A record of cherished memories
Oliver Gargan is a busy man. He's executing the final flourishes of 'Cherished Captures', his first solo photographic exhibition. Launched to coincide with this year's Culture Night, it runs from September 17 to October 26 upstairs in Bailieborough Library.
Getting to the point of showing his own work has been an eight-year process: “I'm an active member of Breffni Photography Club, we meet in Virginia every fortnight. I’ve helped to organise a number of the group exhibitions in the past. Fiona Burke, head librarian in Bailieborough library, asked if I’d be interested in having a solo show... and here I am.”
The photographs on display will represent the diversity of subjects Oliver covers with his art: “I’ve different aspects of my work on display; from portraits, nature and some Photoshop ideas thrown in also. I first got into photography in 2013. That was when I bought my first small camera, but I’ve had an interest in it from a very young age. I took part in a few local and online courses, and upgraded my camera a couple of times since.”
Staging an exhibition may require similar aesthetic sensibilities to constructing a photograph, but there are additional challenges. From whittling down the images, framing, placement and, of course, the ever-looming deadline: “I have the ideas in mind. It's a case of what goes where, what fits together.
“There is a lot to choose from. That's the hardest part. Mostly they are not overly processed shots, some are landscapes, some nature shots and a couple of Photoshop ideas. Many will be familiar scenes to people,” Oliver outlines.
Oliver has an impressive website displaying many of his images. He also has a blog and his pictures show his eye for a subject. He explained that it has been honed with the assistance of other snappers: “Before I purchased my first camera in 2013, I was following different photographers. When I joined Breffni Photography Club, I became friends with Suella Holland. She does 'Forsaken Ireland' and I went out with her a few times to photograph abandoned places. I loved it.”
The title of the exhibition 'Cherished Captures' alludes to his fondness for his art: "They all mean something to me, I cherish them. I remember the day I took them, I remember how I felt, I look back at them and it's as if I took them yesterday.”
Gathering the images is only the first step. Contemporary photographers rarely use darkrooms, so manipulation takes place through software programmes like Photoshop. Such programmes allow for extensive edits to pictures, but Oliver says this is not always the ideal: “You can do as little or as much as you want. Sometime it's easy to go over the top. It's a question of finding the middle ground, a point of balance. In most instances I want to keep the image as simple as possible. The more you work an image, the more you will find faults in it.”
That said the exhibition will include a few of the more stylized images where imagination pushes the image well beyond what was on the other side of the lens: "I do like tricking around with Photoshop. One in particular is an over layering of three or four images. It's not perfect, but I like the idea of pushing the what is there. It's about having fun with the image.”
‘Cherished Captures’ will display pictures Oliver has captured in the last eight years like the remarkable image of Tower of Lloyd at Drumbarragh outside Kells. He says viewers will recognise the places, but hopes it will give them a different perspective on the familiar: “People take hundreds of pictures a year and don't give it much thought.
“Hopefully this exhibition will spark someone's interest and make them think about photographs in a different way. It really is for anyone with an interest in photography,” Oliver concluded.
'Cherished Captures' will be launched to coincide with this year's Culture Night and runs from September 17 to October 26 upstairs in Bailieborough Library.