COROFIN’S Kenneth O’Halloran was among the winners at the recent Press Photographers Association of Ireland awards.
Kenneth took second place in the Reportage category for a series of images of men working in their gardens just after lockdown hit.
The Judges report said, “We really loved this picture story, shot in a very direct documentary style, the photographer pounded the pavements of suburbia, hunting lockdown man in his garden managing to connect the visual threads with humour and a touch of the surreal. Wonderful idea and an absolutely delightful set of images.”
Speaking about the work, Kenneth said that while he had started off taking pictures of deserted streets, he soon tried to get something a little different. “With Instagram you can see that what you think is a really interesting idea has been photographed by most people. So I was looking for something else, I hit the suburbs and spent three or four weeks walking around the housing estates of Dublin. I started to look closely at various different things and you see patterns develop. There were lots of people gardening, lots of ladders, lots of empty seats, toys strewn around, that’s what I concentrated on. Just to make patterns and series out of them. I also photographed images as well, that was the series of images, older men and their gardens, I probably photographed 15 to 20 of those.”
He did the work off his own bath, with more usual activity gone off the agenda for photographers. “It was quiet at the time. I felt that I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t go out and make work when I was looking back in a few years’ time. At least I have some representation of something historic, the first lockdown. I have all the other stuff as well, Dublin in lockdown, the empty streets, that kind of thing.”
The last year has been a quiet time for many photographers, including Kenneth.”A lot of the work I do is corporate, PR work. There’s some journalistic work, but it depends on large groups of people gathering together, so it has been quiet. It has been very quiet for a lot of photographers. With the decline of the newspaper industry the last couple of years have seen less and less journalistic work but more and more work on the corporate PR end. But ironically over the last year there has been more work for newspaper photographers and a lot less work for corporate photographers.”
A former pupil of the Christian Brothers in Ennis, Kenneth is a graduate of the IADT and has a Masters in Fine Art Photography from the University of Ulster, while he has won numerous awards including a World Press Photo Award. He has exhibited his work at numerous venues such as the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.