I was wandering around the Guinness Factory in Dublin, checking out the old side streets and alleys to see if I could catch something. I had been in the factory the week before shooting an event and had made a note to return, because the parts of the compound are still extremely old and charming.

I met this gentleman, Valentine Bolger, in front of the tourists entrance to the factory, charging people to take photos with his old cart horse. His face was a weathered landscape. He had started working for the brewery as a teenager when they still used horses and carts in addition to the river boats to distribute the Guinness. He had been laid off years ago and with Guinness now under foreign ownership and the historic brewery in Dublin probably moving out of the city, he had much to gripe about.

I let him talk, gave him some cigarettes and took some photos of him. He didn’t mind the camera which afforded me a leisurely mini-session with him. His face was unmoving and very stoic, so the challenge became how to compose a shot of him and the amazing lines of his face without it being a straightforward, boring portrait shot, centered, background all bokeh’d out.

The images are below and the one I think is successful is the last which can be clicked on to view it at a higher resolution.

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Shot with a Nikon F5, 28-70mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim