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A thousand reasons
for living
Welcome to the world’s first photographic exhibition
by an amateur photographer based entire...
Introduction by Don Mullan
Section 1: Journey to Recovery (images 1-9)                                                                               ...
Section 2 - Part 2: In Search of Pelé - Brazil (images 13-18)                                                             ...
Section 4 - Faith & Compassion (images 24-30)                                                                             ...
Section 6: Children and Good People Along The Way (images 43-50)
Section 7: Sport for Development and Peace (images 51-53)                                                                 ...
Section 9: New Beginnings (images 56-59)                                                                                  ...
About Don Mullan
Don Mullan was born in Derry in 1956. He lives now in Dublin with his wife, Margaret, and three children,...
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Don Mullan's 'A Thousand Reasons for Living'

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Don Mullan's 'A Thousand Reasons for Living'

  1. A thousand reasons for living Welcome to the world’s first photographic exhibition by an amateur photographer based entirely on images on the Nokia N73 and N95 mobile telephones.
  2. Introduction by Don Mullan This exhibition records 60 moments during a two year journey. It also introduces the viewer to aspects of several projects It was my children who taught me how to use the camera on my old Nokia 6230 mobile phone. And it was a wonderful young and causes I am engaged in. woman from Nokia (Ireland), Aoife Byrne, with the support of her marketing manager, Sian Gray, who helped and encouraged The Equipment me to create this exhibition. I owe Aoife and Sian, and all their colleagues in Nokia, an enormous debt of gratitude. It is important to remember when viewing this exhibition that the photographs were taken by an untrained and amateur The years 2004-2006 will long be remembered by me as a time of great darkness. Mentally and emotionally I reached the photographer on two mobile telephones: the Nokia N73 (3.2 megapixel) and the Nokia N95 (5 megapixel), both equipped edge of a precipice which threatened to consume me as I suffered from a debilitating depression. Two thieves were robbing with Carl Zeiss Optics. Both mobile phones are now part of the exhibition and, as can be gleaned from their well worn me of my vitality for life – bitterness and worry. The first was about focusing on regrets and hurts from the recent past, the condition, they were, over two years, my work horses. The phones were not used for the exclusive purpose of taking other about all kinds of insecurity for the future. The present moment – the only moment worth living – was being squeezed photographs. That would have been cheating. I wished to test the versatility and dexterity of my Nokia mobile phones to death, literally. as I went about my busy schedule. The phones, therefore, were carried by me across the world, in every conceivable During what I now call my Nokia years, the cameras on my Nokia N73 and N95 taught me to be alert to the beauty of the climate and were used: to send and receive texts; make and receive telephone calls; as my alarm clock; as a diary, world that exists in the present moment. From a condition of quiet despair, my mobile telephones brought me back into the calendar, address book, notebook and Internet Explorer; to send and receive emails; as well as a camera and photo gallery. light. Now, several times a day I find myself taking sharp intakes of breath as I marvel at how light and colour can conspire to None of the images that you will see have been edited or enhanced in any way. turn the mundane into magic. One of my favourite pictures is a rose I photographed one morning in a neighbour’s garden while out walking. The early sun rays appeared to be absorbed, enabling the rose to glow from within. I love that rose for it is so symbolic of my journey to recovery and is why I have chosen it to open this exhibition. The rose is also symbolic of my favourite saint, Thérèse of Lisieux. Another favourite photograph is the teardrop I noticed early one morning in the Messines Ridge Cemetery in Flanders. It somehow captured my mood in the midst of the resting place of so many young men, ‘Known unto God’, from whom life had been senselessly stolen during World War I. In reality it was a leaf – bent by the weight of a dewdrop – enveloped by an early morning mist. Tears were the silent words that expressed the depth of pain and sadness I was feeling in that instant. I recalled the words of the American playwright Tennessee Williams: “Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.” I owed it to these young men to rediscover A Thousand Reasons for Living – and to rededicate my life to redeeming the wastage their six feet of manicured earth symbolised. 2 3
  3. Section 1: Journey to Recovery (images 1-9) Section 2- Part 1: Journey of Gratitude (images 10-12) Living in the present moment and being alert to the simple yet stunning beauty that surrounds us, if only we take time to look. My childhood hero was an Englishman – a great and a good Englishman – the Stoke City and England goalkeeper, Gordon Banks. It’s what saved me. Despite suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia, Gordon Banks taught me that Impossible doesn’t exist. He filled my Derry childhood with hope and imagination. My best friend, Shaunie McLaughlin, also had a hero – Pelé. We both wanted to be professional footballers and play for Ireland. It didn’t happen. Shaunie was killed in 1976, aged 21. But imagining we were Banks and Pelé made the dreams of our youth even better than the reality. In memory of those wonderful days, and discovering how unassuming and kind Gordon Banks is, I decided to honour my boyhood hero by creating the first monument in the western world to a goalkeeper. On the journey I was assisted by many friends, including two very special people, sculptor Andrew Edwards and former Republic of Ireland legend, Terry Conroy. And there was only one person to unveil it – Pelé! In the end we got two – Pelé and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. See? Impossible doesn’t exist! And, as we will see in Sections Seven and Eight, this journey created its own magic. Thank you Gordon Banks… 1. Morning Rose 2. My Brother’s Footprints 3. Abundance 4. Kimmage Rainbow 10. Good News 11. Andrew Edwards 12. King of ‘Keepers’ 5. Radiant Ring 6. Fire Over Dublin 7. Back Mirror 8. The Actress 9. Rebirth 4 5
  4. Section 2 - Part 2: In Search of Pelé - Brazil (images 13-18) Section 2 - Part 3: In Search of Pelé - New York (images 19-20) Reaching Pelé was no easy matter. I realised I needed to speak directly to his assistants. So, with the help of Nokia I travelled to “New York, New York, so good they named it twice.” As with Brazil, I could create an entire exhibition from photographs taken on Brazil and the USA, with my two best assets – determination and persistence – and the unfailing belief that Impossible doesn’t exist. I my Nokia N73 and N95 telephones, only about New York. Here are just two that capture the spontaneity, joy and recent tragic past didn’t meet Pelé until the unveiling but the journey was magical, especially Brazil… of New York. 13. Come to me 14. The Redeemer’s View 15. Rei of Rio 19. “So?” 20. Tattoo to Remember 21. Irish Drop In African Ocean 22. Pride and Dignity 23. African Beauty Section 3 - In Search of Desmond Tutu - Capetown (images 21-23) In November 2007 the Gordon Banks Monument Committee held an emergency meeting in London. There was only one item on the agenda – Plan B, Life without Pelé! While Pelé’s people had expressed interest, we could not get a definitive answer and time was running out. Almost always able to think myself out of a corner I suggested that since South Africa would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and since Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a personal friend since 1982, perhaps I could get him to unveil the Gordon Banks monument. The suggestion was unanimously accepted. The Archbishop cut short a visit to Hawaii and came to Stoke for three days! The photographs in this section incorporate images taken while volunteering with the Niall Mellon Township Trust. 16. Sun Biking 17. Triton’s Daughters - Before The Journey 18. Pelé of Maracanã 6 7
  5. Section 4 - Faith & Compassion (images 24-30) Section 5: The Healing Power of Nature and Creativity (images 31-42) The Banks Project wasn’t always plain sailing. During some difficult and discouraging days, when promised – or hoped for – The Healing Power of Nature is one of our greatest gifts, and it’s free. Human creativity is also a source of great healing and help disappeared and the weather even threatened to destroy the unveiling, I resorted to moments of stillness and tranquillity. wonderment. There are many pictures of nature and creativity throughout this exhibition. I hope you enjoy them as much as I found my strength being reenergised by people of steady faith, and in the faces of compassion. I enjoyed the experience of living the moment. These were moments of tranquillity, thanksgiving, respect and profound happiness. 24. Face Of Compassion 25. My Life Is My Message 31. Fullish Moon 32. The Chimes Of Nature 33. Liffey Lights 34. Reflecting Justice 26. Thérèse: Patron Of Aviators 27. Street Angel 28. Man Of Faith 29. Away With The Birds 30. Holy Rest 35. On A Wing And A Wire 36. Baltic Butterfly 37. Matterhorn Magic 38. China Dawn 8 9
  6. Section 6: Children and Good People Along The Way (images 43-50) About twenty years ago I was leaving New York City for the State Capitol, Albany. Someone remarked, “Why are you going there? More than anything, I hope these images encourage us to cherish the gift of the Earth, set as it is in the immensity of the Cosmos. It’s boring!” I replied, “I don’t go to places, I go to people, and I’ve never found people boring.” And as with my visit to Albany, For that reason, enjoy too the picture of the moon taken from our back garden in Dublin, by letting my Nokia phone look through on this journey I visited no boring places for always I met good people and beautiful children who graced my life with joy, the eyepiece of my telescope. kindness and generosity – and some with sadness. 39. Horse Whisperer 40. The Great Wall 45. World Record 41. Monaghan’s Phoenix - Mullan Village 46. Nicky Byrne - A Nice Young Man 47. African Art 43. Touching Gold 44. Carl Mullan meets Karl Mullen 42. Sun Valley 48. Snooze Before School 49. Beach Angel 50. The Youngest And Last 10 11
  7. Section 7: Sport for Development and Peace (images 51-53) Section 8: Completion (images 54-55) In the course of this project, three great passions of my life began to converge: Sport – World Development – and Peace. A major part of my journey was to honour my boyhood hero, Gordon Banks, with the first monument in the western world to a I was deeply touched by the story of the 1914 Christmas Truce when ordinary soldiers, on both sides of the Trenches, laid down goalkeeper. It culminated on 12th July 2008 in the city of Stoke-on-Trent when the great Pelé and Archbishop Tutu came to unveil their arms and crossed No Mans land to exchange gifts, bury their dead, sing songs and play football. the statue. At the unveiling Pelé told a large gathering of journalists: “In my career I scored over 1000 goals. But the goal that people remember is the one I didn’t score!” He was referring, of course, to Gordon Banks’ miracle save from his unstoppable header during In August 2008 I travelled to Flanders in the hope of identifying the location of the famous football game between British (Scottish) the 1970 Mexico World Cup. and German soldiers, which traditions says the Germans won 3-2. Now, with Irish, British, Belgium, French, South African and Brazilian friends, we are developing The Christmas Truce Project, of which a central theme will be The Flanders Peace Field. It will be a field where young people from Europe and around the world will play sport and reflect on the lessons of that extraordinary Christmas Truce of World War I for our world today. 55. Saving the Nation 56. Maracanã – Where Pelé scored his 1000th 54. The Holy Trinity – Tutu/Bank/Pelé 51. Remembering the 52. Tear for 53. A Meal in Malta 57. “Sorry Pele!” 58. P for Pelé 59. The Little Princess Christmas Truce – 1914 the Trenches 12 13
  8. Section 9: New Beginnings (images 56-59) Postscript A month before the unveiling in Stoke a package arrived from Hospital Pequeno Príncipe (the Little Prince Hospital), Curitiba, Christmas Stories Brazil, with a letter from Dr. José Álvaro Carneiro – a letter that would change the direction of my life. It began, “PELÉ, our main sponsor, gave us your contact.” The Little Prince Hospital, which takes its name from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novel In November 2007, Irish Author, John Scally, asked me to help him publish a collection of Christmas ‘The Little Prince’, is the largest paediatric hospital in Latin America. It responds to the health needs of over 250,000 children stories with illustrations by acclaimed artist Don Conroy. The purpose was to raise funds for the Mayo per year. I have since visited the hospital twice and I can state, without fear of contradiction, it is one of the best children’s Roscommon Hospice. Already into the 2nd week of November and with Christmas looming fast, I decided hospitals in the world. In 2005, Pelé agreed to assist the hospital. With his enthusiastic support the Little Prince Hospital that I would speed-up the process by photographing the images on my Nokia N95 Mobile phone. When my established the Pelé Little Prince Research Institute. “It is,” Pelé declared at its opening, “the accomplishment of a dream that designer and printer learned of my intentions they were aghast, convinced the quality would be inferior started in 1969”. Pelé was referring to his 1000th goal, scored on 19 November 1969, at Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, and attract the ire of Don Conroy. Undeterred, I sent the images I had taken and, much to their surprise, which he dedicated to the children of Brazil. they acknowledged the quality was of a high standard. The book was published on schedule and sold out. We now believe, subject to correction, that we have Dr Carneiro was seeking my help with a television advertisement promoting sets of medals created by the Brazilian Mint, produced the first illustrated book in the world, in which high quality colour commemorating each of the 1283 goals scored by Pelé during his illustrious career, to help raise much needed funds for the illustrations have been reproduced, with the aid of a mobile telephone. Pelé Little Prince Research Institute. The idea was to begin the advertisement, not with Pelé scoring goals, but with Gordon Banks’ miracle save in the 1970 Mexico World Cup. They hoped that I might be able to persuade the great Banksy to appear The League in the advertisement apologising to Pelé for making the save! By now I was a firm and trusted friend of my boyhood hero The League is one of the UK’s leading soccer magazines with extensive readerships in South Africa and he readily agreed to assist, especially since it was about helping children. I was Executive Producer on the making of the and the United Arab Emirates. In its April 2009 edition (Issue 15), it carried an article about Pelé Advertisement, which is also part of this Exhibition. At a dinner in Curitiba, Brazil, on Thursday 26 March 2009, I was presented which included photographs taken by me on the Nokia N95, including one that appeared on the to Pelé as the first European Ambassador of the Little Prince Hospital. “I am happy you are part of the team,” Pele told me. front cover. This is yet another demonstration of the capabilities of the mobile phone. “As they say in football – ‘keep the ball rolling’.” That day and the next I flew from and to Sao Paulo with Pelé in a small six seater aircraft. There were moments when I was Sales of limited edition prints in this Exhibition will support the Christmas Truce literally pinching myself, hardly able to believe where I was. I kept thinking back to those special boyhood days in Derry when, and Flanders Peace Field Project and the following good causes: with my best friend, Shaunie, we fantasised about being Banks and Pelé. Those six degrees of separation back then had, somehow, evaporated. Unbelievably, I had become friends of both. The journey continues… and genuinely, thanks to my two • Thérèse, Tattoo to Remember and ‘So?’ – Mercy Global Concern at the UN • Touching Gold and Beach Angel – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin wonderful Nokia Years, my health is restored and I have rediscovered A Thousand Reasons for Living! • The Youngest and the Last – to help Millvina Dean, the last living • Face of Compassion and The Great Wall – Children in Crossfire survivor of the Titanic, to pay her nursing home bills in Southampton • Pride and Dignity – to provide scholarships in South Africa for the • Morning Rose, Malta Meal and Kimmage Rainbow – the work of Trocaire Lakey twin girls who have the ambition of becoming doctors • Abundance, Radiant Ring and Liffey Lights – the work of Concern • Irish Drop in African Ocean and The Actress – the Niall Mellon Worldwide Township Trust • The Little Princess, Nicky Byrne and ‘Sorry Pele!’ • The Holy Trinity – Tutu/Bank/Pelé, My Brother’s Footprints and African – The Pelé Little Prince Hospital, Curitiba, Brazil Beauty – the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu 14 15
  9. About Don Mullan Don Mullan was born in Derry in 1956. He lives now in Dublin with his wife, Margaret, and three children, Thérèse, Carl and Emma. As a schoolboy goalkeeper, Don’s boyhood hero was the great England goalkeeper, Gordon Banks. Mullan witnessed Bloody Sunday at the age of fifteen. His involvement with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights movement led to work on civil and human rights issues around the world. In 1980 he became Director of AFrI (Action From Ireland), a Dublin-based justice, peace and human rights organisation. He later worked as a volunteer in Brazil, and spent two years with Concern Worldwide. In 1994 he attended the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela as the guest of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In 1993 Mullan learned that he is dyslexic but pursued a career as writer and investigative journalist. His book Eyewitness Bloody Sunday (1997, 2nd ed. 2002) was a catalyst for re-opening the public inquiry in 1998, and inspired the award-winning movie, Bloody Sunday (2002). Mullan has been a co-producer and associate producer on two other award-winning movies, Omagh (2005) and Five Minutes of Heaven (2009). In 2002 he received the ‘Defenders of Human Dignity Award’ from the International League for Human Rights at the United Nations. In 2007 he became a Nokia Ambassador and in March 2009 he was named the first European Ambassador of the Pelé Little Prince Hospital, Curitiba, Brazil. This is his first photographic exhibition which showcases the imaging capabilities of the Nokia N73 and N95 mobile phones which features Carl Zeiss optics, one of the largest manufacturers of digital cameras in the world. The images were taken during Mullan’s humanitarian and peace work in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas during 2007-2009. The Exhibition, titled ‘A Thousand Reasons for Living’, tells the story of what Mullan calls his ‘Nokia Years’ during which he recorded his journey across the globe on his mobile phones. The viewer will, we hope, be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images. And, we hope, will be equally delighted by Mullan’s eye for a picture that captures the spontaneity of everyday life, as well as capturing powerfully emotional moments that tell their own heart felt story.

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    Apr. 22, 2009
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