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  • morganfagg

Runner Up, Photography Competition

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

I went to the European People's Festival in Luxembourg this year with two goals, one was to introduce James Joyce as part of the Irish Cultural Show and the second was to come better than second in the photography competition, after taking second place in the previous festival in Portugal, pre-pandemic.

I was delighted with second place in Portugal so my aim was to try and win this year, and while a fell short of my aim, I did technically take one of the winning pictures.

This year's photography competition differed from any previous photography competitions at the festival as they took us away from the festival where we spent two mornings in the forests and old mining area to take three pictures.

The first two pictures one wide angle and the second up close and personal, were to focus on nature reclaiming, and the third picture was entitled "Red Earth" which was to be inspired by the rich red soil in the region.

Naturally the first place winner's entry was out of this world with a picture of a spaceman on his smartphone, placed on the red Martian looking soil.

My entry was a little more grounded on earth where I decided to spell it out for everyone.

RED EARTH: After numerous attempts at writing in the dirt, including one where a mountain bike ran over my writing, I decided to break a twig into the letters "Earth" which I thought worked much better that writing "red" and "earth" in the same style.

Taking a different approach on the red earth theme, I wanted to include two Danish photographers sitting on a bench near the end of our second say shooting in the forest.

I always love the Danish t-shirt designs and this year the had written Finland 2020 and Spain 2021 crossed out, as both festivals were cancelled because of the pandemic.

I had tried to include the other photographers in some of my pictures and had taken a group shot, and photographed the camera covered in leaves, as a possible nature reclaims photograph but I wasn't happy with the result of either a camera or phone in the dirt.

Nature Reclaims

For the wide angle picture, I had brought a wide angle 10-22mm Sigma lens with me but ended up going with a HDR-style picture taken by an underwater compact camera that I had with me. There were lots of great pictures at the old house including this one of a Finnish photographer who I asked to shoot out through the window.

The ruin we came across was very striking and I love how the HDR-style High Dynamic Range photo picks up the stonework of the ruin and the detail of the tree and leaves.

There was no chance to edit pictures so it had to be done in-camera and while I had some other choices, including the railway tracks dotted throughout the forest, an old ruin with trees surrounding it, seemed to match the brief we were given, even if it is not as wide as I would have liked.

For the festival, I had brought along a pair of Bloomsday style James Joyce spectacles and I brought them with me as prop so I could make the old style glasses look like they were from another time, and had been abandoned.


That was my three pictures done and dusted, excuse the pun but before we finished, one of the other photographers asked for help in taking his last picture before we finished for the day.

He needed a remote control for his camera, as he wanted to place himself in the picture, balanced on a railway track that was overgrown by weeds, and asked me to press the shutter of his camera which he wanted me to place down by the track. Pictured here on my camera, you can only imagine the beautifully composed picture he had spent a long time setting up.

I had wanted to include the other photographers in my pictures if at all possible and by helping him take his picture, I guess I did photograph some of the other photographers but now I have an appreciative Hungarian friend, and that is what the festival is all about.

Yes that's me wearing a Danish t-shirt at the Irish stand with Damien behind us serving up the uisce bertha. Cheers Krizbo. You can follow him at

Very talented, Carmel Duffy's eyes lit up when I showed her his other artistic work where he had created a European People's Festival t-shirt which included a very detailed image of Athlone Castle, complete with mortars at the entrance.

I love the reaction Irish people had to his artwork, but know that there is no chance of first place with Krizbo around.

Supported by

UNESCO City of Literature

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