Enda Cavanagh is an award winning associate member of the Irish Professional Photographer's Association and one of the leading architecture and fine art landscape photographers in Ireland. Recently he was awarded architectural photographer of the year at the IPPA awards and last year he won best single landscape image shortly after joining the IPPA.
The photographer had exhibited in several galleries, including twice in the IEPA Photography exhibition in Japan, twice in the Royal Hibernian Academy annual exhibition in Dublin and currently in the Centre of Photographic Art in Carmel California.
Tell us about something about you?
I started taking taking photos when I was about 13 or 14 when I got a camera as a christmas present from my uncle. I was addicted to my new hobby immediately. I grew up in rural Ireland and have always felt a strong connection to the land. I am drawn to the rugged beauty of Ireland and discover a great sense of peace in our environment. I found myself taking photos of the rural landscape around me where I grew up and self educated my self in the art of photography. For many years photography was my hobby. However professionally I worked in architecture for about 16 years of my life. As my skills as a photographer grew, at some stage I decided to set up a website with the aim of selling my landscape prints and during the time when the website was under construction, just by chance I was asked by my than employers - Henry J. Lyons architects to photograph one of their architectural projects. They are one of the largest architectural firms in Ireland. They were impressed by the photos I took and based on that one shoot, I decided to take the plunge and invested in a high end medium format digital and view camera system. My plans evolved and since than I gave up my life in architecture and now work full time as an architectural and fine art landscape photographer.
What’s your creative process like?
For me to shoot something, I have to feel a real connection with the subject matter, whether it be a landscape or architectural subject. It has to get under my skin. When shooting something I become very aware of my surroundings and my peripheral vision goes into over drive. I become acutely aware of the different elements which make up the scene and what will make a good photo. I quite often shoot panoramics, which are achievable using my architectural view camera. These images are actually composed of 2 images stitched together. When I take the 2 shots, I am literally only seeing half the scene on the LCD screen on my camera, so I have to visualize what the final result will be like. It is really when you see these panoramics in a large size that you get the feeling that you are actually there. This is also possible with the very high resolution of my camera so the final result is a very sharp image.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
Although the Irish are a very friendly and fun nation, we are quite melancholic and chaotic at times. I find this is quite often reflected in the Irish countryside. I was always attracted to the melancholic beauty of the west. This gradually transcended into my fascination with man made structures appearing in the rural and urban landscape. I began to appreciate how essential the presence of man is to our understanding of our environment and sought to capture the tension implicit in the emergence of beauty from the detritus of our existence. I challenge our comprehension of beauty by asking us at what point does age become attractive. I strive to help the viewer perceive the dynamic nature of the country we inhabit and cast a cold, challenging eye upon the traditional interpretations of the Irish Landscape. Because of my experience in architecture I guess I have a strong appreciation of form and this has very much influenced my style of architectural and landscape photography. I believe that all 3 have complimented each other very well. I have used these influences to help communicate the themes I mentioned above, especially in my most recent images, taken along the coast in Dublin, where I show old man made structures sitting in the urban landscape.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
The main piece of advice is to be true to yourself and to open your mind to the creative process. When learning photography it doesn't matter if you take bad photos. It's only from these that you can improve. It's very important to be your harshest critic and to learn from your mistakes. As long as you keep challenging your self you will always feel passionate about photography. As long as you are passionate that's the main thing.
What can you tell us about your latest publication?
For some time I have wanted to publish a book of my favorite images of the Irish landscape. I wanted to produce a book that showed a side of Ireland that is lacking from other more mainstream Irish Landscape Photography Books, which I believe often contain just factual photos of places rather than something which really captures the heart and soul of our country. I quite often shoot a scene which is not instantly recognizable and many of my photos tell a story. I like to challenge the viewers concept of Ireland and make them think.
I am delighted to say the book is a 100% Irish produced and printed product. It was completely designed by my partner Zofia and I. Zofia is also an architect and because of our architectural backgrounds we have a good understanding of graphic design. It was self published my myself and it was printed in Galway by a fantastic printing company called Castle Print. I didn't even approach a publisher because I felt other Irish landscape photography books were often designed badly, printed to a low standard. I wanted complete control over the content and to step away from the twee subject matter that you often see in Irish landscape photography books.
Since releasing the book it has ballooned into something I never imagined. A lot of people relate to the book I guess. It got a lot of very positive media coverage and is now distributed to book shops all around Ireland. It can also be bought on my website www.endacavanagh.com where I ship internationally. After my book launch in Brussels it will become available in Waterstones, the English shop. I am starting to target markets around the world where I think my book will be well received.
I feel very optimistic about the future and it just goes to show that dreams can also become a reality even in the current climate in Ireland where you hear nothing but doom and gloom about our current recession.
Thank you very much Mr. Enda Canavagh for your time to answer in such a delicate way on our questions, and for sharing with us some details, and pictures of your latest book, that we recommended to any landscape photographer.