THIS series has focused on many “old pros” but Eilis Walsh is a young, up and coming photographer whose passion shines through her lens.
Despite being Waterford-born, growing up in her beloved Kilkenny and going to school in Tipperary, she is very passionate about Limerick.
“My favourite subject in school was English, hence studying New Media and English in the University of Limerick for my undergraduate. It was during this time my love for creating sort of began. I blogged throughout my time in university, interviewed musicians, wrote about navigating through the world of university and exhibitions I went to in the city.
“I began taking photos to accompany these blog posts, not wanting to use others. From there my love began, I wanted to learn more, to understand my camera better, and to capture the images I had in my mind in real life,” said Eilis, who loves gig photography.
Due to Covid-19, big concerts and festivals with thousands of revellers seem like another world. But they – like so much else lost in our lives currently – will return.
“I love to photograph the energy of a gig, sweat flying, hands in the air, I want to take in it all. I like to experiment, I take long exposure self-portraits, documenting movement. At present I’ve been perfecting the art of portrait photography, learning how to pose the human body.”
Like most students, Eilis has worked many odd jobs over the years but now she knows what she would like to do in the future.
“The most enjoyable have been ones in which I could write and take photos. I have recently finished my Masters in Marketing, Consumption, and Society so now I’m looking for work in that. I have a keen interest in working with small businesses, be it through photography, social media marketing, or communications, so I have my fingers crossed that something comes up here in Limerick for me. I want to stay here if I can, I have been here for nearly six years, I feel really at home.”
The global health emergency has affected all sectors of the economy but especially the creative industry. And it is something that Eilis does not want to see irrevocably damaged or lost in Limerick.
“I’m really passionate about supporting the arts in any way I can. My Masters Research Paper explored how lack of government support affects arts organisations and why we should be listening to the people who value these organisations to understand why they need to be protected.
“Limerick has such a tight-knit creative community; everyone knows one another and is willing to help out at the drop of a hat. I don’t think my photography would have developed the way it has had I not been exposed to so many creative people during my time in Limerick. It really has such a rich arts and culture community; I want to see it thrive.”
The one question we have asked everybody who has kindly given their time to take part in this feature is – what makes a good photographer?
“For me, it is one that does not actually strive for perfection, one that knows that trial and error is all part of the process. I think a good photographer is one that looks for the small details, one that sees the everyday, mundane aspects of life worthy to be photographed.
“I don’t think you need to be an expert in technicalities to be a good photographer, I tend to ignore the ‘rules’ of photography, just test everything and find out what you like. There is no right or wrong way to take photos I feel, try it all! I like capturing the authenticity of a person so that the person viewing the photo can get an insight into who the person is.”