I’ve been inside city hall lots of times over the years for various reasons, from networking events to gala balls and dinners. However I’ve never been in the council chambers, the business end of city hall.
The main chamber features two rows of banked seating where the local councillors take their seats and discuss the topics of the day. The public are permitted to visit and there are two galleries just above the main chamber to accommodate those that want to sit in during council sessions.
As a photographer I wasn’t immediately able to just walk in and start taking photos. Whilst I had permission from Nuala to be in the council chambers I had to speak with several other members of staff as well to keep everything above board. Members of the media are not usually allowed in to capture what goes on without a lot of prior notice.
I explained to those that questioned my intent that my project was just focusing on Nuala. I wasn’t there to photograph anyone but the Mayor. I explained that I would gather several wide images that would show people sitting in the council chamber but none of the shots would be close ups of anyone but the Mayor and maybe Deputy Mayor.
I was restricted in my movements whilst on the main floor of the council chambers. I was allowed to move behind the councillors on either side of the room but had to stay out of the centre space. These restrictions didn’t hold me back too much as I was still able to get into position to get enough shots.
In a bid to try and not disrupt the activities of the council chamber during my visit I opted to shoot again without flash. This isn’t my normal approach. If I ever cover an event of any kind I have multiple lights set up around the room to ensure even coverage and sharp images. Shooting without flash is hard as you’ve to increase ISO, decrease shutter speeds and open apertures as wide as possible.