a staggering achievement and speaks volumes for the esteem in which his work is held. Well done Mark!

Mark Condren-1

ECCG was delighted to host Mark in 2014 when he visited one of our meetings and gave a great presentation of his work - a highlight that is often recalled since.

Mark Condren-2

The Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) exhibition will be going on tour around the country in the coming months so make sure you get to see it. Check the PPAI website for details.





ECCG hosts award-winning Photojournalist, Mark Condren


Mark Condren

East Cork Camera Group was delighted to host Irish Independent photographer and three-time P.P.A.I. Photojournalist of the Year, Mark Condren, at our recent meeting at The Midleton Park Hotel.

Mark's presence at the meeting was a long-awaited event and had been in the planning for some time. While we anticipated something special from the man, the fact that we were joined by photographers from Fermoy, Cork City and Ballincollig, all eager to see his presentation, heightened the expectation of the full house attendance and he didn't disappoint.

Going through his slideshow, Mark showed some brilliant work: news, politics, topical, poverty, crime, unrest, sad, happy, funny - they were all there and from all over Ireland and the world. The images were fantastic but hearing the stories behind them brought them alive to a point exceeding their native two dimensions. This was not a surprise of course, as anyone familiar with Mark's work, will identify with the unique perspective and intrinsic quality that is its hallmark.

A native of Castletownroche, Co. Cork, Mark worked with 'The Corkman' before moving to the 'Sunday Tribune' and then to the 'Irish Independent' where he currently works. An award winning photographer, Mark won his first P.P.A.I. Photojournalist of the Year award in 2009 and followed it up with another win in 2010, came second in 2011 and won it again in 2012. Considering that this competition is open to the top photographers in their field from the thirty-two counties of Ireland makes this a staggering achievement and speaks volumes for the esteem in which his work is held.

Mark Condren-1In 2012 Mark published his stunning, hard covered book entitled "The Guards: Behind the Scenes with the Men and Women of An Garda Síochána" - a photographic representation of twelve months of unprecedented access to the Gardaí (Irish Police) as they went about their daily work. Self-funded, the book was launched by An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, TD and all profits from the book were donated to Temple Street Childrens' Hospital, Dublin.

The inspiration for the book came from photographing his father's last day on the beat in his native Castletownroche in 2009. Sergeant Larry Condren served in the Garda uniform for thirty seven years and, as he followed his father around the village, it dawned on Mark that a photography book like he had in mind, had not been done on the Gardaí before and so the seed was set. Having been granted permission to join and photograph members of the force across the length and breadth of the country for twelve months, Mark set about recording their daily work and compiled a selection of images that really grasped everything from the seemingly mundane chore of operating a checkpoint in rural Ireland to the adrenaline-inducing arrest of criminals in inner-city Dublin.

The book was a resounding success and was sold out within a week! If you have a copy of it, hang onto it as it is out of print and not likely to be reprinted any time soon.

Following his presentation, Mark answered questions about his job and the reality of being a photojournalist. Being in a camera club environment, camera settings were mentioned in the hope that there was some magic formula that would enable us to bring home a shot approaching the quality of one of his. Mark said that in his line of work you must be ready for the shot so, while settings are important, they are not as important as getting the shot. "What's the point in being precious about being in 'manual' and missing the shot", he said and in that, I think, there is a lesson for us all, especially those of us who sometimes agonise over f-stops, ISO and other technicalities when what we should be doing is concentrating on 'getting the shot'.

Well done Mark on an inspiring presentation, an enlightening talk and a revealing Q&A session.

Mark Condren-2

Mark with the Group

Photographs (except for Mark's portrait at the top) by Finbarr O'Shea.