Award winning Limerick photographer picks his favourite shots

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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news@limerickleader.ie

DIARMUID Greene says a good photographer is simply anyone who enjoys taking photos.
The Pallasgreen man certainly does. Diarmuid is one of the most respected and talented photographers in Ireland. Here he shares his favourite ones with the Limerick Leader. It wasn’t an easy decision.
The son of Lorraine and Danny attended Nicker NS then St Fintan’s CBS in Doon. He went on to study photography at LCFE in 2005. After being awarded Student Sports Photographer of the Year at the National Student Media Awards he was offered a full-time role with Sportsfile prior to finishing college in 2008.
After six years as a staff photographer with the agency he went on to pursue a career as a freelance photographer based out of Limerick but still enjoys doing the odd bit of work with Sportsfile from time to time.
Wedding and portrait photography make up a lot of Diarmuid’s work nowadays.
As a teenager he says he was drawn to photography because he was always a visual person.
“Maths was never my thing unfortunately so I always leaned towards the creative subjects. My passion for photography in particular really came to the fore on a mission trip to Belize in 2004. Two students and two teachers from St Fintan’s CBS went out to visit Fr Tony Ryan, former parish priest in Doon.
“We were asked to keep a diary of our experience so while I did the written diary I put most of my efforts into a ‘visual diary’ through photos and things kind of kicked on from there really,” said Diarmuid, who is married to Croagh-native Niamh. They have two boys - Ruben, aged two and half, and Zane, six months.
Diarmuid says what he enjoys most about his job is the people he gets to meet.
“I’ve met some incredible and inspirational people in my line of work. Special Olympics athletes and volunteers spring to mind immediately. It's not possible to attend a Special Olympics event without having a smile plastered across your face for the entire day,” said Diarmuid.
What makes a good photographer?
“I actually had this conversation with a highly respected photographer friend recently and, in short, there is no right and wrong because it’s all subjective. I might love a certain photo and you might not like it at all. Much like any art form, it’s completely subjective.
“Some photographers are very technical and could explain in great detail about mathematical exposure calculations and this type of person might be more suited to landscape photography and then other photographers don’t necessarily focus on the technical details but they can instantly capture the essence of a person in one photo.
I like to think I am balanced somewhere in between both of those options! To me, a good photographer is simply anyone who enjoys taking photos,” said Diarmuid.
See www.diarmuidgreene.ie for more.

Ronan O'Gara

This photo was taken on the pitch just a few minutes after Ronan O'Gara played his last game of professional rugby. Munster had just lost by 16 points to 10 away to Clermont in the 2013 European Cup semi-final. The players were doing their lap of honour after the game to acknowledge supporters and I noticed ROG at the back of the group carrying his son, Rua. I had never witnessed him bring any of his family on the field after a game so I knew it was significant. It was quite hard to get a clean photo without people in the way because I wasn't allowed onto the field after the game (and the French security personnel are strict!) so I decided to try zoom in and get as 'tight' a photo as possible. I just managed to get one or two photos before the moment passed. It's a simple photo but to me it signifies something much greater; here is a legend of Irish sport, his playing career has just ended with a disappointing loss and he's smiling with his son just minutes after the final whistle. To me, it shows that family means everything and all else is secondary at best.

Andy Lee

This was an unforgettable celebration of a Limerick sporting icon, the day Andy Lee returned home after winning the WBO middleweight title following a sixth round stoppage of Matt Korobov in Las Vegas he was given a great reception by the city and the people of Limerick. I had followed Andy's career closely since he went to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and after choosing to turn pro instead of going to the Beijing Olympics he even gave us a few memorable nights at the University of Limerick sports arena before going on to become world champion in December 2014.
A little bit of detail about the story behind this photo; there was a group of around 10 photographers and news camera operators that had been with Andy from when he got off the plane in Shannon, to the press conference in City Hall, a photo-op of him holding the belt on the riverside, but I knew the best photo of the day was going to be with the large crowd of supporters outside City Hall that evening.
So while the formalities were taking place I went inside and grabbed a chair and put it aside for myself in a quiet corner outside as I wanted to try capture a photo of Andy facing me with the crowd behind him. Just as all the official proceedings were coming to an end I grabbed my chair, put it in the centre of the stage and asked Andy to turn around and hold up the belt.
All of the photographers tried to capture the same photo but because I had put in that bit of planning I had the best position and height advantage to see the full extent of the crowds. Andy quietly said “I have to take a selfie” and the rest is history.
It was an honour to see this photo feature in Andy’s autobiography, Fighter.

Wet Wedding

This is a photo that people probably aren't expecting to see from me but yes I do a lot of wedding and portrait photography too. I just love everything about this photo. Photographers are often the first to criticise our own photos but this photo just makes me smile every time I see it. Normally the lashing rain isn't an ideal time to capture an outdoor portrait of a bride and groom on their wedding day but I got this idea into my head and thankfully Ashling and Chris Reals, Pallasgreen, were up for giving it a go and I think it worked out well. It's bucketing down around them and they are staring lovingly into each others' eyes as though nothing else matters and, to me, that epitomises what wedding photography is about.
You can see more of this kind of work on my new website www.diarmuidgreene.ie

Limerick Hurling Team

In terms of technicality this photo may not seem too special but what it stands for and what it means to the people in it and their families and supporters is priceless. As far as I'm aware it is the only photo from the 2018 All-Ireland winning year that includes all the squad and backroom team together.
It was a real honour to be asked by Limerick GAA to take a photo that you know will have genuine historical significance. It's not obvious to the naked eye but this photo took several days of planning. Firstly we had to arrange a date and time whereby each of the 63 people involved were available, I did some research at Adare Manor regarding location options, where the sun would be and at what time, the height and width of the chairs and how many players / coaches / officers would fit in each row, and even the height of the players themselves so I would know where to position them in each row. We even went as far as having a stepped stage built for the two back rows by Tom Walsh from Hear It.
A group photo like this would usually be done in three rows but I felt that adding a fourth row would tighten up the width of the rows and hopefully it paid off in the end.
I've photographed UEFA Finals, Heineken Cup Finals, met players like Messi and Pele but I don't think I was ever as nervous going into a photoshoot as I was that morning in Adare!

Bike Shot

This photo was taken at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. I was honoured to be asked by Sportsfile and Paralympics Ireland to cover the games, probably the highlight of my career so far.
This particular photo is very special to me. For an event like this you can't move around the 70km course (apart from walking) so you have to pick a spot with a few vantage points. I made the risky decision to miss the start/finish line and went for the most hilly section of the course hoping it would give me some striking images. You would have been forgiven for thinking this spot was in the depths of West Kerry, the terrain was so similar. For this event my main focus was actually on gifted Irish cyclist Eoghan Clifford from Bruff but just over half way through the race you could hear Juan José Méndez Fernández of Spain before he came up the hill because with every turn of the pedal he was shouting with pain. It was easily a 10% gradient and this man was cycling with only one arm and one leg. I took a few different photos of him but it didn't quite strike me until I got back to the media centre after the race when I realised what I had witnessed.
Juanjo contacted me after the games to say he loved the photo so I was glad to send him a copy to show my appreciation for his inspirational athleticism. He kindly invited me over to Spain to cycle with him and his team but I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep up with them!
I was very lucky to win first prize in the Sports Action category at the 2016 PPAI awards for this image.

Thomond Park

Beautiful Limerick city. I've never actually told this story publicly but again the story behind this photo is as important to me as the image itself. The game unfolding approximately 6km away from my lens that night was Munster v Leinster at Thomond Park in April 2009.
I had wanted to be down pitchside covering the match in the traditional way but I was very much a junior photographer at Sportsfile at this point so there was no position for me. Sportsfile director Ray McManus had rightly assigned two senior photographers and I was the unlucky one as there was no photo pass available for me. When I got the 'bad news' I immediately decided rather than watch the sold-out game at home on TV that I was going to research the possibility of capturing this photo.
I spent a few hours that afternoon driving and hiking around some nearby hills and finally decided on this perch. I set up my camera and tripod about an hour before kick-off and waited patiently for this colourful twilight. It was eerily quiet - just myself, the twinkling city lights and Len Dineen on commentary.
Shoppers of SuperValu in Castletroy Town Centre might recognise this photo as there is currently a large print of it just inside the store entrance.