It is a real pleasure for me to be tasked with the honour of opening this Photographic Exhibition titled “Time Flies”, showcasing a series of Limited Edition, archival photographic prints of the awe-inspiring Connemara Landscape by Owen O’Connor.
The timing of this exhibition, to coincide with the 100 year celebrations here in Clifden of the historic Alcock & Brown Transatlantic Flight is fitting; those two aviation pioneers broke new ground, literally, in achieving the first non-stop, transatlantic flight.
As a multi award-winning photographer, Owen too is a boundary pusher in his field; the high caliber of his work has been recognised by numerous industry awards such as the prestigious Bronze award in the FEP European Landscape Photographer of the Year and the IPPA Portrait Photographer of the Year, among countless others, too many to name.
The Arts help us to explore and embrace our cultural heritage. Like so many artists before him, Owen O’Connor has been beguiled by the remarkable beauty of Connemara. He has developed a strong affinity and
creative connection with this wild-natured place and its peerless landscape.
When we look at the photographs in this exhibition, we see his curiosity about the detail contained in the landscape and its multi-layered textures.
Owen uses top-of-the-line equipment and particular skill to produce these extremely high resolution photographs. His landscape photography shows incredible detail, drawing the viewer into the intimate environment of the Connemara Landscape.
The vibrant colours and energy in the photographs remind us to always embrace the vitality of life and nature.
Owen’s photographs get at the hardness of this place, its gritty, uncompromising self but his work also gets the extreme softness of it too...it memorializes the more tender personality of this landscape as well as
digging into the sharp, quartzite bones of the Twelve Bens mountains, which are laid bare for all to see.
This immersion in ‘place’ is crucial to the task of making this Art. It’s what has to be present, for there to be an integrity and authenticity to the work.
Peeling back the layers of one place, one area, I think is vitally important.
That’s what Owen’s work here today visually represents: the process of patiently unearthing and peeling back, both the sublime as well as the
ordinary from this one, very particular Connemara landscape.
And when I look at Owen’s work, I feel that he is unveiling something of the deep, deep character of Connemara, alluding to the way light vibrates off
and around the mountains, rivers and shore, how the colours here and there, seem muted and shallow, until your eyes tune in to the dynamic array of the colour palette in his images. He shows that it’s a tough environment but how it has a rare beauty.
Somehow the photographs brood and smoulder, they catch your breath and pull you in, they are visceral – in the true meaning of that over-used adjective.
Owen’s deep respect and abiding love of Connemara is there to see and for him, a connection with the West is highly valued. To give you a little background on Owen; he has been taking photographs for a long time – it is indeed his vocation. Owen remarked to me earlier that “he has had a camera in his hand since he was seven and has always loved Landscape Photography; and he added that Connemara’s glowing wild landscape with its mountains, lakes, the sea, bogs, white-washed thatched cottages, stacks of turf, cloudy skies and such amazing light all provide the photographer with compelling scenery and mood to capture.”
Owen added, interestingly, that his first ever visit to Connemara was for a stay in the Alcock & Brown Hotel here in Clifden way back in the Seventies.
His family have being holidaying in Clifden for decades and the site of the Alcock & Brown landing was always pointed out by his father on drives from Clifden out to the Connemara Golf Club at Ballyconneely. So, you see his connection with this place has been there for years.
Owen was born and educated in Dublin and our two families have been friends for many years, our fathers raced bicycles together back in the forties and fifties and Owen’s father’s advertising agency was a much
valued client of mine back in my early publishing days.
After graduating from Dun Laoghaire College of Art & Design, Owen worked initially in the creative design industry but the calling to get behind the lens
was too great to resist and so began his love affair with and commitment to a future in professional and Fine Art Photography.
Owen’s work has since been published in all the national newspapers and major national publications and he has worked for several high-end TV
productions and movies, so highly rated is his talent.
Photography is increasingly the artwork of choice for the discerning home owner and interior designer to decorate the walls of a home or stylish office.
The special Limited Edition prints of Owen’s breathtaking Connemara Landscapes will be for sale during the “Time Flies” Exhibition that runs
here in the Gallery from today until June 12.
I would be so bold as to say that owning a “Time Flies” Limited Edition series piece by Owen O’Connor is surely an investment in authentic Irish
fine art, and a mark of appreciation of Owen’s talent and established credentials as a fine art photographer.
Events such as the Alcock & Brown 100 year Celebration serve to nurture
our interest in the history and culture of Connemara. The moments and places Owen has captured will resonate with those among us who are
enthralled by this place and its history. Through the remarkable photographs in this exhibition we can preserve our collective memories of the precious
and inspiring Connemara Landscape that we all love.
it is a real pleasure to be here with photography and art lovers and to open this exhibition. I would like to acknowledge the Bláithín De Sachy Gallery
for bringing this exhibition together and Owen, for offering to us these tremendous impressions and reflections of this raw and wild landscape.
So, without further adoo, I am delighted to open this wonderful Exhibition
“Time Flies”, by Owen O’Connor, as part of the Alcock & Brown 100 year celebration week here in Clifden.
Please take your time and look around, enjoy the photographs and don’t hesitate to ask questions – I’m sure Owen and Bláithín will be delighted to discuss any aspect with you in more detail.
Thank you all for listening.
We invited Ann Higginson to open Owen’s Exhibition as not only are they lifelong friends but Photography has played a huge role in Ann’s own career. As a magazine publisher in London for 20 years Ann broke new ground back in the 1980s in the extravagant use of photography throughout her publications. Her Official Guide "Tour de France" set new standards for what was to follow in the broader sports publishing
world in terms of high quality design and photos-led productions.
Ann has also organized a number of high-profile Photography Exhibitions, notably at County Hall in Westminster, the London Business Design Centre and at the Photographer’s Gallery in Dublin.
After retired from Publishing Ann worked for the Getty Images Photography Gallery in London.