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Book review: Great Thinkers (The School of Life)

Great Thinkers is a compilation of 60 short essays — about 1,500 to 3,000 words each — published by The School of Life, which dedicates itself to “developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture”. It describes the book as a volume of some of the most important ideas of Eastern and Western culture, drawn from the works of philosophers, political theorists, sociologists, artists, and novelists “whom we believe have the most to offer us today”.

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Developing an esprit de corps to transform health and social care services

Developing an esprit de corps to transform health and social care services
by Allan LEONARD
4 April 2019

I delivered the following speech at a presentation on Integrated Care Partnerships, at a conference event, “Transformation: Paving the Way Forward”, organised by the Northern Ireland Healthcare Leadership Form (NIHLF):

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@MrUlster @NorthernSlant Essays Photography

Decisive moments at Belfast City Hospital

Decisive moments at Belfast City Hospital: A street photography exhibition by Tuck GOH
by Allan LEONARD
17 January 2019

At the Tower Gallery in City Hospital, I arrived with some time to spare in advance of the official start of an exhibition of street photography by Tuck Goh. I took a seat and watched passers-by — staff, patients, and visitors. There was a flow of activity not unlike that portrayed in some of the framed images hanging in front of me. Such images are captured with a camera eye trained to capture “the decisive moment”. I’m interrupted by a young woman pushing a young girl — seven or eight years old — in a specialist wheelchair, between me and an image of another younger girl outdoors with her parents. Snapshots of life wherever you look for it.

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@MrUlster @NorthernSlant Essays Photography

SEVERE: Interview with Martin SEEDS

SEVERE: Interview with Martin SEEDS
by Allan LEONARD
5 November 2018

A new body of work by Belfast-born artist, Martin Seeds, has just been shown as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe. The works are an extension of Seeds’ application of landscape and allegory. Or put another way, our political landscape — literally and figuratively.

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@MrUlster Essays Photography

Wheelchair Mum

I had a couple of hours to pass while waiting for my new spectacles to be fitted. Walking about Belfast city centre, I captured a few moments of street photography.

But I missed the image of the day.

Approaching Donegall Place from Castle Lane, suddenly a woman in a wheelchair, aged in her 30s, turned the corner while pushing a pram with her left hand. She was moving with speed.

This startled me; I never saw this feat before.

She whizzed past me before I could react by pulling out my phone to take a photo. I turned my head and continued to watch her, now switching hands to maintain momentum.

I let myself be inspired by this mother’s determination.

I also took my phone out of my pocket and continued my journey, now better prepared for the next unexpected decisive moment.

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Book review: A Job to Love (The School of Life)

Book review: A Job to Love (The School of Life)
by Allan LEONARD
28 April 2018

I acquired A Job to Love by The School of Life (founder and chairman, Alain DE BOTTON) when I had pretty much decided to enter the job market of the freelancer. So perhaps this read was for self-affirmation.

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Two minutes with Allan LEONARD

Two minutes with Allan LEONARD
by Allan LEONARD
24 April 2018

Want to find out more about the Northern Slant team? Every week we put 10 questions to our community of contributors – about them, their interests and hopes for Northern Ireland’s future. This week’s interviewee is Allan Leonard. You can follow Allan on Twitter @MrUlster.

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@MrUlster Essays Photography

SmugMug+Flickr: An espirit de corps?

SmugMug+Flickr: An esprit de corps?
by Allan LEONARD
21 April 2018

Flickr has announced that it is being acquired by SmugMug. At least that provides an answer to the question of what would happen next, after Flickr was spared the sunsetting list but not endorsed like Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr. And a better outcome than Yahoo shuttering Flickr altogether.

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@MrUlster Essays Photography

Film review: Photo City

Film review: Photo City
by Allan LEONARD
13 April 2018

Photo City is a documentary film by John Murphy and Traolach Ó Murchú, about the story of Rochester, New York, becoming the Silicon Valley of photography, with the clustering of image-based companies such as Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and Kodak. And how this industry has defined this city and its people, even after the demise of the film producing great, Kodak.

It is a story of photography and society.

The documentarians do a fine job covering the breath of photography. The community photographer. The Facebook posterer. The musician/writer/photographer artist. The advertising man. The photojournalist. The teacher. The student. The inventor. The shop floor worker. The museum archivist.

The act of photography permeates the social fabric of the city’s neighbourhoods, across economic status, vocations, and generations.

We learn about the rise and fall of Kodak in particular, who was a dominant employer. Indeed, its annual bonus cheques would generate even more consumption and wealth for local businesses. So as is the case anywhere where a lead company shrinks, so did the prosperity of Rochester with the demise of Kodak.

But the film strikes a chord of optimism. As one participant said, “The fall of Kodak has unleashed talent to do other things.” And we are presented with how the city still attracts and retains those intrigued about photography and image making.

Photo City is a humanist film. It tells the stories of the people behind the camera.

As the photojournalist explained, “The camera is just a tool. What needs to be perfect is the subject matter to evoke an emotional response.”

This is followed by two further deeply impacting stories.

The final scene brings the wider community together, which I found to be both celebratory but also tinged with nostalgia — can the unleashed talent sustain what must be one of the most image conversant populations in America?

The film will next be screened at the One Take Film Festival in Rochester, New York. You can follow Photo City on Twitter and Facebook.

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Ephemera to direct our future: Introduction to the Peter Moloney Collection

Ephemera to direct our future: Introduction to the Peter Moloney Collection
by Allan LEONARD
10 April 2018

Peter Moloney, who collected Troubles-related ephemera for over 50 years, presented a personal lecture on how it began, why he decided to donate it all to the Tower Museum, and how he’ll keep on collecting.

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Coming to terms with our interdependencies #GFA20

Coming to terms with our interdependencies #GFA20
by Allan LEONARD
10 April 2018

On the 20th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, it is easy to neglect the peace process that preceded it. My reference point is the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, because I learned about the efforts of then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald the year before, from a magazine article that I read in a local library in my rural hometown in Ohio. I knew then that what he was working on was important.

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@MrUlster @NorthernSlant Essays Photography

Photo Detectives: An exhibition of community-researched Irish photo history

Photo Detectives: An exhibition of community-researched Irish photo history
by Allan LEONARD
6 January 2018

Photo Detectives is an exhibition by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) at its National Photographic Archive site in Dublin, of a set of archive images that online Flickr users have assisted with research and providing illuminating further information.