Resonate in The Gallery of Photography, Dublin : exhibition review

Lost Conscious, The Kings and Queens of Somehwere - Image Credit : Sean Jackson

The exhibition Resonate is held in the Gallery of Photography, in temple Bar, Dublin 2, since the 12th of March and until the 29th of March. It tackles the theme of Irish fashion photography. The Gallery of Photography is a non-for-profit organisation, established in Dublin since 1978 and supported by the Arts Council and the Dublin City Council. The Gallery presents a programme of free exhibitions with leading names in Irish and international contemporary photography. This place is the premier venue for photography in Ireland. Resonate is an exhibition produced in a partnership between the Gallery of Photography and ID215, a government initiative whose goal is to promote Irish design in Ireland and internationally, all along this year.

The exhibition presents the work of 23 Irish fashion photographers: Mike Bunn, Neil Gavin, Alen MacWeeney, Rich Gilligan, Niall O’ Brien, Linda Brownlee, Leonn Ward, Garreth McConnell, Boo Gorge, Ross McDonnell, Nick & Chloe, Perry Ogden, Barry McCall, Andrew Nuding, Sean Jackson, Sarah Doyle, Peter Rowan, Liam Murphy, Conor Clinch, Lee Malone, Eilish McCormick, Josh Gordon, Sean & Yvette and Johnny McMillan.

Resonate - Gallery of Photography - Image credit : Emeline Paillasseur
Resonate – Gallery of Photography – Image credit : Emeline Paillasseur

Resonate is held in a large white room in which there is about 20 pictures, in a quite small format (A3), on the walls. There is also another smaller room, which is much more dark, with less light, and there is only 4 pictures in this one.

The exhibition is quite small because there is not a lot of pictures but it’s is really interesting because while you arrive in the first room you can have a nice overview of almost all the work exposed. Then when you look closer every picture is really different from the other and you can identify the different styles and inspirations of the photographers.

Even if it is an exhibition about the work of fashion photographers, you don’t see any pictures as the ones in fashion magazines. Resonate proves that fashion photography can be timeless and personal; it shows the artistic sides of this pictures. The themes tackled in the artist’s works are mainly their own perception on fashion collections, textiles, locations, landscape, culture, models and climate.

Lost Conscious, The Kings and Queens of Somehwere - Image Credit : Sean Jackson
Lost Conscious, The Kings and Queens of Somehwere – Image Credit : Sean Jackson

All the pictures are hanged on the walls at the same level, all the more; each one of them highlights at least one character, posing in an outside or inside set. All these similarities give a very appreciable overall idea of the exhibition, in the first time. At the first look it seems that every picture have been taken by the same photographer, but when you look closer you can see that the atmospheres are really different from a picture to another. We can divide the works exposed in Resonate in three categories: close up portraits, full portraits and abstract representations. Most of the paintings are taken in outside, and the atmosphere is emphasized with bright colours and daily light. Otherwise some of the pictures are in black and white, with a quite cold atmosphere.

All of these models seems to symbolize the young Irish generation: all of them are young, mysterious, beautiful and unique. Even if it is a fashion photography exhibition, the clothes are not the central piece of the pictures : the faces and the body are way more important. The clothes seem to be there only to reveal the beauty of the bodies; to show how the wind or the water makes the fabric moves. The make up and hairstyle are only accessories to bring some lights, colour and shapes to the models.

There are no dates on the pictures. It gives the impression that fashion photography is timeless. Even if fashion is very time-limited, and the trends are really shorts, fashion photography is not. A black and white picture of a beautiful young woman in a printed mini-skirt could have been taken in the seventies or last year. That doesn’t matter, what is important is how fashion photography resonates with the viewer’s imagination.

Image Credit : Perry Ogden
Image Credit : Perry Ogden

To conclude, this exhibition is very interesting, it shows the work of leadings names in Irish fashion photography and proves that fashion photography is way more than glitter and anorexic models: it is real art. I love the way of how the whole exhibition creates an harmony, every picture is very different from the others but all of them together are creating a very interesting and appealing whole.

On the other side, and because there is always something to criticise, I deplore that the exhibition is so small, there is only 20 pictures exposed. It is so beautiful, so once you are at the Gallery you really want to see more, so I was quite disappointed when I understood that in a quick 15 minutes I had already seen all of the works.

All the more the design of the exhibition is really sobre, and this is a good thing because it let you admire the pictures without any distraction, but for the viewers who are, as I am, novices in the art of photography, some explanations would have been welcomed, like the date of the picture, or the context.

Otherwise I recommend everyone to go to the Gallery of Photography to see this exhibition because it offers a fresh look on the work of fashion photographers and because some of the models in the portraits are still haunting me.

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