The photographics that make up the exhibition 'Beyond the Dolls House' have been selected from work, both commercial and creative, over twelve years. The series includes photographs published in national publications and select works from previous projects.
In all my work, my methodology involves a hands-on approach. I often will make the set and operate as art director. Shot in the studio, elements such as lighting, props and furnishings are carefully chosen. The studio is, for me, a stage set where an interaction between photographer and sitter can occur.
This interaction is a central element of my practice. My approach is to engage directly with the personality and presence of the sitter. Rather than objectifying the subject, I focus on their strength of character, humor and personal charisma. For me, a communication must exist when making the portrait but the image itself must convey this experience to the viewing audience. This unpredictable element is a key to the success of the work. I feel a responsibility for the subject, to ensure that the trust established in the studio carries through to the exhibition or publication of the image.
This retrospective includes self-initiated project ‘A Precious Item’. Here I met with female refugees from Africa. Working with a large format film camera, the images were shot in a makeshift studio set up in the corner of a canteen at the center where they lived. These subjects had fled their homeland to escape war and social instability, many escaping with just their life. I asked them to bring an object, clothing or item of personal significance that reminds them of the home they had fled. The project had a personal relevance for me as it related to my own experience of fleeing domestic violence. In this sense, I wanted to create an empowering and safe space for them to engage with their personal history.
Another project ‘All That Glister is not Gold’ is a series of images considering the impact of mental health issues. The works invoke common expressions as a way to explore the experience of those who live with such challenges. Diagnosed with OCD in 2004 I have engaged directly with the personal disruption and the lack of societal understanding of mental health issues. By employing common sayings the work reaches out to a wider audience.
The exhibition contains images selected from many phases of my own journey as an image-maker. The common theme that runs through the works is an exploration of character and dynamics of female experience. My work communicates hope to the viewer, that through the challenges of life the indomitable spirit of the individual can resonate.
The money I am asking for in this Fund it campaign will go towards all the printing and framing, and a catalogue for the exhibition.
I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this and fund it.
Opening on the 8th of March - International Women’s Day at St Patrick’s Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8