St. Patrick’s Ball 2017 through the lens of a Nikon D750
Yes, I am a Nikon D750 and would like to invite you to stop, pause and discover wonderful things I see through my lens. I am a brilliant engineering wonder that has evolved through the passage of photography. Having said that, the man who decides how much light goes through me, how fast the shutter speed is and when to capture that magical moment makes all the difference in the outcome of a photograph.
Adrian has been photographing St. Patrick’s Ball since it was first introduced to Penang. Every year, PIA puts together an evening of great food, live music and all things Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the National Day of Ireland. This year is no different and yet, every year is indeed different. Different themes, different dynamics, different energy. You might have seen Elvis rock the ballroom or the U2 Tribute Band – The Joshua Tree bring the house down. You might have sipped Maggie T’s signature Green Mamba, indulge in plenty of guilt-free non-imbibing alcohol, enjoyed a plate of scrumptious Irish delights, or simply let your hair down and danced the night away. Even if you have been to the ball before, even if you have done all those things, even if you have gotten dizzy in the raucous celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, you would have indeed done it anew. Not a single second in your life can be replicated to the exact degree.
I have to let you in on a little secret. I would bet my lens cover that Adrian would be the only one who knows how much effort and perseverance Maggie puts into organising a successful St. Patrick’s Ball annually. Every year, he designs the invitation to the ball, its posters and all the promotional materials including the huge backdrop that adorns the stage of the ballroom. The amount of effort Maggie puts into securing sponsors, arrange for the entertainment and food, coordinate and promote the sale of tickets, work with the media and make sure everything goes as planned is not an easy task. But with the help of the dedicated committee members of PIA and supportive friends, everything is put into motion for success.
As you were enjoying a drink or two in the garden of E&O Hotel, while listening to classic Irish tunes from Ronald and his talented sons, Adrian and I would have been there to capture that moment in time. We would have also looked at people behind the scenes – bartenders that poured your Guinness, hotel staff that handed out shamrocks, Maggie stirring up a huge cauldron of Green Mamba, captains instructing waiters on their stations, technicians doing the final sound check, chefs firing up the wok in the kitchen and members of the media getting a statement or two from Irish Ambassador, Mr. Eamonn Hickey at the earlier press conference.
Throughout the evening, Adrian will use me to capture wonderful snippets that will hopefully weave a vibrant and pulsating tapestry of photos that would give you a glimpse into the St. Patrick’s Ball held at the elegant E&O Hotel on 10 March 2017. He will huddle up guests for group shots, steal candid moments, pause until everyone in the frame is ready, look for interesting compositions, find brilliant lighting for dramatic effects, get in close for details and be always ready for the next best shot. Go through the pictorial essay on these pages and see, if you were there, somehow helped in the documentation of that special night.
Speeches were delivered, toasts were made and sponsors were acknowledged and thanked. The highly talented performers including the Inspiration Dancers from Singapore all provided wonderful photo opportunities for me to record their energetic live performances.
I am a tool that allows us, in this instance Adrian, to preserve a timeline of the ball, filled with spontaneous faces and informal moments that are truly unique. Every human emotion can find a place in photography. At its best, it is a powerful language that speaks to human emotions. The photos as illustrated in these pages come together to form a narrative of the St. Patrick’s Ball 2017 which you can share with others. Evoking nostalgia, they are the legacy that is left behind. I am a Nikon. I am at the heart of an image.
Written and photographed by Adrian Cheah
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First published in Irish Insight, No 11, May 2017