Brian is an Irish photographer with his latest body of work concerned with the West of Ireland – the way it’s idealised and used as an inspirational symbol to influence Irish audiences and to sell Ireland abroad. It was sparked by his return to live in rural Ireland in 2012. He is currently preparing an exhibition of the work in the public library in Ballina, Co. Mayo. It will run for two weeks with the opening night taking place on the 31st May with an artist’s talk and all are welcome! The work has also been featured in the PhotoIreland Photography Festival 2018.
We asked Brian to tell us more about his featured series.
“Historically, the landscape of the West of Ireland has been regarded as an inspirational symbol for audiences here in Ireland as well as abroad. During times of uncertainty it has been a symbol that we, as a nation, have continually returned to for comfort and reassurance. In 2012 I returned to live in the West of Ireland where I found a society that was reeling from the post Celtic-Tiger era crash. The future seemed very uncertain with constant threats to the economic and social fabric of the state.
Around this time the Irish tourist board began to run a concerted advertising campaign for the now ubiquitous Wild Atlantic Way. The Wild Atlantic Way is a registered trade mark that was established to brand and market Ireland. The images used in the campaign have a distinctly romantic rhetoric that continue a well established narrative about the West of Ireland.
This work explores and questions that narrative and how it shapes different perspectives on the West and on Ireland itself.”
To see more of Brian’s work, visit briancooneyphotography.net
All images and text © Brian Cooney