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A friend suggested I should also include a blog to my website, So here I am, my first blog, be kind (lol)
Photography is not new to me or it isn’t something I just picked up.

In fact, photography has been apart of my life since I was 15-16 years old.
As mentioned in the about me section of this website, it was my business studies teacher who got me into photography, was not any good at business studies so he handed me a camera one day and told me basically have some fun with it.

This was back in 1996- maybe 1995,

I returned the camera after filling up the reel of film and taught no more of it, to be honest, I was a teenager, was not taking life seriously back then.
A few days later the same teacher called me to the side of the classroom and was holding a handful of images, ” James some of these are amazing, one in particular, and I would like to enter it into the all Ireland photography competition”

Sure Sir, whatever, work away, was my reply,

The teacher in his own right was an amazing photographer also, photographing everything possible in our county of cork, Football matches, black tie events, working for the newspapers, he was shooting everything so he knew a thing or two about this whole photography game, me on the other hand, knew nothing about it.
The picture he entered went onto WIN!!!,

Macroom Castle @Sunset

At the age of 16.

I am now taking photography seriously and shooting communions and christenings in my local town, settings, exposure, aperture, lighting, what is going on (lol). Reading photography books replaced school books.

I was thrown into the world of photography, learning as I went along.

For the next two years.

Photography was all I knew back then. Bought my own camera and 2 lenses and I was off. Photographing everything, Portraits, landscapes, macro, You name it, I was shooting it.

But then school finished and I turned 18. Was not going to college, and photography back then unless you were employed by the papers or had a studio, it was then all seasonal work.

Once a year communions and confirmations, so it started to take a back seat and I started an apprenticeship in cabinet making.

Don’t get me wrong here guys,

I loved photography as a 16-year-old, Loved it even more as an 18-year-old. But I didn’t have the funds to start a studio and start dreaming a life of photography was for me. I had to take up as they call it a real job back then. Worked as a cabinet maker for 4 years here in Ireland left to America worked in America framing up houses and loved every minute of that,

Overlooking all of Macroom taking 13-05-2020

I came back home and started back at cabinet making for a company and was doing great.
But such is life it can be so cruel and so amazing at times, the next few years were tough, really tough. I think the next part is important that I just remain telling you the truth, no matter how difficult it may be for me, but because it just might help someone out there reading this.
My 14-year-old baby sister sadly passed away and I didn’t take that well,
Became a father had all the worries of that now, but I absolutely love being a DAD, greatest gift ever !!!.

Then a few years pass by and my older brother passes away before he reached 40, now making me the oldest of the siblings,
Honestly, in my own mind, I believed I was handling that well.

Yes it was a huge shock, and yes we were very close, but I honestly believed I was handling it rather well.

I was not !!

My mind was messed up and I was plunged into a kind of darkness that I tried so hard to escape but I could not.

I was 32, and everything changed really. Will just say this much, it was not a very nice place to be and I was most certainly not the same guy, The same outgoing, love to chat, type of guy,

I needed to escape this.

Guess that’s my way of telling you lightly.

I needed to escape this darkness now that surrounded me.
Mentally I guess I was broken. But spiritually I had a lot of fight left in me. Knew I needed to escape what I was going through. But never knew it was going to be one hell of a fight.

Maybe out of luck I came across my old camera. Sitting there, unused for so long and it was calling me.

I just took it and headed out at sunset. Walked through fields towards the sun as it was setting, and stopped, started to take pictures again.

Look I am not going to be foolish here. And say I know exactly what was going on right there in that field watching the sunset.

I was back taken images again. I was at ease. My mind was at rest, and I was not worrying about Life or anything other than exposing for the sunset.

That one hour,

Maybe one hour and a half, standing in a field with my camera, showed me the way out of this darkness,
It was 2008 and now the whole world was plunged into a recession.

Like give us a break.


Out of work, but I had my Camera.

The hunger to take photos, landscapes, portraits, everything, and anything came flying back to me.

But it is all digital now, lightroom and photoshop, I needed to learn it all,
Bought a new digital camera, canon DSLR 6d, bought a few lenses and I was out, out every day,
Watching youtube videos daily no matter where I was, learning how to edit on the go.
Out every evening capturing sunsets and out most mornings capturing sunrises. Anything going on in my hometown I was photographing it,

Slowly but surely that darkness started to fade away.

Not lying here I was out every day taking images and finding my escape,
No time at all. I was winning awards again online, and within a few years I was starting to get work as a Photographer,
Yayyyyy !!! Slowly crawling my way out of what I call the darkness. Because I couldn’t see any light or a way through back then,
Don’t get me wrong. I have bad days and that dark cloud is never too far away, But I know how to deal with it now,


I spent a lot of time looking at wedding photography images and started to talk to wedding Photographers.

I wanted to make the leap into wedding photography, but I was scared and doubting myself,
Mentally could I handle going back under so much pressure,
I didn’t know!!
Had an amazing friend who is also one of the very best wedding photographers in the country. Tell me I should be making this leap into the wedding industry. He reassured me my work was amazing and I would have no problems handling the workload.

Fairy Garden Macroom


Staring at the laptop screen,

I decided it was better to stop wondering if I could do it and just go ahead and do it. I registered JOD’Photography as a business and booked my first wedding.
The morning of that wedding, getting dressed at home early in the am hours of the morning,

I was not scared or nervous as much as I thought I would be. Once I arrived and started taking pictures. Again it all went away. All the worries and stress just got up and left me. I was in my happy place and I was shooting my first wedding.

Guess here I am, a landscape photographer turned wedding photographer, and loving every minute of it.

Love the fact I came into the wedding industry as a landscape photographer. Having the ability to see the landscape in which I want to place my couple. That comes second nature to me. I can see the beauty of an amazing landscape and know what works best when I am shooting the weddings,

It is 2020 now.

Weddings and events for the year are all but cancelled due to this covid19. But it has given me the chance to head back out and recaptured my love for landscapes. After a busy few years shooting weddings,
Can’t wait to go back and start shooting events again. But, for now, I am as I have always been. Passionate about photography, you just never stop learning in this game,
If you were to ask me what is my style of wedding photography. Then it would be a creative, cinematic, artistic style of beautiful photography.

So, guys, this is my first blog. This is the truth, didn’t want to sugar coat anything I was to write, Stay safe

Gougane Barra http://www.gouganebarrahotel.com/

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all the images in this blog and on my website have been taking by myself and are subject to copyright,

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