We first noticed the greatness of Alan Currie’s photographs when we featured hisincredible night shotof the Bray Head gorse fires back in August.
Taken from atop the Sugar Loaf, we soon realised, taking a look though Alan’s work, that the man did quite a lot of his work at night, high up in the hills, with that great big starry sky as his blanket.
We got in touch immediately, and invited him to take part in our Kick Up The Arts column. Before the month was out, Alan was back to us, with his favourite shots, and his inspirations, plus a little bit about his early years.
Take it away, Alan…
My photography journey started in the 1980s n the outskirts of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, where I grew up, shooting on film with an old Minolta X300 and trying to get my teenage head around aperture, shutter speeds and ISO.
At college I took this further, building my own darkroom and learning to print my own black and white prints. I was a big fan of Don McCullin back then and often tried to emulate his street work by capturing some of the dodgier-looking characters walking the streets of Belfast in those days. However, until recent years my hobby was overtaken by music and painting, and maintaining a stall at Merrion Square, where I sold large canvas paintings.
My interest in landscape photography developed several years ago. I decided to try out hiking and heard about a meetup group called the Dublin Free Hiking Group who were known for being fast and fun, and with whom I still regularly go out with. Most of the hikes would be in the Wicklow mountains, and the spectacular scenery quite literally made me go out and buy myself a good camera again, the views proving too beautiful to just witness and forget. And whilst we are always at the mercy of the weather, I see landscape photography as a win-win situation. If the weather turns out rubbish, at least you still get some good exercise hiking.
With the advances in camera sensors now I have developed an interest in night photography and, in particular, how the places we see every day look so different if shot at night. It opens up an entire new world to us as the camera sensor can see more than the limitations of our eyes. It’s not for the feint-hearted though; it’s easy to get spooked out in the darkness.
So, don’t do it, kids!
Sugarloaf by Night Alan Currie I shot this on the way up the Little Sugarloaf on a moonlit night during summer 2016 – it certainly wasn’t as serene as the photo might suggest. The wind was relentless, which makes it very difficult to stabilise a tripod. Kind of essential for night photography.
The Shift at Supermacs Alan Currie This was shot on a Saturday evening photowalk around Dublin city centre when testing out a 14mm fully manual lens. Luckily, the light outside Supermacs was sufficient and the lens fast enough that I could get away with a hand held shot – so less conspicuous than using a tripod where the surrounding people might react. With this particular lens, everything has to be guessed, so it was quite nice to go “back to basics” for a change. I really hope the couple in it aren’t having an affair.
Everest Basecamp Horses Alan Currie In 2015, I completed the trek to Mount Everest Basecamp. These horses were used for escorting lazy tourists to and from Lukla airport, as you can only get there by foot, horse or helicopter. I promise, I walked! In this photo, basecamp itself can almost be seen in the background, and, of course, Mount Everest. Just two weeks after the photo was taken the earthquake struck, and any photos from that trip are bittersweet as a result.
Photographer Marc Adamus Marc is an inspirational landscape photographer and produces some incredible imagery, whether under day or night conditions. His work can be quite surreal and almost in the realm of fantasy – minus the dolphins and unicorns. He puts a lot of work into post-processing but the results are truly stunning. This example is from Patagonia – the Cerro Grande peak with lenticular wave clouds and blowing snow. A Condor rides the wind free from it all. You can find out more about Marc Adamushere.
Illustrator and Printmaker Martin Langford I love dry humour and when I first spotted Martin’s prints on London’s Southbank area, I simply had to buy one. His work comes across with a very dry and sometimes dark humour, and often makes an environmental statement. This example is called Tescopolis, depicting a world filled with Tesco stores. Find out more about Martin Langfordhere.
Irish Sculptor/Painter Elizabeth O’Kane Elizabeth is a personal friend and a gifted artist. I find viewing her sculptures beneficial to photography because of the smooth surfaces, which gets me thinking about the properties of light, how it describes the form of objects, and how I can use this understanding when “light painting”. This example of her work is Jesse, a native American Indian living in Dublin – a member of the Chiricahua tribe, one of several tribes that make up the Apache Nation. Discover more of Elizabeth O’Kane’s workhere.
You can discover more of Alan’s fine work too on his websitehere, his Facebook pagehere, and his Instagram accounthere. You can also email him firstname.lastname@example.org, if you just want to tell him how brilliant he is. If you’d like to stalk Alan, you can join the Dublin Free Hiking Grouphere.
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