Waterscapes – Photographic Art


What is a craft? A science adheres to a set of rules and an art does not, while a craft uses both to achieve its goal. In Fergal O’Sullivan’s recent exhibition of photography, he is a master craftsman, blurring the lines between art and science to give us Waterscapes.

O’Sullivan is a graduate from St Kevin’s College, Crumlin, and is currently studying a photography degree at IADT. This was his first solo exhibition, having previously exhibited at The Exchange in Temple Bar, Moxie Studios in Pembroke Row and most recently at The Library Project, as part of the Photo Ireland Festival 2014.

O’Sullivan spoke to Newsfour at the launch of Waterscapes, which ran from 3rd to 17th September at the Waterways Visitor Centre on Grand Canal Dock. “I approached this centre with my water-themed collection, and they got back to me asking if I’d be interested in doing a show. I have been working on the water theme for a number of years now, and this is the ideal venue to showcase it.”

When asked about his interest in water, O’Sullivan replied, “I saw something one day in Galway Weir that appealed to me. Since then I’ve been stumbling upon stuff that I’m not particularly looking for. I might go for a drive with the wife, pull over and say, ‘I’ll be back in a minute!’ Two hours later I’ll reappear.”

O’Sullivan highlighted the unstructured nature of his production, which in itself seems to flow naturally. “I try not to do much retouching. Sometimes I focus on an area of the wider image. There is a process, but I’m unaware of it. I have become drawn to the energy in the water. I’m looking for the abstract rather than the obvious, and I experiment a lot.”

It seems the photographer achieved his purpose, as the images invited the viewer to delve into their imagination and question photography and art in the process. Indeed, at first glance the photographs could be mistaken for paintings. It is noteworthy, perhaps, that the underlining quote of the show didn’t come from a photographer, but an impressionist painter, Claude Monet, himself famous for blurring lines: “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

By Maria Shields O’Kelly